Posted in | X-ray Detectors

PILATUS3 S & X Series from Dectris

Dectris offers the PILATUS3 S and X detector series that delivers excellent performance for a variety of synchrotron applications. The PILATUS3 S series makes hybrid photon counting technology accessible to almost any synchrotron beamline and budget, thanks to unparalleled performance for all standard applications.

The PILATUS3 X series offers sub-millisecond readout times and frame rates up to 500Hz and thus allows for innovative experimental strategies. In addition, region of interest readout enables users to leverage highest frame rates with the largest PILATUS3 X models.

Ideal Signal-to-Noise Ratio

The PILATUS3 hybrid photon counting detectors are free of readout noise and dark current. The lack of detector noise provides data with an outstanding signal-to-noise ratio.

Absence of readout noise and dark current in PILATUS hybrid pixel detectors. Images of a single PILATUS module without exposure to an X-ray source with 100 ms (a) or 1 hour (b) of acquisition time. a)  After a short acquisition time, all pixels have zero counts, since no noise is added onto the readout of the image. b) After a long acquisition time, most pixels still have zero counts, since no dark current accumulates during long exposure and no noise is added during readout. In addition to the absence of dark current, the low average count rate of 0.2 cts/h/pixel provides a further advantage over integrating detectors, i.e., that high energy cosmic radiation only contributes one single count per detected event.

Fig. 1: Absence of readout noise and dark current in PILATUS hybrid pixel detectors. Images of a single PILATUS module without exposure to an X-ray source with 100 ms (a) or 1 hour (b) of acquisition time. a)  After a short acquisition time, all pixels have zero counts, since no noise is added onto the readout of the image. b) After a long acquisition time, most pixels still have zero counts, since no dark current accumulates during long exposure and no noise is added during readout. In addition to the absence of dark current, the low average count rate of 0.2 cts/h/pixel provides a further advantage over integrating detectors, i.e., that high energy cosmic radiation only contributes one single count per detected event.

External Trigger Input with Programmable Delay Function

Exposure time can range from a few nanoseconds to several hours and can be controlled internally or by applying an external gate signal. The external trigger input with a programmable delay operation enables synchronization between other hardware and the detector simple.

Shutterless Operation

The PILATUS3 detectors are electronically gated and do not need a mechanical shutter. Integrated with the noiseless readout of the PILATUS3 detectors, this allows acquisition of diffraction data in fine φ-slicing mode.

Numerous Applications

The systems offer sufficient performance for several synchrotron applications such as macromolecular crystallography (MX), surface diffraction, pre-clinical X-ray imaging, small-and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS), single crystal diffraction (SCD), coherent X-ray imaging, and time-resolved experiments.

Modular Combinations

The basic element in the detector is the detector module, which can be integrated to form multi-module detector setups with varied geometries. DECTRIS provides a standard line-up of PILATUS3 S and X detector solutions that cover many active areas and frame rates to ideally match customer’s measurement requirements. DECTRIS has the expertise needed to design and manufacture application and customer-specific units, such as in-vacuum detectors with cylindrical geometry.

High Energy Sensors

Apart from the basic 450µm thick silicon sensors, the PILATUS3 detector can be customized with 1000µm thick silicon sensors, thus enabling high quantum efficiency at a wide range of X-ray energies.

Photon energy 320 µm 450 µm 1000 µm
5.4 keV 94% 94% >80%
8.0 keV 97% 98% 96%
12.4 keV (1Å) 72% 84% 97%
17.5% keV 37% 47% 76%
22.2 keV 20% 27% 50%

Operating in a Vaccum

The water-cooled models PILATUS3 X 300K and 300K-W provide optional vacuum compatibility, thereby allowing the detector to be operated in vacuum, e.g. in the flight tube of an SAXS instrument. Furthermore, the 300K and 300K-W models are available with 320µm thick sensors and unique calibrations for low energy applications.

Excellent Point-Spread Function

A sharp point-spread operation (smaller than one pixel) provides several advantages. Sharper signals decrease overlap with scattering or other background intrinsic to the experiment, thus enhancing the signal-to-noise ratio. As the X-rays are directly converted into charge pulses, the PILATUS3 detectors spread almost no intensity between pixels. The point-spread operation of the detector is considerably smaller than the pixel size (172µm) and enables optimally sharp images to be developed, which are free of artifacts (such as intensity tails, blur, blooming, or streaking) common in other detectors.

Superior dynamic range and point-spread function of PILATUS Hybrid Photon Counting detectors. Details of diffraction images showing the same reflection of an insulin crystal. The images were acquired at a synchrotron beamline with identical parameters except for the detector distance, which was adjusted to achieve the same resolution at the detector edge, depending on the detector size. a) The 20-bit counter depth of the PILATUS Hybrid Photon Counting detector provides sufficient dynamic range to record 727,716 counts in the highest intensity pixel. With the excellent point-spread function, the spot is well confined to a small area. Furthermore, the sharp reflection profile of the low mosaicity crystal is accurately represented with a more than one-thousand-fold difference in intensity between neighboring pixels. b) The same reflection recorded with a CCD contains many overloaded pixels. The reflection intensity is smeared out over a large area.

Fig. 2: Superior dynamic range and point-spread function of PILATUS Hybrid Photon Counting detectors. Details of diffraction images showing the same reflection of an insulin crystal. The images were acquired at a synchrotron beamline with identical parameters except for the detector distance, which was adjusted to achieve the same resolution at the detector edge, depending on the detector size. a) The 20-bit counter depth of the PILATUS Hybrid Photon Counting detector provides sufficient dynamic range to record 727,716 counts in the highest intensity pixel. With the excellent point-spread function, the spot is well confined to a small area. Furthermore, the sharp reflection profile of the low mosaicity crystal is accurately represented with a more than one-thousand-fold difference in intensity between neighboring pixels. b) The same reflection recorded with a CCD contains many overloaded pixels. The reflection intensity is smeared out over a large area.

Unprecedented Contrast and Dynamic Range

A counter depth of 20 bits (~ 1 million counts) integrated with the absence of detector noise ensures extraordinary dynamic range and contrast, thereby resulting in exceptional image and data quality. The detector enables very strong and weak signals to be precisely detected on a single image.

Short Readout Times

The short readout times and high frame rates of the PILATUS3 S and X systems help to greatly minimize measurement time and increase efficiency and throughput. Additionally, along with versatile trigger and gating capabilities, dynamic methods on fast time scales can be detected.

High Local and Global Count Rates

The systems are integrated with DECTRIS instant retrigger technology, which enables each pixel of a PILATUS3 to precisely locate nearly ten million photons per second. No global count rate limit is recognized up to 6 × 106 photons per second and pixel. This in turn enables global count rates of more than 2 × 108 photons per second and square millimeter. Both local and global count rates of the PILATUS detectors are better than those of counting detectors based on gas discharge or other such technologies.

Fluorescence Suppression

The PILATUS3 S and X detectors provide a modifiable lower energy threshold to restrain fluorescence. By integrating the high dynamic range with superior point-spread operation, fast read-out and fluorescence suppression enables the pursuit of new sciences, such as in diffuse scattering.

Radiation Tolerance

The PILATUS3 CMOS readout chips along with the silicon sensors are designed using radiation-tolerant layout methods developed for high-energy physics to avoid damage from incoming X-rays. The detectors are able to handle the doses coming from long-term operation at advanced synchrotrons.

Simple Operation

All PILATUS3 systems can be operated at room temperature and need only N2 or dry air for functioning. They are simple to set up and do not need standard maintenance or service.

Key Features

The main features of the PILATUS3 S and X detector series are:

  • Direct detection of X-rays in single-photon-counting mode
  • Count rates up to 10 Mcts/sec/pixel
  • Excellent point-spread function
  • No dark current
  • No readout noise
  • Overflow-free 20 bit counter

The advantages of the PILATUS3 S and X detector series are:

PILATUS3 S series PILATUS3 X series
Readout time of 2.03ms Readout time of 0.95 ms
Maximum frame rate of 25Hz Frame rates up to 500 Hz
Upgradeable to X series Region of interest readout

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