An indirect flat panel imager (FPI) with programmable avalanche gain and field emitter array (FEA) readout is being investigated for low-dose and high resolution x-ray imaging. It is made by optically coupling a structured x-ray scintillator, e.g., thallium (Tl) doped cesium iodide (CsI), to an amorphous selenium (a-Se) avalanche photoconductor called high-gain avalanche rushing amorphous photoconductor (HARP). The charge image created by the scintillator∕HARP (SHARP) combination is read out by the electron beams emitted from the FEA. The proposed detector is called scintillator avalanche photoconductor with high resolution emitter readout (SAPHIRE). The programmable avalanche gain of HARP can improve the low dose performance of indirect FPI while the FEA can be made with pixel sizes down to 50 μm. Because of the avalanche gain, a high resolution type of CsI (Tl), which has not been widely used in indirect FPI due to its lower light output, can be used to improve the high spatial frequency performance. The purpose of the present article is to investigate the factors affecting the spatial resolution of SAPHIRE. Since the resolution performance of the SHARP combination has been well studied, the focus of the present work is on the inherent resolution of the FEA readout method. The lateral spread of the electron beam emitted from a 50 μm×50 μm pixel FEA was investigated with two different electron-optical designs: mesh-electrode-only and electrostatic focusing. Our results showed that electrostatic focusing can limit the lateral spread of electron beams to within the pixel size of down to 50 μm. Since electrostatic focusing is essentially independent of signal intensity, it will provide excellent spatial uniformity
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