Development and evaluation of gallium nitride-based thin films for x-ray dosimetry

Markus Hofstetter, John Howgate, Ian D. Sharp, Martin Stutzmann, Stefan Thalhammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


X-ray radiation plays an important role in medical procedures ranging from diagnostics to therapeutics. Due to the harm such ionizing radiation can cause, it has become common practice to closely monitor the dosages received by patients. To this end, precise online dosimeters have been developed with the dual objectives of monitoring radiation in the region of interest and improving therapeutic methods. In this work, we evaluate GaN thin film high electron mobility heterostructures with sub-mm2 detection areas as x-ray radiation detectors. Devices were tested using 40-300 kV Bremsstrahlung x-ray sources. We find that the photoconductive device response exhibits a large gain, is almost independent of the angle of irradiation, and is constant to within 2% of the signal throughout this medical diagnostic x-ray range, indicating that these sensors do not require recalibration for geometry or energy. Furthermore, the devices show a high sensitivity to x-ray intensity and can measure in the air kerma rate (free-in-air) range of 1 νGy s-1 to 10 mGy s -1 with a signal stability of 1% and a linear total dose response over time. Medical conditions were simulated by measurements of device responses to irradiation through human torso phantoms. Direct x-ray imaging is demonstrated using the index finger and wrist sections of a human phantom. The results presented here indicate that GaN-based thin film devices exhibit a wide range of properties, which make them promising candidates for dosimetry applications. In addition, with potential detection volumes smaller than 10 -6 cm3, they are well suited for high-resolution x-ray imaging. Moreover, with additional engineering steps, these devices can be adapted to potentially provide both in vivo biosensing and x-ray dosimetry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3215-3231
Number of pages17
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 7 Jun 2011


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