Improve gamma-ray imaging for astrophysics research and ground based applications (shielded special nuclear material detection) by utilizing modern nano- and micro-fabrication techniques.
Modern radiation detectors are based on high-voltage semiconductor detectors. NRL is increasing their performance by increasing the detector size and thickness, developing novel detector designs, utilizing high atomic number semiconductors, and reducing "inactive" detector area.
- Full development cycle in-house: performance simulation → mask design → nano-/microfabrication → testing
- Finite element simulations (FEM) of the fabrication and electrical performance of semiconductor radiation detectors
- Use of "state-of-the-art" nano-fabrication methods, e.g. atomic layer deposition (ALD), laser micro-machining (see micrograph), and deep reactive ion etching (DRIE). The nano- and micro-fabrication is done at NRL’s Institute for Nanoscience (NSI), the lab’s centralized nano- and micro-fabrication facility
- Novel detector designs, e.g. lateral depletion from hole or trench array (see micrograph)
- Collaborating with top research institutes around the world, including RD50 at CERN and UCSC (University of California Santa Cruz) on "slim edge" designs
- NRL showed, for the first time, a silicon strip detector on a full 200 mm silicon wafer
- Trenched gamma-ray detector in silicon, 2 mm thick substrate with full depletion at 50 V
- NRL in collaboration with UCSC reduced the inactive area of a detector to
- In-house fabrication of silicon drift detector (SDD).
- First use of alumina, Al2O3, as sidewall passivation and “p-stop” material for radiation detectors → regarded worldwide as "breakthrough" technology
- NRL was awarded 1 US patent and has 6 US patents pending on novel radiation detector designs