Scientists Create Record Breaking, Thinnest X-Ray Detector

Dec, 2021 - By WMR

Scientists Create Record Breaking, Thinnest X-Ray Detector

Researchers developed a new, thinnest X-ray detector with the use of tin mono-sulfide (SnS) for real-time imaging of living cells.

A team of scientists from ARC Center of Excellence in Exciton Science, developed the thinnest X-ray detector in the world that transforms energy from radiation to electric or visual forms. The new device can be used for imaging of living cells and wet proteins in real-time. The researchers used an optoelectronic material known as tin mono-sulfide (SnS). The material has been used in many other fields, specifically in ultra-thin solar cells development. However, the team produced forms of these ultra-thin cells with using a new fabrication method that was suitable for X-ray imaging.

The researchers used the techniques, which is described as a metal-based exfoliation method. It allowed the scientists to produce SnS sheets of high quality with a huge surface area and perfectly controlled thickness, making the material highly sensitive to soft X-rays. Soft X-rays use lesser photon energy to scan living cells and wet proteins, unlike hard X-rays that are used for imaging broken bones. So far, the thinnest X-ray detectors developed are 20 to 50 nanometers thick, while the new SnS detectors have thickness of less than 10 nanometers. The lateral dimensions and slim profile of these new X-ray detectors improves the response time and sensitivity compared to other soft X-ray detectors.

Moreover, according to the scientists, the material can be used beyond the spectrum of soft X-ray, including the water window. The team claims that the response from the SnS nanosheets is very quick and it can scan desired object and get the image instantly. This system could also be used to observe interaction of cells. As per the team, using the system not just a static image can be produced, it can also allow to see cells and proteins moving and evolving. The system needs much more work to bring it into clinical use as portable and affordable soft X-ray system.

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