Hybrid Pixel Array Detectors Enabling New Science
PILATUS single photon counting Hybrid Pixel Device (HPD) detectors have transformed synchrotron research by enabling new data acquisition modes and even novel experiments. At the same time data quality has improved due to noise-free operation and direct conversion of the X-rays. Millisecond readout times and high-frame rates allow for hitherto unknown speed and efficiency of data acquisition.
At cryogenic temperatures, PILATUS allows to acquire data of optimal quality by collecting high multiplicity data at low dose rate, referred to as dose slicing. Monitoring data quality indicators as a function of frame number reveals the optimal data quality for a given crystal. This overcomes the problem of traditional data collection, where radiation damage may affect data accuracy before a complete data set is collected. In contrast, dose-sliced data collection always enables the exploration of the full diffraction potential of the crystal. The noise-free counting of PILATUS detectors allows the dose per frame to be reduced without loss of data accuracy due to read-out noise. Furthermore, high frame rates enable acquisition of optimally fine sliced, high multiplicity data in short time.
In room temperature data collection, the high frame rates featured by PILATUS3 detectors allow for outrunning of radiation damage. Recent experiments demonstrate a systematic increase in the dose tolerance of protein and virus crystals as a function of dose rate. PILATUS3 detectors allow even higher frame rates and further push the boundaries of this successful experimental strategy. Latest results obtained with PILATUS3 reveal a departure from a linear or exponential intensity decay in the diffracting power of protein crystals as a function of absorbed dose. A lag phase observed in these experiments raises the possibility of collecting substantially more data from crystals held at room temperature before a critical intensity decay is reached.
The new EIGER detector series presents a leap in HPD detector technology. Featuring 75 pixel size and frame rates up to 3000 Hz in combination with continuous read-out, EIGER detectors will open up new opportunities for advanced dose optimized data acquisition techniques.
HPD detectors with CdTe sensors extend the range of high quantum efficiency to 80 keV. This will allow to fully exploit the potential of new high energy and brightness undulator beamlines at unprecedented signal-to-noise ratios and data acquisition speeds. An overview of the salient detector properties will be given and illustrated by experimental results in various applications.