Gamma-X (GMX) N-type High Purity Germanium (HPGe) Coaxial Radiation Detectors

HPGe and SiLi Radiation Detector Energy Range - GMX Radiation DetectorGAMMA-X N-type coaxial HPGe detectors are made for high-performance gamma spectroscopy in the energy range ~3 keV and upwards.

GAMMA-X (GMX) detectors are coaxial Germanium (Ge) detectors with an ultra-thin entrance window. While most coaxial detectors have entrance windows from 500- to 1000-μm thick, the entrance window of these detectors is a 0.3-μm-thick, ion-implanted contact, extending the lower range of useful energies to around 3 keV. Ion implantation results in a totally stable contact which will not deteriorate with repeated cycling. Moreover, N-type HPGe detectors have been shown to be resistant to damage by fast neutrons.

GAMMA-X Series feature:
  • GAMMA-X Efficiencies to 100%, higher on request.
  • Spectroscopy from 3 keV upwards.
  • Ultra-thin boron ion implanted radiation window, ideal for Compton suppression systems.
  • Neutron damage resistant; user self-repair neutron damage option.
  • Excellent energy resolution and peak symmetry.
  • SMART bias options.
  • Harsh Environment (-HE) option.
  • Be window supplied with protective cover; Al or carbon fiber window option available at no additional charge.
  • Low background carbon fiber endcap options.
  • PLUS preamplifier option for ultra-high-rate applications.
  • Huge configuration flexibility, PopTop, Streamline and mechanically cooled options.
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      GAMMA-X Series detectors are manufactured from ORTEC-grown germanium crystals processed in our advanced manufacturing facility in Oak Ridge, TN. The detectors are fabricated from N-type germanium with an inner contact of diffused Li and an outer, ultra thin, contact of ion-implanted boron.

      The GAMMA-X detector, uniquely, demonstrates excellent efficiency at both high and low energies. ORTEC offers GMX Series HPGe detectors with relative efficiencies from 10% to 100% and beyond.

      ORTEC maintains a large stocklist of HPGe detectors. Some of these have "super specifications," that is, a warranted energy resolution better than the usual warranted specifications.

      High- and Low-Energy Performance of the GAMMA-X Detector
      The high-energy performance of a GAMMA-X detector is defined by its relative efficiency, resolution, and peak-to-Compton ratio at 60Co.

      The low-energy performance of this detector is defined by its resolution at 5.9 keV, its active surface area, and the detector window thickness.

      The thickness of the entrance contact of the GAMMA-X detector is described by the ratio of the areas of two peaks of a readily available source. The peaks chosen are those of the 88-keV gamma rays from the 109Cd and of the 22.16-keV Ag K x rays from the same source. The warranted window attenuation ratio is 20.

      WE =  peak area at 22.16 keV 
       peak area at 88 keV
      22-keV Peak/88-keV Peak Area
      This specification quantifies the thinness of the entrance window in GAMMA-X detectors. The natural ratio of gamma rays from the 22-keV and 88-keV lines of a 109Cd source is ~21:1. A GAMMA-X detector typically displays a ration >20:1.

      Beryllium Window
      GMX detectors in 70-mm (2.75-in.) or 76-mm (3-in.) diameter endcaps (10 to ~35%) are supplied with 51-mm (2-in.) diameter Be windows. GMX detectors in 83-mm (3.25-in.) diameter endcaps (~30 to 65%) are supplied with 64-mm (2.5-in.) diameter Be windows. These windows are 0.020-in. thick and have a transmission coefficient of ~95% at 5.9-keV. Detectors in 95-mm (3.75-in.) diameter endcaps (~60 to 100%) receive a 84-mm (3.3-in.) diameter Be window that is 0.030-in. thick.

      High-Voltage Shutdown and High-Rate Indicator
      GAMMA-X detectors have high-voltage shutdown and high-rate indicator protection features. If the LN2 supply is exhausted and the detector begins to warm while high-voltage bias is applied (when using the Model 659 Bias Supply), the high voltage automatically shuts off, thus protecting the FET from damage. This is accomplished with a temperature sensor (located on the mount behind the detector) that shuts down the high voltage before the molecular sieve can outgas and cause a dangerous high-voltage arc. Using the high-leakage current of a warming detector to shut down the high voltage can result in FET and detector damage.

      Neutron Damage Resistance
      In the GAMMA-X detector, electron collection is the dominant process. Fast neutrons generate hole-trapping centers; that is, negatively charged defects that trap holes but not electrons.

      Therefore, the GAMMA-X detector, in which the hole collection process is of secondary importance, is basically less sensitive to radiation damage than coaxial Ge devices in which the hole collection process is of primary importance. These theoretical considerations have been experimentally confirmed.

      It should be noted that once severe radiation damage has occurred, the “longest mileage” is obtained by avoiding cycling the detector to room temperature. This is true for either p- or n-type Ge detectors. However, for slightly damaged GAMMA-X detectors (~0.1 keV degradation), cycling, or even leaving the detector warm for an extended period, will have no unfavorable effect.

      GAMMA-X detectors should be maintained at a temperature as close to 77 K as possible to minimize the extent of radiation damage. Therefore a streamline cryostat, with one less thermal connection, is a better choice than a PopTop for this purpose.

      Customer-Neutron-Damage-Repairable Detectors
      Repair of neutron-damaged GAMMA-X detectors can be performed at any of our worldwide repair facilities, or by you in your own laboratory. Contact us for information about our Customer-Neutron-Damage-Repairable GAMMA-X detectors.
    • Options +

      Integrated Cryocooling System Option (-ICS-E)
      The Integrated Cryocooling System (ICS) cryostat is sealed with a cryocooler and is immune to thermal short cycling. Unlike the typical three day loss of use of the detector with a standard type cryostat, the ICS can be re-cooled immediately, minimizing any time lost for temporary warm up.

      SMART-1 Option  (-SMN)
      The SMART-1 option monitors and reports on vital system functions, and can save authentication codes and report the code at a later time. It has the high voltage included, so none of the instruments require an external high-voltage power supply. The SMART-1 is housed in a rugged ABS molded plastic enclosure and is permanently attached to the detector endcap via a molded-strain-relieved sealed cable. This eliminates the possibility that the detector will suffer severe damage from moisture leaking into high-voltage connectors. The SMART-1 can be positioned in any convenient place and does not interfere with shielding or other mounting hardware.

      Ultra-High Count-Rate Preamplifier Option  (-PL)
      The Ultra-High Count-Rate Preamplifier (transistor-reset preamplifier), can handle input count rates up to 1,000,000 counts/s at 1 MeV, offers the added benefit of having no feedback resistor.

      Harsh Environment Option  (-HE)
      The Harsh Environment option is a rugged carbon fiber endcap with a sealed electronics housing featuring a replaceable desiccant pack which ensures that the electronics stay 100% dry and indicates when it needs to be replaced. GMX series detectors in PopTop capsules of 76 mm diameter or larger can be supplied with this option. 

      Remote Preamplifier Option  (-HJ)
      This option allows all the preamplifier and high voltage connections to be outside a shield and removes the preamplifier and high voltage filter from the “line-of-sight” to the Ge crystal. For low background applications, this option eliminates any possible preamplifier or high voltage filter components that may add to the background inside a shield.

      Low-Background Carbon Fiber Endcap Options  (-RB, -LB-C, and -XLB-C)
      The Low-Background Carbon Fiber Endcap is as strong as Al, Mg, and Cu, creates less background, does not corrode, and can detect energies less than 10 keV. This lower background material allows for lower Minimum Detectable Activity (MDA) for a specific counting time, which provides another step in increasing sample throughput in low-background counting applications. The lower Z of Carbon Fiber provides a low-energy window without the additional background found in most alloys.

      Low-Background Be/Cu Endcap Options  (-RB-B, -LB-B, and -XLB-B)
      If the ultimate in low energies is required, a low-background, high purity Be window can be installed in a Cu endcap to minimize the background and still allow energies as low as 3-keV through the front window of the detector.

      Aluminum Window Option  (-A)
      An all aluminum endcap can be chosen if the energies of interest exceed 20 keV.

      Carbon Fiber Window Option  (-CW)
      A carbon fiber window is available for energies greater than about 8 keV. While this window does not pass all the lower energies, carbon fiber has lower Z than Al and does not have any of the hazards associated with Be.
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