Journal article

Scintillation detectors based on silicon microfluidic channels

Microfluidic channels obtained by SU-8 photolithography and filled with liquid scintillators were recently demonstrated to be an interesting technology for the implementation of novel particle detectors. The main advantages of this approach are the intrinsic radiation resistance resulting from the simple microfluidic circulation of the active medium and the possibility to manufacture devices with high spatial resolution and low material budget using microfabrication techniques. Here we explore a different technological implementation of this concept, reporting on scintillating detectors based on silicon microfluidic channels. A process for manufacturing microfluidic devices on silicon substrates, featuring microchannel arrays suitable for light guiding, was developed. Such process can be in principle combined with standard CMOS processing and lead to a tight integration with the readout photodetectors and electronics in the future. Several devices were manufactured, featuring microchannel geometries differing in depth, width and pitch. A preliminary characterization of the prototypes was performed by means of a photomultiplier tube coupled to the microchannel ends, in order to detect the scintillation light produced upon irradiation with beta particles from a 90Sr source. The photoelectron spectra thus obtained were fitted with the expected output function in order to extract the light yield.


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