Cryogenic detectors and their application to x-ray fluorescence analysis

Matthias Frank, Stephan Friedrich, Jens Höhne, Josef Jochum

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Cryogenic detectors are very sensitive, energy-resolving, low-threshold photon and particle detectors, which have been developed over the last decades for a variety of applications in particle physics and astrophysics. More recently, cryogenic detectors have also been applied as high-resolution, photon-counting detectors for energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and x-ray fluorescence analysis (XRFA). Cryogenic detectors can provide an about 10 times better energy resolution for x-rays than achievable with "conventional" energy-dispersive detectors, such as HPGe and Si(Li) detectors. In this review, we give a brief introduction to cryogenic detectors (Section 1) and describe the basic operating principles and achieved performance of two types of cryogenic detectors most applicable to EDS and XRFA, superconducting tunnel junctions (Section 2) and hot-electron microcalorimeters (Section 3). In section 4 we discuss various practical aspects of using these cryogenic detectors for fluorescence applications including their operation at ultra-low temperatures close to XRF specimens at room temperature and achievable solid angle and efficiency. In Section 5 we present results from selected recent EDS and XRF experiments performed with cryogenic detectors and discuss their applications in semiconductor microanalysis and in fluorescence-detected absorption spectroscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-112
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of X-Ray Science and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 6 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Instrumentation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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