Ametek recently acquired HS Foils, a provider of radiation detector components, including ultra-thin radiation windows (Si3N4), silicon drift and Si-PIN detectors, and x-ray filters. HS Foils is now part of Amptek Inc. Amptek has been using silicon nitride windows from HS Foils since 2010 and recently began shipping detectors for the EDS market using their technology.

See here for the press release.

The group has developed patented intellectual property around silicon nitride window technology which significantly expands the limits of X-ray window performance and application areas.  HS Foils has extensive expertise in Si-PIN and silicon drift detector (SDD) manufacturing, producing detectors with very low leakage current, radiation hardness, and a superior front contact that provides excellent low energy resolution and uniform peak shapes.

The group’s design and production facility is at Micronova in Espoo Finland, which is the largest micro- and nanotechnology research center in Scandinavia.

This was an extremely strategic move for Amptek as it has brought detector and window design in house. Amptek has now released a 70 mm2 SDD, and is able to provide the highest quality detectors for the most demanding applications. Many different types of detectors in all shapes and sizes will soon be available from Amptek.

Window Technology

The group has developed and patented a new technology for the fabrication of ultra-thin X-ray windows. The key benefit of this technology is unequaled transmission for low energy X-rays. The technology offers significant benefits compared to conventional polymer based X-ray windows. The group has developed new approaches for using traditional ceramic and crystalline materials from semiconductor industry in X-ray windows. These high quality ultra pure materials combined with an innovative X-ray window structure design, and developed fabrication methods, make it possible to manufacture ultra-thin X-ray windows with outstanding performance.

Amptek uses this technology in its silicon nitride C Series windows.

Why this technology is better:

  • Completely toxic free material family
  • The best available transmission for low energy X-rays
  • Large acceptance angle of the incoming X-rays.
  • The widest temperature range in further processing
  • Vacuum tightness
  • Pressure tolerance
  • Strength

Publications on window technology:

Technology development for soft X-ray spectroscopy (2016)

Performance and properties of ultra-thin silicon nitride X-ray windows (2014)

Ultra-thin silicon nitride X-ray windows (2013)

Detector Technology

The group has developed high quality, high performing, and consistent radiation detectors.

Si-PIN and SDD detectors with

  • Ultra low leakage current
  • Thin front contact
  • Radiation hardness

Amptek currently uses the SDD detectors for EDS (SEM) applications.