Thermodynamics of post-growth annealing of cadmium zinc telluride nuclear radiation detectors

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Nuclear Radiation Detectors are used for detecting, tracking, and identifying radioactive materials which emit high-energy gamma and X-rays. The use of Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CdZnTe) detectors is particularly attractive because of the detector's ability to operate at room temperature and measure the energy spectra of gamma-ray sources with a high resolution, typically less than 1% at 662 keV. While CdZnTe detectors are acceptable imperfections in the crystals limit their full market potential. One of the major imperfections are Tellurium inclusions generated during the crystal growth process by the retrograde solubility of Tellurium and Tellurium-rich melt trapped at the growth interface. Tellurium inclusions trap charge carriers generated by gamma and X-ray photons and thus reduce the portion of generated charge carriers that reach the electrodes for collection and conversion into a readable signal which is representative of the ionizing radiation's energy and intensity. One approach in resolving this problem is post-growth annealing which has the potential of removing the Tellurium inclusions and associated impurities. The goal of this project is to use experimental techniques to study the thermodynamics of Tellurium inclusion migration in post-growth annealing of CdZnTe nuclear detectors with the temperature gradient zone migration (TGZM) technique. Systematic experiments will be carried out to provide adequate thermodynamic data that will inform the engineering community of the optimum annealing parameters. Additionally, multivariable correlations that involve the Tellurium diffusion coefficient, annealing parameters, and CdZnTe properties will be analyzed. The experimental approach will involve systematic annealing experiments (in Cd vapor overpressure) on different sizes of CdZnTe crystals at varying temperature gradients ranging from 0 to 60 oC/mm (used to migrate the Tellurium inclusion to one side of the crystal), and at annealing temperatures ranging from 500 to 800 oC. The characterization techniques that will be used to quantify the effects of the post-growth annealing experiments include: 1) 3D infrared transmission microscopy to measure the size, distribution, and concentration of Tellurium inclusions; 2) current-voltage measurements to determine the effect of post-growth annealing on the resistivity of CdZnTe crystals; and 3) X-ray diffraction topography, available at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) facilities at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), to measure the correlation between device performance and annealing conditions

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Mechanical engineering, Materials science