Technical Note: Nanometric organic photovoltaic thin film detectors for dose monitoring in diagnostic x-ray imaging

Bassem Elshahat, Hardeep Singh Gill, Ilya Filipyev, Suman Shrestha, Jürgen Hesser, Jayant Kumar, Andrew Karellas, Piotr Zygmanski, Erno Sajo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: To fabricate organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells with nanometric active layers sensitive to ionizing radiation and measure their dosimetric characteristics in clinical x-ray beams in the diagnostic tube potential range of 60-150 kVp. Methods: Experiments were designed to optimize the detectors x-ray response and find the best parameter combination by changing the active layer thickness and the area of the electrode. The OPV cell consisted of poly (3-hexylthiophene-2,5-diyl): [6,6]-phenyl C61 butyric acid methyl ester photoactive donor and acceptor semiconducting organic materials sandwiched between an aluminum electrode as an anode and an indium tin oxide electrode as a cathode. The authors measured the radiation-induced electric current at zero bias voltage in all fabricated OPV cells. Results: The net OPV current as a function of beam potential (kVp) was proportional to kVp?0.5 when normalized to x-ray tube output, which varies with kVp. Of the tested configurations, the best combination of parameters was 270 nm active layer thicknesses with 0.7 cm2 electrode area, which provided the highest signal per electrode area. For this cell, the measured current ranged from approximately 0.7 to 2.4 nA/cm2 for 60-150 kVp, corresponding to about 0.09 nA-0.06 nA/mGy air kerma, respectively. When compared to commercial amorphous silicon thin film photovoltaic cells irradiated under the same conditions, this represents 2.5 times greater sensitivity. An additional 40% signal enhancement was observed when a 1 mm layer of plastic scintillator was attached to the cells beam-facing side. Conclusions: Since both OPVs can be produced as flexible devices and they do not require external bias voltage, they open the possibility for use as thin film in vivo detectors for dose monitoring in diagnostic x-ray imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4027-4032
Number of pages6
JournalMedical physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • dose monitoring
  • organic
  • photovoltaic
  • thin-film
  • x-ray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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