X-ray imaging with scintillator-sensitized hybrid organic photodetectors

Medical X-ray imaging requires cost-effective and high-resolution flat-panel detectors for the energy range between 20 and 120 keV. Solution-processed photodetectors provide the opportunity to fabricate detectors with a large active area at low cost. Here, we present a disruptive approach that improves the resolution of such detectors by incorporating terbium-doped gadolinium oxysulfide scintillator particles into an organic photodetector matrix. The X-ray induced light emission from the scintillators is absorbed within hundreds of nanometres, which is negligible compared with the pixel size. Hence, optical crosstalk, a limiting factor in the resolution of scintillator-based X-ray detectors, is minimized. The concept is validated with a 256 × 256 pixel detector with a resolution of 4.75 lp mm−1at a MTF = 0.2, significantly better than previous stacked scintillator-based flat-panel detectors. We achieved a resolution that proves the feasibility of solution-based detectors in medical applications. Time-resolved electrical characterization showed enhanced charge carrier mobility with increased scintillator filling, which is explained by morphological changes.