Improving the spatial resolution of soft X-ray detection using an Electron-Multiplying Charge-Coupled Device

Soman, M. R.; Hall, D. J.; Tutt, J. H.; Murray, N. J.; Holland, A. D.; Schmitt, T.; Raabe, J. and Schmitt, B. (2013). Improving the spatial resolution of soft X-ray detection using an Electron-Multiplying Charge-Coupled Device. Journal of Instrumentation, 8(01), article no. C01046.




The Super Advanced X-ray Emission Spectrometer (SAXES) is an instrument at the Swiss Light Source designed for Resonant Inelastic X-ray Scattering with an energy resolution (E/ΔE) better than 12000 at 930 eV. Improvements to the instrument have been predicted that could allow the energy resolution to be improved by a factor of two. To achieve this, the spatial resolution of the detector (currently a Charge-Coupled Device, CCD) over which the energy spectrum is dispersed would have to be improved to better than 5 μm. X-ray photons with energies between a few hundred to a few thousand electron volts primarily interact within the field-free region of back-illuminated CCDs, where each photon forms an electron cloud that diffuses isotropically before reaching the depleted region close to the electrodes. Each photon's electron cloud is likely to be detected as an event with signal split across multiple pixels. Analysing these split events using centroiding techniques allows the photon's interaction position to be determined to a sub-pixel level. PolLux is a soft X-ray microspectroscopy endstation at the Swiss Light Source that can focus 200 eV to 1200 eV X-rays to a spot size of approximately 20 nm. Previous studies using data taken with a linear scan across the centre of a pixel in 3 μm steps predicted an improved resolution by applying centroiding techniques and using an Electron-Multiplying CCD (EM-CCD). In this study, a full 2D map of the centroiding accuracy in the pixel is presented, formed by rastering in two dimensions across the image plane in single micron steps. The improved spatial resolution from centroiding events in the EM-CCD in all areas of the pixel over the standard CCD is attributed to the improved signal to noise ratio provided by the multiplication register even at high pixel readout speeds (tens of MHz).

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