Insights from industry

Impressive Hybrid Photon Counting (HPC) Detectors

Stefan Brandstetter, Head of Product Management at DECTRIS, talks to AZoM about the PILATUS3 X CdTe series of hybrid photon counting detectors and the benefits they offer the market.

Can you please give a brief overview of the PILATUS3 X CdTe series?

These Hybrid Photon Counting (HPC) detectors are based on the highly successful PILATUS3 X detectors, which were further developed to harness the high-energy detection capability of cadmium telluride (CdTe). As a result, we now offer the first large-area, single-photon counting detectors with high detection efficiencies at up to 100 keV. They make the proven advantages of the PILATUS3 detector technology available for hard X-ray applications without any compromise.

What benefits does the combination of HPC detector and CdTe sensor material offer the user?

Through the excellent stopping power of the high-Z semiconductor CdTe we reach a quantum efficiency of above 80% up to 80 keV. In contrast, a silicon-sensor based detector provides 50% efficiency at around 22 keV falling off quickly for higher energies. Moreover, PILATUS3 X detectors feature a short readout time of below 1 ms and high frame rates of up to 500 Hz which substantially reduce measurement time and maximize efficiency and throughput. With this combination, dynamic processes on fast time scales can now be investigated in-situ.

What advantage will users have using the PILATUS3 X CdTe in hard X-ray applications?

Unlike scintillator-based CCD and flatpanel detectors, single-photon counting CdTe detectors show no image lag, which enables maximum scanning speed in experiments that fully exploit the detector's high frame rate. Moreover, with the sharp point-spread function and the high dynamic range of the detector, closely spaced signals can be accurately resolved and measured independent of their intensity. Noise-free single-photon counting in conjunction with a 20-bit counter and direct conversion allows weak signals next to strong peaks to be measured with best possible signal-to-noise ratio.

How does the retrigger technology help your customers?

The PILATUS3 X CdTe detector is compatible with count rates of more than 5 x 106 counts/s/pixel, which corresponds to almost 2 × 108 counts/s/mm2. These high count rates are enabled by the DECTRIS instant retrigger technology featured on all PILATUS3 detectors and allow the measurement of very strong signals. In combination with the high frame rates, dynamic in-situ experiments with good counting statistics become possible in synchrotron radiation laboratories.

What count rate stability does the PILATUS3 X CdTe offer?

DECTRIS instant retrigger technology and thorough product development have led to a breakthrough in count rate stability for CdTe, with less than 1% signal variation at 2.5 × 106 photons/s/pixel over a period of several hours.

How easily can the system be integrated?

Integration is the same as for all PILATUS3 detector systems with no differences for the CdTe-based in comparison to the well-established silicon-based detectors, which run in hundreds of different devices and applications.

What is the main difference between the PILATUS3 X CdTe and other products on the market?

PILATUS3 X CdTe detectors are unique because of the size of their detector area, because of their unprecedented count-rate stability and because of their high operating speed. CdTe is a notoriously challenging sensor material and it took us seven years of intensive R&D to fully master it. Today our module quality is unrivalled in terms of number of defects, homogeneity of flat field and stability. The combination with the outstanding properties of the PILATUS3 results in a truly unique high-energy HPC detector. They are the first large-area, single-photon counting detectors offering highly efficient detection up to 100 keV. Time-resolved and scanning-beam experiments take advantage of frame rates of up to 500 Hz with sub-millisecond readout times, free of any image lag.

Are there any recent case studies that you are particularly proud of?

A dramatically increased signal-to-noise ratio was demonstrated during a comparison with a flatpanel detector. Marco Di Michiel from ESRF measured powder diffraction patterns at 46.3 keV. The diffraction rings in his powder measurement show a vastly increased level of detail recorded with the PILATUS3 X CdTe detector. The frame rates up to 500 Hz will enable dynamic bulk studies of these samples.

Comparison of data quality of flatpanel and PILATUS3 X CdTe detector. The photon-counting CdTe detector shows significantly less noise resulting in improved visibility of weak diffraction rings. Acknowledgment: Marco Di Michiel at the High-Energy Scattering Beamline ID15A of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF)

Fig. 1: Comparison of data quality of flatpanel and PILATUS3 X CdTe detector. The photon-counting CdTe detector shows significantly less noise resulting in improved visibility of weak diffraction rings. Acknowledgment: Marco Di Michiel at the High-Energy Scattering Beamline ID15A of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF). Image credit: Dectris Ltd.

How do you plan on the developing the PILATUS3 X CdTe further?

We will continue to develop our CdTe detector series, mainly focusing on different sizes and applications, including specific systems for laboratory applications (R series) and customer-specific solutions. At the moment, we are very happy to have finished the development of the first large-area, single-photon counting detector, which will provide a powerful new tool for the high-energy community. The first large-area CdTe detector system will be used at ESRF, where a PILATUS3 X CdTe 2M detector was recently delivered.

Where can our readers learn more about the PILATUS3 X CdTe?Stefan Brandstetter

Further information can be found on our website:

About Stefan Brandstetter

Stefan Brandstetter is responsible for the product management of high-performance detectors used in research and industrial applications at synchrotron beamlines. He aims to advance X-ray science by providing powerful and reliable detector systems.

Stefan obtained his Ph.D. in Materials Science in 2008 from the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, working at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland.

He joined DECTRIS in 2009 and led the Support and Comissioning department from 2012 on, building up an effective team. Since 2015 he is head of Product Management and responsible for synchrotron detectors.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

Stuart Milne

Written by

Stuart Milne

Stuart graduated from the University of Wales, Institute Cardiff with a first-class honours degree in Industrial Product Design. After working on a start-up company involved in LED Lighting solutions, Stuart decided to take an opportunity with AZoNetwork. Over the past five years at AZoNetwork, Stuart has been involved in developing an industry leading range of products, enhancing client experience and improving internal systems designed to deliver significant value for clients hard earned marketing dollars. In his spare time Stuart likes to continue his love for art and design by creating art work and continuing his love for sketching. In the future Stuart, would like to continue his love for travel and explore new and exciting places.


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