Exploring X-ray photon-counting scintillation detectors with silicon photomultiplier readout for medical imaging

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)


Photon-counting detectors (PCD) for medical X-ray computed tomography (CT) are designed to measure the number of X-ray photons incident on a detector pixel as well as the energy of the individual X-rays. They are expected to yield improvements in image quality for a given radiation dose, and to offer opportunities for spectral imaging beyond dual-energy techniques. However, the fluence rate incident on the detector can exceed 108 mm-2 s-1 in CT, so that the detector pulses generated by the X-rays likely pile up on each other, which distorts the measurement. The semiconductors CdTe and Cd1-xZnxTe (CZT, x ≈ 0.1-0.2) are commonly considered efficient X-ray absorbers that provide sufficient rate capability (fast pulses in the order of 101 ns and a high pixel density ≥ 4 mm-2) and energy resolution (8-20% FWHM at 60 keV). In such detectors, an X-ray is converted into electron-hole pairs, which travel to (pixelated) electrodes, on which they induce a current pulse. However, the cost-effective synthesis of material of sufficient quality to make this a stable and reliable detection process appears to remain an issue. Thus, the aim of this thesis is to explore the photon-counting performance, e.g., the rate capability and energy resolution, of an alternative detector concept based on a scintillator, which converts an X-ray into a light pulse, and a silicon photomultiplier (SiPM), which detects the light. Since such a detector relies on light rather than charge transport, it may enable cost-effective manufacturing of stable and reliable PCDs...
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Schaart, D.R., Supervisor
  • Dorenbos, P., Supervisor
  • Goorden, M.C., Advisor
Award date12 Oct 2023
Print ISBNs978-94-6384-485-7
Publication statusPublished - 2023


The research described in this thesis was conducted in the Medical Physics and
Technology section, department of Radiation Science and Technology, faculty of
Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands. The work
described in this thesis has been supported by Broadcom Inc. (in-cash and in-kind) and Luxium Solutions (in-kind, formerly Saint Gobain Crystals).


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