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This work proposes a large-area detector for protein crystallography based on an amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) thin film transistor (TFT) pixel-array backplane and an overlying amorphous selenium (a-Se) photoconductor for direct conversion of incident X-rays into an image charge. To achieve high sensitivity, avalanche multiplication in a-Se is adopted to make the detector sensitive to each incident X-ray. The use of a-Si:H technology enables large-area imaging of protein diffraction patterns at less expense compared to existing charge coupled device (CCD) and imaging plate (IP) detectors. In addition, a theoretical analysis shows that the detector exhibits fast readout speed (readout time <1 s), high dynamic range (~106), high sensitivity (~1 X-ray photon), and high detective quantum efficiency (~0.7), thus validating its suitability for protein crystallography.