Electrical properties of amorphous selenium based photoconductive devices for application in x-ray image detectors
In the last 10-15 years there has been a renewed interest in amorphous Se (a-Se) and its alloys due to their application as photoconductor materials in the new fully digital direct conversion flat panel x-ray medical image detectors. For a number of reasons, the a-Se photoconductor layer in such x-ray detectors has to be operated at very high electric fields (up to 10 Volts per micron) and one of the most difficult problems related to such applications of a Se is the problem of the dark current (the current in the absence of any radiation) minimization in the photoconductor layer. This PhD work has been devoted to researching the possibilities for dark current minimization in a-Se x-ray photoconductors devices through a systematic study of the charge transport (carrier mobility and carrier lifetimes) and dark currents in single and multilayered a-Se devices as a function of alloying, doping, deposition condition and other fabrication factors. The results of the studies are extensively discussed in the thesis. We have proposed a new technological method for dark current reduction in single and multilayered a-Se based photoconductor for x-ray detector applications. The new technology is based on original experimental findings which demonstrate that both hole transport and the dark currents in a-Se films are a very strong function of the substrate temperature (Tsubstrate) during the film deposition process. We have shown that the new technique reduces the dark currents to approximately the same levels as achievable with the previously existing methods for dark current reduction. However, the new method is simpler to implement, and offers some potential advantages, especially in cases when a very high image resolution (20 cycles/mm) and/or fast pixel readout (more than 30 times per second) are needed. Using the new technology we have fabricated simple single and double (ni-like) photoconductor layers on prototype x-ray image detectors with CCD (Charge Coupled Device) readout circuits. Dark currents in the a-Se photoconductor layer were not a problem for detector operation at all tested electric fields. Compared to the currently available commercial systems for mammography, the prototype detectors have demonstrated an excellent imaging performance, in particular superior spatial resolution (20 cycles/mm). Thus, the newly proposed technology for dark current reduction has shown a potential for commercialization.
amorphous state, amorphous semiconductors, photoconductivity, a Se, photoconductors, medical imaging, radiation detectors, high resolution, digital mammography, thick films, experimental study, electron hole pair, lifetime, localized states, carrier lifetime, trapping, drift mobility, carrier mobility, charge carrier trapping, alloying, fabrication property relation, arsenic additions, doping, chlorine additions, deposition rate, deposition conditions, boat temperature, substrate temperature, annealing, time-of-flight method, dark current, transients; transient curves; I-t curves; I-V curv, X-ray induced changes; dark current control, dark current reduction; multilayered structures, metal electrodes, blocking layers, double layer structure
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)