With recent innovations and investment, beamlines are getting brighter. So, researchers need better detectors. In particular, evolving beamline capabilities drive the need for faster detectors that offer a wider dynamic range. Using the newest detectors that offer this level of speed and range, scientists can better leverage state-of-the-art beamlines to advance their work.
In fact, the detectors will be required to handle photon counts or flux that are potentially hundreds of times greater than is typically seen today. With brighter and more focused beams, the signal from samples will be stronger as well. Yet, the sample signal will still be many orders of magnitude less than that from the beam itself. So, detectors for the new beamlines need to have a wider dynamic range, as that will allow the detectors to handle the flux from the beam while also picking up the much weaker sample signal.
There are new detector technologies that provide greater speed and sensitivity. Direct imaging detectors offer greater resolution than can be achieved with indirect methods, which use a scintillator and capture the flash of light that results from an x-ray event. Direct imaging, on the other hand, uses silicon (Si) or cadmium telluride (CdTe) that generates an electron directly from an x-ray photon. Beyond better resolution, this technique allows for a faster response. To uncover the most opportunities, detectors must be up to the task and aligned with science’s vision. The key to achieving both involves material selection, electronics, and sophisticated signal processing.