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e2v chosen to supply high performance imaging sensors for Japan's X-ray Free-Electron Laser
by Staff Writers
Chelmsford UK (SPX) Sep 19, 2012


File image: SPring-8 Angstrom Compact free electron Laser (SACLA).

e2v has been chosen to provide imaging sensors to form part of the next generation of focal plane imaging sensors in the SPring-8 Angstrom Compact free electron Laser (SACLA), an X-ray Free-Electron Laser (XFEL) located in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. A joint project between RIKEN (Japan's large natural sciences research institute) and the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI), the XFEL has already been designated as a key technology of national importance by the Japanese government.

SACLA is the most compact XFEL facility in the world and in March this year it became available for the use of worldwide researchers.

e2v's imaging sensors detect the X-rays scattered by the scientific samples in the XFEL beam. From these scattered X-rays scientists will be able to "see" the atomic structure of proteins and other nano-scale structures.

This contract is for the supply of 48 new Phase 1 devices and also the development of Phase 3 devices, for which e2v is creating a custom High-Rho imaging sensor design.

A High-Rho design means that the sensor will be manufactured on high resistivity silicon and operated with a high back-substrate bias in order to increase the depth of depletion within the sensor.

This enables higher quantum efficiency at red and near infra-red wavelengths without loss of resolution due to charge spreading. This also applies to the detection of soft X-rays in the region of 5 - 12 keV which have a low absorption coefficient in silicon.

For this project the High-Rho design will enable improved efficiency for the detection of higher energy X-rays.

The sensor package will replicate the Phase 1 imaging sensors, also manufactured by e2v, which enabled a 100mm x 100mm X-ray sensitive focal plane with a 50micron pixel resolution to be constructed. Both Phase 1 and High-Rho imaging sensors read out at 60 frames per second to capture the 2 - 12keV X-rays scattered from the beam.

Ivan Noy, marketing manager for scientific high performance imaging solutions at e2v said "We are delighted to have been selected to provide detectors into this exciting, state-of-the-art programme.

The imaging sensors we've supplied as part of Phase 1 are playing a key role in the experiments.

During the first user experiment period that ran from March to July 2012, over half of the 25 scientific proposals received and accepted by SACLA used Phase 1 multi-port CCDs. The development of High-Rho imaging sensors in Phase 3 will bring increased detection capabilities and again help to further scientific discovery."

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