Digital devices have started to replace photographic film inX-ray imaging applications. As compared to photographic films,these devices are more convenient to obtain images and tohandle, treat and store these images. The goal of the presentstudy is to develop macropore arrays and related silicontechnologies in order to fabricate X-ray imaging detectors formedical applications, and in particular for dentistry. Althougha few detectors are already available on the market, theirperformances, such as the X-ray sensitivity, can still beimproved. In addition, the image quality, defined by thespatial resolution and the signalto- noise ratio (SNR), shouldbe sufficiently high to enable diagnosis and, as regard to thepatient health, the X-ray dose should be reduced to aminimum.
Three detector concepts were investigated. All of themrequire the formation of a macropore array in silicon as afirst step in the detector fabrication. Even though deepreactive ion etching was used to form these macropore arrays,silicon electrochemical etching in aqueous hydrofluoric acid(HF) solution has been more intensively studied. The porespacing was fixed to about 50 µm in order to achieve aspatial resolution of 10 lp/mm, as required in dentalapplication. Pore depths up to 420 µm with diameterranging from 10 to 40 µm, depending on the detectorconcept, have been achieved. Electrochemical etching of siliconis, indeed, a very promising technique to fabricate high aspectratio structures and damage-free macropore arrays. Thistechnique is based on a silicon dissolution reaction involvingthe species of the HF solution, silicon atoms and holes, thepositive charge carriers. As holes are the minority carriers inn-type silicon, they are usually photogenerated. However, wealso developed an alternative technique based on hole injectionfrom a forwardbiased p-n junction, and the possibility to formmacropore arrays and diverse threedimensional structures wasdemonstrated.
The first detector concept investigated consists of asilicon charge-coupled device (CCD) in proximity with ascintillating guide screen. This screen is made of a siliconmacropore array filled with CsI(Tl), emitting photons at awavelength of 550 nm (green light) under X-ray exposure. Thevisible light is then reflected on the walls of the pores inorder to be detected by the CCD pixels. Both oxide and metalcan be used as a reflective layer. Such detectors were fullyfabricated and characterized, showing good spatial resolutionand comparable results with currently available detectorsconcerning the SNR and the X-ray dose. The second detectorstudied in this thesis uses photodiodes, instead of a CCD, inorder to detect the photons emitted from the scintillator. Thisconcept would lead to high charge collection efficiency sincethe diodes are formed in the silicon pore walls, making thedistance between the generation and detection points of thevisible photons short. However, this design implies two majordifficulties in the detector fabrication: formation of p-njunction in the pore walls and formation of contacts to thediodes. Thus, boron diffusion from a solid source andlow-pressure chemical vapor deposition of boron-dopedpoly-silicon were experimented. Both techniques were shown tobe successful. The last detector concept is based on thegeneration of electron/hole pairs in the semiconductor bulkunder X-ray exposure. The generated charges would then becollected by electrodes going through the bulk, requiringformation of deep and narrow pores. Siliconphoto-electrochemical etching was used and 425-µm deeppores with a diameter of 14 µm were formed, resulting inan aspect ratio of ~ 30 and an active area of 90 %.
Kista: Mikroelektronik och informationsteknik , 2003. , iv, 44 p.