1-μm spatial resolution in silicon photon-counting CT detectors

J Med Imaging (Bellingham). 2021 Nov;8(6):063501. doi: 10.1117/1.JMI.8.6.063501. Epub 2021 Nov 18.

Abstract

Purpose: Spatial resolution for current scintillator-based computed tomography (CT) detectors is limited by the pixel size of about 1 mm. Direct conversion photon-counting detector prototypes with silicon- or cadmium-based detector materials have lately demonstrated spatial resolution equivalent to about 0.3 mm. We propose a development of the deep silicon photon-counting detector which will enable a resolution of 1 μ m , a substantial improvement compared to the state of the art. Approach: With the deep silicon sensor, it is possible to integrate CMOS electronics and reduce the pixel size at the same time as significant on-sensor data processing capability is introduced. A Gaussian curve can then be fitted to the charge cloud created in each interaction.We evaluate the feasibility of measuring the charge cloud shape of Compton interactions for deep silicon to increase the spatial resolution. By combining a Monte Carlo photon simulation with a charge transport model, we study the charge cloud distributions and induced currents as functions of the interaction position. For a simulated deep silicon detector with a pixel size of 12 μ m , we present a method for estimating the interaction position. Results: Using estimations for electronic noise and a lowest threshold of 0.88 keV, we obtain a spatial resolution equivalent to 1.37 μ m in the direction parallel to the silicon wafer and 78.28 μ m in the direction orthogonal to the wafer. Conclusions: We have presented a simulation study of a deep silicon detector with a pixel size of 12 × 500 μ m 2 and a method to estimate the x-ray interaction position with ultra-high resolution. Higher spatial resolution can in general be important to detect smaller details in the image. The very high spatial resolution in one dimension could be a path to a practical implementation of phase contrast imaging in CT.

Keywords: charge diffusion; charge transport; silicon detector; spatial resolution.