Use of a Radiation Detector that Combines Virtual Frisch Grid and Cerenkov Readouts

Tech ID: 30091 / UC Case 2019-293-0


Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a radiation detector for high energy photons that employs a transparent semiconductor with a high index of refraction to combine benefits of Virtual Frisch Grid devices and the readout of Cerenkov light.

Full Description

Current radiation detectors are unable to provide high spatial accuracy, timing resolution, energy resolution and detection efficiency simultaneously and with the desired level of high performance. Image quality in PET scanners is desired to improve to detect smaller tumors or lesions, and the uncertainty of range verification in hadron beam radiotherapy is limiting its wide utilization. The location and source of radioactive threats cannot be assessed at great distances with hand-held devices, and detectors used in astrophysics and high-energy physics are sizeable and costly.

Researchers at the University of California Davis have developed a radiation detector for high energy photons that uses a transparent semiconductor (thallium bromide) possessing a high index of refraction. This detector allows the Position Sensitive Virtual Frisch Grid (PS-VFG) and Cerenkov light readouts to be combined. The PS-VFG style of semiconductor detector provides high energy resolution and high spatial resolution in three dimensions via an electronic signal. Due to the transparent nature of the selected semiconductor, the detector is also capable of detecting the promptly emitted Cerenkov photons optically. Combining these two readouts increases the overall performance of the radiation detector at a lower cost than current detection techniques.


  • Radiation detector for high energy photons (gamma photons) and charged particles


  • Increased time, energy, and spatial resolution for medical imaging, leading to better image quality and higher contrast for positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Precision delivery of therapeutic doses and increase efficacy of hadron therapy
  • Better location and source detection of radioactive threats from greater distances
  • High precision neutron/gamma discrimination in safeguards and non-proliferation
  • Better understanding of physical phenomenon

Patent Status

Patent Pending


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  • Cherry, Simon R.
  • Estrada, Gerard
  • Mitchell, Gregory

Other Information


Cerenkov detector, Frisch grid, Radiation detection, Semiconductor, PET, Hadron beam radiotherapy, Nuclear non-proliferation monitoring, Virtual Frisch Grid, Positron emission tomography, Particle physics, Astrophysics

Categorized As