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High Purity Germanium (HPGe) and Silicon Lithium [Si(Li)] Radiation Detectors
HPGe and SiLi Radiation Detectors The invention of semiconductor photon radiation detectors based on large cryogenically cooled germanium and silicon diodes began in the 1950’s. By the mid 1960’s, ORTEC was offering commercial lithium-drifted germanium, or Ge(Li) and lithium-drifted silicon or Si(Li) models. By the mid 1970’s high purity germanium, or HPGe, radiation detectors had replaced the GeLi versions. Today ORTEC offers the widest range of semiconductor photon radiation detectors up to very large crystal sizes.

These radiation detectors are capable of very high energy resolution and since their invention have proved highly desirable in many applications, most recently in relation to homeland security, where an opponent in nuclear materials trafficking is trying to mislead a detection system into providing the wrong identification result. The “gold standard” in these measurements is considered to be a germanium radiation detector.

Classically, cooling for germanium and silicon semiconductor photon radiation detectors has been implemented by the use of liquid cryogens, most commonly liquid nitrogen. The requirement for such cooling has been a limitation to the deployment of these radiation detectors. Since the mid 1980’s ORTEC has pioneered the use of mechanical coolers, at this date having delivered more mechanically cooled HPGe radiation detectors than all other manufacturers combined.

ORTEC HPGe radiation detectors are now in use world-wide in applications as diverse as nuclear structure physics and the prevention of illicit nuclear materials trafficking at the world’s largest ports of commerce. 

Tutorial of the Physics of Semiconductor Detectors.

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