Active matrix flat panel imagers (AMFPI) have become the dominant detector technology for digital radiography and fluoroscopy. For low dose imaging, electronic noise from the amorphous silicon thin film transistor (TFT) array degrades imaging performance. We have fabricated the first prototype solid-state AMFPI using a uniform layer of avalanche amorphous selenium (a-Se) photoconductor to amplify the signal to eliminate the effect of electronic noise. We have previously developed a large area solid-state avalanche a-Se sensor structure referred to as High Gain Avalanche Rushing Photoconductor (HARP) capable of achieving gains of 75. In this work we successfully deposited this HARP structure onto a 24 x 30 cm2 TFT array with a pixel pitch of 85 μm. An electric field (ESe) up to 105 Vμm-1 was applied across the a-Se layer without breakdown. Using the HARP layer as a direct detector, an X-ray avalanche gain of 15 ± 3 was achieved at ESe = 105 Vμm-1. In indirect mode with a 150 μm thick structured CsI scintillator, an optical gain of 76 ± 5 was measured at ESe = 105 Vμm-1. Image quality at low dose increases with the avalanche gain until the electronic noise is overcome at a constant exposure level of 0.76 mR. We demonstrate the success of a solid-state HARP X-ray imager as well as the largest active area HARP sensor to date.
Active Matrix Flat Panel Imagers (AMFPI) based on an array of thin film transistors (TFT) have become the dominant technology for digital x-ray imaging. In low dose applications, the performance of both direct and indirect conversion detectors are limited by the electronic noise associated with the TFT array. New concepts of direct and indirect detectors have been proposed using avalanche amorphous selenium (a-Se), referred to as high gain avalanche rushing photoconductor (HARP). The indirect detector utilizes a planar layer of HARP to detect light from an x-ray scintillator and amplify the photogenerated charge. The direct detector utilizes separate interaction (non-avalanche) and amplification (avalanche) regions within the a-Se to achieve depth-independent signal gain. Both detectors require the development of large area, solid state HARP. We have previously reported the first avalanche gain in a-Se with deposition techniques scalable to large area detectors. The goal of the present work is to demonstrate the feasibility of large area HARP fabrication in an a-Se deposition facility established for commercial large area AMFPI. We also examine the effect of alternative pixel electrode materials on avalanche gain. The results show that avalanche gain > 50 is achievable in the HARP layers developed in large area coaters, which is sufficient to achieve x-ray quantum noise limited performance down to a single x-ray photon per pixel. Both chromium (Cr) and indium tin oxide (ITO) have been successfully tested as pixel electrodes.