Posted in | X-Ray Detectors

Dectris MYTHEN Microstrip X-Ray Detectors

MYTHEN X-ray detector systems available from Dectris have redefined data acquisition at synchrotron beamlines and laboratory X-ray sources. The systems feature a microstrip solid-state detector that integrates a segmented one-dimensional silicon sensor with a CMOS-based ASIC readout electronic, linked by advanced high-density wire bonding technology.

The MYTHEN systems offer excellent data quality, rapid data acquisition and simple, maintenance-free operation. Fast data acquisition is achieved by advanced CMOS readout electronics; excellent data quality is facilitated through exclusive features, such a high dynamic range with a counter depth of 24 bits (~16.8 million counts), the absence of dark current and readout noise and a sharp line-spread function.

Simple integration and maintenance-free operation via three different interface options make it easy to use the Dectris MYTHEN detector systems.

Key Features

The key features of MYTHEN detectors are:

Fluorescence Suppression

The sample fluorescence can be effectively suppressed by the adjustable lower energy threshold of the MYTHEN detectors. This powerful feature is mainly used in experiments involving metal samples. In general, the strong fluorescent energy produced by the samples weakens the signal-to-noise-ratio of the data. Upon setting the energy threshold of the MYTHEN detector higher than the fluorescent energy, the strong fluorescent background can be restrained.

Radiation-Tolerant Design

The MYTHEN detectors consist of silicon sensors and CMOS readout chips that are designed using radiation-tolerant layout techniques suitable for high-energy physics. This design ensures minimization of damage due to the incoming X-ray beams. Further, the detector housing protects the CMOS electronics for direct exposure to X-rays. Also, the detector can withstand radiations caused by the prolonged usage of modern synchrotrons. However, there is no mention about the tolerance of direct beam from synchrotron sources.

Electronic Gating and External Trigger

Exposure times in the detector can be set from 100ns to several hours. The external gating signal or the application of an external trigger signal internally can be used to control acquisition. The synchronization of the detector can be easily and precisely carried out using an external trigger or gate input with a programmable delay.

Maintenance-Free Operation

The MYTHEN detectors consist of an electronic gating instead of a mechanical shutter, ensuring simplicity in design. When combined with the high frame rate and noiseless readout, MYTHEN detectors provide maximum flexibility in achieving output at challenging time-resolved experiments.

Multitude of Applications

The MYTHEN X-ray detectors are highly versatile and ensure a wide range of applications, from synchrotron light sources to industrial and laboratory applications including phase analysis, texture and thin film analyses, pair distribution function analysis, small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering, time-resolved experiments, powder diffraction and residual stress analysis.

High Modularity

Apart from its outstanding performance, the MYTHEN detector system has high modularity which is yet another exciting feature. The MYTHEN detector module when combined with a wide range of active areas forms multi-module detector systems. The multi-module detector systems have high angular coverage which makes it suitable for acquiring intermediate states in fast phase transitions and collecting complete powder diffraction patterns from radiation sensitive samples before any damage.

Optimal Signal-to-Noise Ratio

MYTHEN microstrip detectors avoid the generation of readout noise and dark current as they operate in a single photon counting mode at an adjustable energy threshold. As a result, it is possible to achieve data with an excellent signal-to-noise ratio.

Excellent Point-Spread Function

The MYTHEN X-ray detector has a sharp point-spread function that is dominated by the charge diffusion in the MYTHEN sensor. Further, the point-spread function is significantly smaller than the 50 µm channel width, providing optimal data quality. The detector can precisely resolve and measure closely-spaced signals of varying intensities. Sharper signals minimize overlapping with scattering or other background intrinsic to the experiment, which improve signal-to-noise ratio.

High Dynamic Range

The absence of detector noise, very high counter depth of 24 bits and the subsequent unprecedented contrast enable the MYTHEN detectors to further improve data quality. The detectors also allow precise detection of extremely weak and strong signals in a single scan.

Short Read-out Times and High Profile Rates

The readout rates of the MYTHEN detector is up to 700 data acquisitions per second at a readout time of 50µs. At this rate, a user can easily monitor the dynamic processes and minimize measurement time. Further, the fast data acquisition capabilities of MYTHEN detectors enhance the efficiency as well as throughput of any measurement setup.

High Local and Global Count Rate

The fast CMOS amplifiers facilitate accurate detection of photons per second through each channel. The global count rate increases with the increase in number of channels thereby enabling the counting of billions of photons per second on a detector module.


The applications of MYTHEN detectors are:

Laboratory and Industry

The integration of mono-modular MYTHEN detectors into a wide range of X-ray diffractometers and cameras results in high-throughput measurements, small angle scattering, structure determination, PDF calculations and residual stress analysis. The MYTHEN 1K detector when used in laboratory experiments, reduces measurement time. Similarly, the detector can produce excellent data in a matter of seconds during residual stress analysis.


The use of multi-modular MYTHEN detectors has been extended to various fields of research. For instance, Budrovic and co-workers made use of high angular coverage, high spatial resolution and speed of the detector to investigate plastic deformations in nanocrystalline nickel. High-quality data obtained from the detector can be used to investigate ab initio crystal structure and describe fine structural details, such disorder in organic molecules and content of the pores in micro/macroporous materials.

MYTHEN detectors are also used in total-scattering studies of different samples including intermetallics, inorganic nanoparticles and organic compounds. Margiolaki and co-workers presented the MYTHEN 24K at SLS as a promising tool for macromolecular crystallographic studies. They can also be used to facilitate texture determination.

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