Effect of recombination in a high quantum efficiency prototype ionization-chamber-based electronic portal imaging device



The quantum efficiency (QE) of an imaging detector can be increased by utilizing a thick, high-density detection medium to increase the number of quantum interactions. However, image quality is more accurately described by the detection quantum efficiency (DQE). If a significant fraction of the increase in the number of detected quanta from a thick, dense detector were to result in useful imaging signal, this represents a favorable case where enhanced QE leads to increased DQE. However, for ionization-type detectors, one factor that limits DQE is the recombination between ion pairs that acts as a secondary quantum sink due to which enhancement in QE may not result in higher DQE depending on the extent of the signal loss from recombination. Therefore, an analysis of signal loss mechanisms or quantum sinks in an imaging system is essential for validating the overall benefit of high QE detectors. In this paper, a study of ion recombination as a secondary quantum sink is presented for a high QE prototype ion-chamber-based electronic portal imaging device (EPID): the kinestatic charge detector (KCD). The KCD utilizes a high pressure noble gas (krypton or xenon at 100atm) and an arbitrarily large detector thickness (of the order of centimeters), resulting in a high QE imager. Compared with commercial amorphous silicon flat panel imagers that provide DQE(0)0.01, the KCD has much higher DQE. Studies indicated that DQE(0)=0.20 for 6.1cm thick, 100atm (ρ=3.4gcm3) xenon chamber, and DQE(0)=0.34 for a 9.1cm thick chamber. A series of experiments was devised and conducted to determine the signal loss due to recombination for a KCD chamber. The measurements indicated a fractional recombination loss of about 14% for a krypton chamber and about 18% for a xenon chamber under standard operating conditions (100atm chamber pressure and 1275Vcm electric field intensity). A theoretical treatment of the effect of recombination on imaging signal-to-noise ratio was applied to quantify the loss in DQE. These calculations indicated that recombination had a limited effect (<2%) on DQE under standard operating conditions. This was validated by good agreement between experimentally measured DQE and that obtained using Monte Carlo simulations that did not account for recombination.