A self-powered thin-film radiation detector using intrinsic high-energy current




The authors introduce a radiation detection method that relies on high-energy current (HEC) formed by secondary charged particles in the detector material, which induces conduction current in an external readout circuit. Direct energy conversion of the incident radiation powers the signal formation without the need for external bias voltage or amplification. The detector the authors consider is a thin-film multilayer device, composed of alternating disparate electrically conductive and insulating layers. The optimal design of HEC detectors consists of microscopic or nanoscopic structures.


Theoretical and computational developments are presented to illustrate the salient properties of the HEC detector and to demonstrate its feasibility. In this work, the authors examine single-sandwiched and periodic layers of Cu and Al, and Au and Al, ranging in thickness from 100 nm to 300 μm and separated by similarly sized dielectric gaps, exposed to 120 kVp x-ray beam (half-value thickness of 4.1 mm of Al). The energy deposition characteristics and the high-energy current were determined using radiation transport computations.


The authors found that in a dual-layer configuration, the signal is in the measurable range. For a defined total detector thickness in a multilayer structure, the signal sharply increases with decreasing thickness of the high-Z conductive layers. This paper focuses on the computational results while a companion paper reports the experimental findings.


Significant advantages of the device are that it does not require external power supply and amplification to create a measurable signal; it can be made in any size and geometry, including very thin (sub-millimeter to submicron) flexible curvilinear forms, and it is inexpensive. Potential applications include medical dosimetry (both in vivo and external), radiation protection, and other settings where one or more of the above qualities are desired.