High Efficiency High Resolution Sensor for Hard X-Ray Microtomography
X-ray microtomography (XMT) is a powerful tool for researchers in a wide range of fields, allowing 3D imaging at the micron scale. Many of the DOE synchrotron tomography facilities are involved in research that requires hard X-rays (high energy, up to 100 keV) in order to get better penetration into metal samples. At these higher energies the scintillator quickly becomes the limiting factor resulting in poor image quality and very long acquisition times. We propose to develop a new structured scintillator to be incorporated into CCD-based XMT systems. This material has the highest density among all known scintillators, very high X-ray absorption, and a bright red emission that matches well to CCD quantum efficiency and for the first time can be grown in structured form. When coupled to a CCD or other suitable detector, this microcolumnar scintillator will result in a significant improvement in the overall detective quantum efficiency (DQE) of the XMT detector, and will permit the full potential of this invaluable technique to be realized. The goal of the Phase I research is to demonstrate the feasibility of producing this new structured scintillator that will enable the development of XMT detectors with an unprecedented combination of high resolution and high sensitivity for hard X-ray imaging. A prototype sensor will be produced and thoroughly evaluated; using both laboratory X-ray sources as well as synchrotron radiation, and comparative performance evaluations of the newly developed sensor versus commercial grade scintillators will be conducted. During the proposed Phase I/Phase II research, we will undertake efforts to successfully and economically develop produce and market these screens through our own resources and in collaboration with our commercial partners. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Applications for the enhanced structured scintillator developed here are many, and while the initial focus is on XMT with hard X-rays, this new and cost-effective form of this scintillator could also be used in a broad array of applications ranging from macromolecular crystallography to medical imaging, and from nondestructive testing to polymer research. Due to the extraordinary properties of this scintillator, we expect it to have widespread use in many important synchrotron-based applications. The broad commercial potential for this sensor is thus particularly high.
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Radiation Monitoring Devices, Inc.
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