The use of cadmium telluride (CdTe) semiconductor nuclear detectors is continuing to expand into new areas because of their unique properties which include room temperature operation and high detection efficiency. In addition, they remain the material of choice in many critical applications such as nuclear medicine and power plant monitoring because of their reputation for reliability and long term stability1. CdTe is by far the most developed of the compound semiconductors used in nuclear detector applications and it offers a number of significant benefits to researchers, clinicians and engineers who have special requirements relating to size, sensitivity and operating temperature.
Recently, there have been improvements in the growth of the crystalline material and in the fabrication procedures which have resulted in better performance and in the ability to produce arrays. This article describes the physical and electronic properties of CdTe nuclear detectors, discusses how the crystal growth and device fabrication procedures can affect these properties, and compares the performance to CdZnTe detectors.