An electron gas grid semiconductor radiation detector (EGGSRAD) useful for gamma-ray and x-ray spectrometers and imaging systems is described. The radiation detector employs doping of the semiconductor and variation of the semiconductor detector material to form a two-dimensional electron gas, and to allow transistor action within the detector. This radiation detector provides superior energy resolution and radiation detection sensitivity over the conventional semiconductor radiation detector and the "electron-only" semiconductor radiation detectors which utilize a grid electrode near the anode. In a first embodiment, the EGGSRAD incorporates delta-doped layers adjacent the anode which produce an internal free electron grid well to which an external grid electrode can be attached. In a second embodiment, a quantum well is formed between two of the delta-doped layers, and the quantum well forms the internal free electron gas grid to which an external grid electrode can be attached. Two other embodiments which are similar to the first and second embodiment involve a graded bandgap formed by changing the composition of the semiconductor material near the first and last of the delta-doped layers to increase or decrease the conduction band energy adjacent to the delta-doped layers.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-ACO4-94AL85000 between the United States Department of Energy and the Sandia Corporation for the operation of the Sandia National Laboratories.