Energy and electron drift time measurements in a pixel CCI TlBr detector with 1.3 MeV prompt-gammas

Gerard Ario-Estrada, Hadong Kim, Junwei Du, Leonard J. Cirignano, Kanai S. Shah, Simon R. Cherry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Assessing the position of the Bragg peak (BP) in hadron radiotherapy utilizing prompt-gamma imaging (PGI) presents many challenges in terms of detector physics. Gamma detectors with the capability of extracting the best energy, timing, and spatial information from each gamma interaction, as well as with high detection efficiency and count rate performance, are needed for this application. In this work we present the characterization of a pixel Čerenkov charge induction (CCI) thallium bromide (TlBr) detector in terms of energy and and electron drift time for its potential use in PGI. The CCI TlBr detector had dimensions of 4 × 4 × 5 mm3 and one of its electrodes was segmented in pixels with 1.7 mm pitch. A silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) was optically coupled to one of the faces of the TlBr slab to read out the Čerenkov light promptly emitted after the interaction of a gamma ray. The detector was operated stand-alone and the 1.275 prompt gammas from a 22Na radioactive source were used for the study. The electron drift time was obtained by combining the Čerenkov and charge induction signals and then used as a measure of the depth of interaction. The electron mobility in TlBr was estimated as ∼27 cm2 V-1 s-1. Energy resolutions between 3.4% and 4.0% at 1.275 MeV were obtained after depth-correction. These values improved to 3.0%-3.3% when events with drift times of 3-6 μs were selected. These results show the potential of pixel CCI TlBr detectors to resolve gamma interactions in the detector with mm-like accuracy in 3D and with excellent energy resolution. Previous studies with CCI TlBr devices have shown a timing resolution of <400 ps full width at half maximum when detecting 511 keV gamma rays, therefore, the timing accuracy is expected to improve with the increased energy of the gamma rays in PGI. While other important detector characteristics such as count rate capability remain to be studied, results from this work combined with other preliminary data show pixel CCI detectors can simultaneously provide excellent energy, timing, and spatial resolution performance and are a very promising option for PGI in hadron therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044001
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 21 2021


  • Cerenkov charge induction detectors
  • Electron drift time in tlbr
  • Energy depthcorrection in tlbr
  • Prompt gamma imaging
  • Proton therapy
  • Tlbr

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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