A cryogenic, high-resolution X-ray detector with high count rate capability has been invented. The new X-ray detector is based on superconducting tunnel junctions (STJs), and operates without thermal stabilization at or below 500 mK. The X-ray detector exhibits good resolution (.about.5-20 eV FWHM) for soft X-rays in the keV region, and is capable of counting at count rates of more than 20,000 counts per second (cps). Simple, FET-based charge amplifiers, current amplifiers, or conventional spectroscopy shaping amplifiers can provide the electronic readout of this X-ray detector.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.