Flexible Polymer X-ray Detectors with Non-fullerene Acceptors for Enhanced Stability: Toward Printable Tissue Equivalent Devices for Medical Applications

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ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces


There is growing interest in the development of novel materials and devices capable of ionizing radiation detection for medical applications. Organic semiconductors are promising candidates to meet the demands of modern detectors, such as low manufacturing costs, mechanical flexibility, and a response to radiation equivalent to human tissue. However, organic semiconductors have typically been employed in applications that convert low energy photons into high current densities, for example, solar cells and LEDs, and thus existing design rules must be re-explored for ionizing radiation detection where high energy photons are converted into typically much lower current densities. In this work, we report the optoelectronic and X-ray dosimetric response of a tissue equivalent organic photodetector fabricated with solution-based inks prepared from polymer donor poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) blended with either a non-fullerene acceptor (5Z,5′Z)-5,5′-((7,7′-(4,4,9,9-tetraoctyl-4,9-dihydro-s-indaceno[1,2-b:5,6-b′]dithiophene-2,7-diyl)bis(benzo[c][1,2,5]thiadiazole-7,4-diyl))bis(methanylylidene))bis(3-ethyl-2-thioxothiazolidin-4-one) (o-IDTBR) or a fullerene acceptor, [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM). Indirect detection of X-rays was achieved via coupling of organic photodiodes with a plastic scintillator. Both detectors displayed an excellent response linearity with dose, with sensitivities to 6 MV photons of 263.4 ± 0.6 and 114.2 ± 0.7 pC/cGy recorded for P3HT:PCBM and P3HT:o-IDTBR detectors, respectively. Both detectors also exhibited a fast temporal response, able to resolve individual 3.6 μs pulses from the linear accelerator. Energy dependence measurements highlighted that the photodetectors were highly tissue equivalent, though an under-response in devices compared to water by up to a factor of 2.3 was found for photon energies of 30-200 keV due to the response of the plastic scintillator. The P3HT:o-IDTBR device exhibited a higher stability to radiation, showing just an 18.4% reduction in performance when exposed to radiation doses of up to 10 kGy. The reported devices provide a successful demonstration of stable, printable, flexible, and tissue-equivalent radiation detectors with energy dependence similar to other scintillator-based detectors used in radiotherapy.

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Australian Research Council



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