From Event: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications, 2016
Gamma rays produced passively by cosmic ray interactions and by the decay of radioelements convey information about the elemental makeup of planetary surfaces and atmospheres. Orbital missions mapped the composition of the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Vesta, and now Ceres. Active neutron interrogation will enable and/or enhance in situ measurements (rovers, landers, and sondes). Elemental measurements support planetary science objectives as well as resource utilization and planetary defense initiatives. Strontium iodide, an ultra-bright scintillator with low nonproportionality, offers significantly better energy resolution than most previously flown scintillators, enabling improved accuracy for identification and quantification of key elements. Lanthanum bromide achieves similar resolution; however, radiolanthanum emissions obscure planetary gamma rays from radioelements K, Th, and U. The response of silicon-based optical sensors optimally overlaps the emission spectrum of strontium iodide, enabling the development of compact, low-power sensors required for space applications, including burgeoning microsatellite programs. While crystals of the size needed for planetary measurements (>100 cm3) are on the way, pulse-shape corrections to account for variations in absorption/re-emission of light are needed to achieve maximum resolution. Additional challenges for implementation of large-volume detectors include optimization of light collection using silicon-based sensors and assessment of radiation damage effects and energetic-particle induced backgrounds. Using laboratory experiments, archived planetary data, and modeling, we evaluate the performance of strontium iodide for future missions to small bodies (asteroids and comets) and surfaces of the Moon and Venus. We report progress on instrument design and preliminary assessment of radiation damage effects in comparison to technology with flight heritage.
Thomas H. Prettyman, Emmanuel Rowe, Jarrhett Butler, Michael Groza, Arnold Burger, Naoyuki Yamashita, James L. Lambert, Keivan G. Stassun, Patrick R. Beck, Nerine J. Cherepy, Stephen A. Payne, Julie C. Castillo-Rogez, Sabrina M. Feldman, and Carol A. Raymond, "Strontium iodide gamma ray spectrometers for planetary science
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9968, Hard X-Ray, Gamma-Ray, and Neutron Detector Physics XVIII, 99680H (Presented at SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications: August 29, 2016; Published: 2 November 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2237919.5178382283001.
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