We present a new x-ray detection technique based on optical measurement of the effects of x-ray absorption and electron
hole pair creation in a direct band-gap semiconductor. The electron-hole pairs create a frequency dependent shift in optical refractive index and absorption. This is sensed by simultaneously directing an optical carrier beam through the same volume of semiconducting medium that has experienced an xray induced modulation in the electron-hole
population. If the operating wavelength of the optical carrier beam is chosen to be close to the semiconductor band-edge, the optical carrier will be modulated significantly in phase and amplitude.
This approach should be simultaneously capable of very high sensitivity and excellent temporal response, even in the difficult high-energy xray regime. At xray photon energies near 10 keV and higher, we believe that sub-picosecond temporal responses are possible with near single xray photon sensitivity. The approach also allows for the convenient and EMI robust transport of high-bandwidth information via fiber optics. Furthermore, the technology can be scaled to imaging applications. The basic physics of the detector, implementation considerations, and preliminary experimental data are presented and discussed.