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FPGA-based algorithms for the stability improvement of high-flux X-ray spectrometric imaging detectors.

Abstract : The emergence of CdTe Photon Counting Detectors (PCD) with energy discrimination capabilities, opens up new perspectives in X-ray imaging. Medical and security applications are characterized by very high X-ray fluxes and consequently require a very fast shaper in order to limit dead time losses due to pile-up. However, if the shaper is faster than the collection of the charges in the semiconductor, there is a loss of charge called ballistic deficit. Moreover, variations of the electric field profile in the detector over time cause a change in the collection time of the charges. As a result, the conversion gain of the detector will be affected by these variations. The instability of the response is visible over time as a channel shift of the spectra, resulting in a false information of the photon energy. The aim of this work is to characterize this instability in order to understand the mechanisms behind them and to develop a method to correct its effect. We proposed a correction algorithm based on the use of two Single Delay Line (SDL) shaping amplifiers. A fast SDL is used to measure the X-ray spectra at high count rates with limited count rate losses. A slow SDL is used to measure the full collected charge in order estimate a correction factor for the compensation of the ballistic deficit fluctuations of the fast SDL. An important step is to sort the processed pulses in order to reject pile-up and other undesirable effects that may degrade the measurement of the correction factor. The proposed method was implemented in an FPGA in order to correct the ballistic deficit in real-time and to give a stable response of the detector at very high fluxes. The method was tested with a 4x4 pixels detector (CdTe) of 3 mm thickness and 800 micron pitch, which is able to measure transmitted X-ray spectra in the energy range of 20-160 kV on 256 energy bins. The developed method was initially tested at low count rate with a Co-57 and an Am-241 gamma-ray sources, then at high count rates up to ~2 Mc/s with an X-ray source. With the characterization and the validation of this innovative algorithm we prove its ability in providing a stable response of the detector over time without affecting the energy resolution (~7% at 122 keV) and the dead time (~70 ns).
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Cinzia de Cesare. FPGA-based algorithms for the stability improvement of high-flux X-ray spectrometric imaging detectors.. Micro and nanotechnologies/Microelectronics. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018GREAT084⟩. ⟨tel-02096235⟩

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