Reduction of surface leakage current by surface passivation of Cd.sub.1-x Zn.sub.x Te and other materials using hyperthermal oxygen atoms. Surface effects are important in the performance of CdZnTe room-temperature radiation detectors used as spectrometers since the dark current is often dominated by surface leakage. A process using high-kinetic-energy, neutral oxygen atoms (.about.3 eV) to treat the surface of CdZnTe detectors at or near ambient temperatures is described. Improvements in detector performance include significantly reduced leakage current which results in lower detector noise and greater energy resolution for radiation measurements of gamma- and X-rays, thereby increasing the accuracy and sensitivity of measurements of radionuclides having complex gamma-ray spectra, including special nuclear materials.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to the surface passivation of materials and, more particularly, to the significant reduction in surface leakage current and improvement in the resolution of CdZnTe detectors resulting from the passivation of such materials using hyperthermal oxygen atoms. This invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to The Regents of the University of California. The government has certain rights in the invention.