X-ray detectors pioneered by DECTRIS in Switzerland transform research at the ESRF

Hybrid photon counting x-ray detectors pioneered by DECTRIS in Switzerland have transformed research at synchrotron light sources and are routinely installed at facilities around the world. Through a successful long term relationship between DECTRIS and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility ESRF in France, over 17 detectors have been installed on research beamlines since 2009. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, thousands of scientists visiting the ESRF from around the world rely on state-of-the-art detector technology from DECTRIS for their research.

The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility ESRF in Grenoble, France is the world's most intense x-ray source and a centre of excellence for fundamental and innovation-driven research in condensed and living matter science.

DECTRIS has supplied x-ray detectors to the ESRF since 2009. The first PILATUS detectors delivered to ESRF marked the start of a successful long term relationship caped with the latest EIGER 4M detector technology providing even more throuput and resolution. DECTRIS owns the whole production chain for these devices including wafer processing, bump-bonding and final assembly of the systems. Research and development covers sensor and ASIC design, electronic board development and software development. Through its complete, highly integrated processes, DECTRIS is able to deliver extremely reliable products.

DECTRIS pioneered hybrid photon counting (HPC) detectors in x-ray crystallography and because of their superior properties, HPC detectors have become routinely installed at synchrotron facilities around the world. In contrast to earlier technology like CCDs and image plates, HPC detectors count individual x-ray photons and suppress background signal noise. As a result, excellent data quality can be obtained even from marginal samples. Structures of increasingly large protein complexes, whose crystals tend to diffract poorly, are being solved, and novel methods have been proposed for the retrieval of phase information, which is normally lost in a crystallographic experiment.

The X-ray Nanoprobe Group at the ESRF supports physical, medical, materials science and engineering research and has installed an EIGER 4M detector on their ID13 Microfocus Beamline.The principal aim of the ID13 beamline is to provide small focal spots for diffraction and small-angle x-ray scattering. A broad range of materials are examined, from bio- and synthetic polymers to composites and minerals.

The smaller pixel size of the EIGER detector allows researchers to take advantage of the small beam diameter and low beam divergence and collect better data with less background noise at up to 750 frames per second. Based on this achievement, fast continuous scanning of extended areas with micrometre-scale resolution has become feasible yielding two-dimensional data maps extracted from millions of diffraction patterns.

About Dectris AG

DECTRIS develops and manufactures x-ray detector systems in the scientific, industrial and medical markets. The technology leader in x-ray detection, its photon counting detectors have transformed basic research at synchrotron light sources, as well as in the laboratory and with industrial x-ray applications.

The headquarters of the company are located in Baden, Switzerland and host research and development as well as production, marketing, sales and administration. The company employs approximately 100 people of which 35 have a PhD in science. DECTRIS is an ISO 9001 certified company.

Christian Brönimann
Baden, Switzerland

Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft
Confédération suisse
Confederazione Svizzera
Confederazium Svizra
Swiss Confederation


Federal Department of Ecomic Affairs,
Education and Research EAER
State Secretariat for Education,
Research and Innovation SERI
Uni Ge
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