Monte Carlo simulation for the electron cascade due to gamma rays in semiconductor radiation detectors

Raman D. Narayan, Ryan Miranda, Peter Rez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A Monte Carlo code was developed for simulating the electron cascade in radiation detector materials. The electron differential scattering cross sections were derived from measured electron energy-loss and optical spectra, making the method applicable for a wide range of materials. The detector resolution in a simplified model system shows dependence on the bandgap, the plasmon strength and energy, and the valence band width. In principle, these parameters could be optimized to improve detector performance. The intrinsic energy resolution was calculated for three semiconductors: silicon (Si), gallium arsenide (GaAs), and zinc telluride (ZnTe). Setting the ionization thresholds for electrons and holes is identified as a critical issue, as this strongly affects both the average electron-hole pair energy w and the Fano factor F. Using an ionization threshold from impact ionization calculations as an effective bandgap yields pair energies that are well matched to measured values. Fano factors of 0.091 (Si), 0.100 (GaAs), and 0.075 (ZnTe) were calculated. The Fano factor calculated for silicon using this model was lower than some results from past simulations and experiments. This difference could be attributed to problems in simulating inter-band transitions and the scattering of low-energy electrons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064910
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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