A method for reducing the leakage current in CZT crystals, particularly Cd.sub.1-x Zn.sub.x Te crystals (where x is greater than equal to zero and less than or equal to 0.5), and preferably Cd.sub.0.9 Zn.sub.0.1 Te crystals, thereby enhancing the ability of these crystal to spectrally resolve radiological emissions from a wide variety of radionuclides. Two processes are disclosed. The first method provides for depositing, via reactive sputtering, a silicon nitride hard-coat overlayer which provides significant reduction in surface leakage currents. The second method enhances the passivation by oxidizing the CZT surface with an oxygen plasma prior to silicon nitride deposition without breaking the vacuum state.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was made with Government support under contract no. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights in the invention.