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25 January 2002 Balloon flight background measurement with actively-shielded planar and imaging CZT detectors
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We present results from the flight of two prototype CZT detectors on a scientific balloon payload in September 2000. The first detector, referred to as CZT1, consisted of a 10 mm x 10 mm x 2 mm CZT crystal with a single gold planar electrode readout. This detector was shielded by a combination of a passive collimator in the front, giving a 40 degree field of view and surrounded by plastic scintillator, and a thick BGO crystal in the rear. The second detector, CZT2, comprised two 10 mm x 10 mm x 5 mm CZT crystals, one made of eV Products high pressure Bridgman material and the other of IMARAD horizontal Bridgman material, each fashioned with a 4 x 4 array of gold pixels on a 2.5 mm pitch. The pixellated detectors were flip-chip-mounted side by side and read out by a 32-channel ASIC. This detector was also shielded by a passive/plastic collimator in the front, but used only additional passive/plastic shielding in the rear. Both experiments were flown from Ft. Sumner, NM on September 19, 2000 on a 24 hour balloon flight. Both instruments performed well. CZT1 recorded a non-vetoed background level at 100 keV of approximately 1 x 10-3 cm-2s-1keV-1. Raising the BGO threshold from 50 keV to approximately 1 MeV produced only an 18% increase in this level. CZT2 recorded a background at 100 keV of approximately 4 times 10-3 cts cm-2s-1keV-1 in the eV Products detector and approximately 6 x 10-3 cts cm-2s-1keV-1 in the IMARAD detector, a difference possibly due to our internal background subtracting procedure. Both CZT1 and CZT2 spectra were in basic agreement with Monte Carlo simulations, though both recorded systematically higher count rates at high energy than predicted. No lines were observed, indicating that neutron capture reactions, at least those producing decay lines at a few 100 keV, are not significant components of the CZT background. Comparison of the CZT1 and CZT2 spectra indicates that passive/plastic shielding may provide adequately low background levels for many applications.
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Peter Forbes Bloser, Tomohiko Narita, Jonathan A. Jenkins, Marshall Perrin, Ruth Murray, and Jonathan E. Grindlay "Balloon flight background measurement with actively-shielded planar and imaging CZT detectors", Proc. SPIE 4497, X-Ray and Gamma-Ray Instrumentation for Astronomy XII, (25 January 2002);

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