Developing a high-resolution x-ray imager using electron-multiplying (EM) CCDs

Tutt, James H.; Hall, David J.; Holland, Andrew D.; Murray, Neil J. and Endicott, James (2013). Developing a high-resolution x-ray imager using electron-multiplying (EM) CCDs. In: Hard X-Ray, Gamma-Ray, and Neutron Detector Physics XV, SPIE, article no. 8852 17.



Applications at synchrotron facilities such as macromolecular crystallography and high energy X-ray diffraction require high resolution imaging detectors with high dynamic range and large surface area. Current systems can be split into two main categories: hybrid pixel detectors and scintillator-coupled Charge-Coupled Devices (CCDs). Whilst both have limitations, CCD-based systems (coupled to fibre-optics to increase imaging area) are often used in these applications due to their small pixels and the high resolution. Electron-Multiplication CCDs (EM-CCDs) are able to suppress the readout noise associated with increased readout speed offering a low noise, high speed detector solution. A previous pilot study using a small-area (8 mm × 8 mm) scintillator-coupled EM-CCD found that through high frame-rates, low noise and novel uses of photon-counting, resolution could be improved from over 80 μm to 25 μm at 2 fps. To further improve this detector system, high speed readout electronics can be used alongside a fibre-optic taper and EM-CCD to create a “best of both worlds” solution consisting of the high resolution of a CCD, along with the low noise, high speed (high dynamic range) and large effective area of pixel detectors. This paper details the developments in the study and discusses the latest results and their implication on the system design.

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