Characterization and Development of an Event-Driven Hybrid CMOS X-ray Detector

Open Access
Griffith, Christopher Vance
Graduate Program:
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
October 09, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Abraham David Falcone, Dissertation Advisor
  • David Nelson Burrows, Committee Member
  • John Andrew Nousek, Committee Member
  • Mike Eracleous, Committee Member
  • Stephane Coutu, Committee Member
  • Hybrid CMOS
  • event-driven
  • HCD
  • CCD
  • X-ray detector
Hybrid CMOS detectors (HCD) have provided great benefit to the infrared and optical fields of astronomy, and they are poised to do the same for X-ray astronomy. Infrared HCDs have already flown on the Hubble Space Telescope and the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission and are slated to fly on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Hybrid CMOS X-ray detectors offer low susceptibility to radiation damage, low power consumption, and fast readout time to avoid pile-up. The fast readout time is necessary for future high throughput X-ray missions. The Speedster-EXD X-ray HCD presented in this dissertation offers new in-pixel features and reduces known noise sources seen on previous generation HCDs. The Speedster-EXD detector makes a great step forward in the development of these detectors for future space missions. This dissertation begins with an overview of future X-ray space mission concepts and their detector requirements. The background on the physics of semiconductor devices and an explanation of the detection of X-rays with these devices will be discussed followed by a discussion on CCDs and CMOS detectors. Next, hybrid CMOS X-ray detectors will be explained including their advantages and disadvantages. The Speedster-EXD detector and its new features will be outlined including its ability to only read out pixels which contain X-ray events. Test stand design and construction for the Speedster-EXD detector is outlined and the characterization of each parameter on two Speedster-EXD detectors is detailed including read noise, dark current, interpixel capacitance crosstalk (IPC), and energy resolution. Gain variation is also characterized, and a Monte Carlo simulation of its impact on energy resolution is described. This analysis shows that its effect can be successfully nullified with proper calibration, which would be important for a flight mission. Appendix B contains a study of the extreme tidal disruption event, Swift J1644+57, to search for periodicities in its X-ray light curve.