Japanese laser project selects imaging sensors

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The SPring-8 Angstrom Compact free electron laser (SACLA), an x-ray Free-Electron Laser (XFEL), located in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, is using e2v imaging sensors.

A joint project between RIKEN (Japan’s large natural sciences research institute) and the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI), the XFEL has already been designated as a key technology of national importance by the Japanese government. SACLA is the most compact XFEL facility in the world and in March this year it became available for the use of worldwide researchers.

e2v’s imaging sensors detect the x-rays scattered by the scientific samples in the XFEL beam. From these scattered x-rays scientists will be able to 'see' the atomic structure of proteins and other nano-scale structures. This contract is for the supply of 48 new Phase 1 devices and also the development of Phase 3 devices, for which e2v is creating a custom High-Rho imaging sensor design.

A High-Rho design means that the sensor will be manufactured on high resistivity silicon and operated with a high back-substrate bias in order to increase the depth of depletion within the sensor. This enables higher quantum efficiency at red and near infrared wavelengths without loss of resolution due to charge spreading. This also applies to the detection of soft X-rays in the region of 5-12 keV, which have a low absorption coefficient in silicon. For this project the High-Rho design will enable improved efficiency for the detection of higher energy X-rays. The sensor package will replicate the Phase 1 imaging sensors, also manufactured by e2v, which enabled a 100mm x 100mm X-ray sensitive focal plane with a 50micron pixel resolution to be constructed. Both Phase 1 and High-Rho imaging sensors read out at 60 frames per second to capture the 2–12keV X-rays scattered from the beam.

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