Compton camera based on Timepix3 technology

The Compton camera concept is based on the reconstruction of recorded Compton scattering events of incoming gamma rays. The scattering of primary gamma ray occurs in the first detector (called scattering detector—usually thin) recording the position and energy of the recoiled electron. The scattered gamma quantum continues towards the second detector (called absorption detector – usually thick) where it is absorbed. The second detector records the energy and the position of this scattered gamma. Using the Compton scattering equation it is possible to determine the scattering angle, and estimate possible directions of the original gamma ray as a surface of a cone. When the Compton camera records the number of such events, the location and the shape of the gamma source can be reconstructed. Timepix3, a hybrid single photon counting imaging pixel detector, is a perfect device for creation of a compact Compton camera. Timepix3 is an event based readout chip (every hit pixel is immediately sent to a readout) and can record the time-of-arrival (ToA) and energy of an incident gamma simultaneously in each pixel. The chip offers high energy resolution (1 keV at 60 keV, 7 keV at 356 keV), as well as time resolution (1.6 ns). The Timepix3 readout chip can be combined with different sensor materials (Si, CdTe, CZT). In this contribution, we present a very compact detector system for imaging with gamma-rays using the Compton camera principle. The system consists of at least two layers of hybrid pixel detectors Timepix3 with the sensors being optimized for gamma-ray tracking. The front detector layer (scattering) is made of silicon of 1 mm thickness, while the last layer (absorbing) is equipped with thick CdTe or CZT sensors up to 2 mm in thickness. The total absorption of the whole detector can be very high if several CdTe or CZT layers are used. The maximal number of layers is not limited, but the practical evaluation was performed with 2 layers. Thanks to Timepix3 simultaneous measurement of ToA and energy, it is possible to precisely detect coincidence events in the detector layers. Based on the energy and position of these events, it is possible to estimate the possible direction of the original gamma. The angular resolution of the presented Compton camera depends on the detected energy, and it is in the order of 1 degree.

Turecek, D., Jakubek, J., Trojanova, E., & Sefc, L. (2018). Compton camera based on Timepix3 technology. Journal of Instrumentation13(11), C11022.

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