Mercuric iodide (HgI2) and lead iodide (PbI2) have been under development for several years as direct converter layers in digital x-ray imaging. Previous reports have covered the basic electrical and physical characteristics of these and several other materials. We earlier reported on 5cm x 5cm and 10cm x 10cm size imagers, direct digital radiography X-ray detectors, based on photoconductive polycrystalline mercuric iodide deposited on a flat panel thin film transistor (TFT) array, as having great potential for use in medical imaging, NDT, and security applications. This paper, presents results and comparison of both lead iodide and mercuric iodide imagers scaled up to 20cm x 25cm sizes.
Both the mercuric iodide and lead iodide direct conversion layers are vacuum deposited onto TFT array by Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD). This process has been successfully scaled up to 20cm x 25cm -- the size required in common medical imaging applications. A TFT array with a pixel pitch of 127 microns was used for this imager.
In addition to increasing detector size, more sophisticated, non-TFT based small area detectors were developed in order to improve analysis methods of the mercuric and lead iodide photoconductors. These small area detectors were evaluated in radiographic mode, continuous fluoroscopic mode and pulsed fluoroscopic mode. Mercuric iodide coating thickness ranging between 140 microns and 300 microns and lead iodide coating thickness ranging between 100 microns and 180 microns were tested using beams with energies between 40 kVp and 100 kVp, utilizing exposure ranges typical for both fluoroscopic and radiographic imaging.
Diagnostic quality radiographic and fluoroscopic images have been generated at up to 15 frames per second. Mercuric iodide image lag appears adequate for fluoroscopic imaging. The longer image lag characteristics of lead iodide make it only suitable for radiographic imaging. For both material the MTF is determined primarily by the aperture and pitch of the TFT array (Nyquist frequency of ~3.93 mm-1 (127 micron pixel pitch).