3 March 2003 A new transition radiation detector to detect heavy nuclei around the knee
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The overall cosmic ray intensity spectrum falls as a constant power law over at least 11 decades of particle energy. One of the only features in this spectrum is the slight change in power law index near 1015 eV, often called the knee of the spectrum. Accurate measurements of cosmic ray elemental abundances into this energy region are expected to reveal the origin of this feature, and possibly the nature of cosmic ray sources. The extremely low intensity of particles at these energies (a few per m2 per year) makes the detection challenging. Since only direct measurements have so far proved reliable for the accurate determination of elemental composition, a large-area, light weight, device is needed to achieve long exposures above the atmosphere either on high altitude balloons or spacecraft. Here we report on a detector which uses the x-ray transition radiation yield from plastic foams to provide a response into the knee region for heavy elements. We use individual xenon-filled gas proportional tubes as detectors, combined with Amplex ASIC chip electronics for readout. The construction of this type of detector, and its implementation in the upcoming NASA CREAM 100 day high-altitude balloon payload is described. Also discussed is the calibration of the detector in an accelerator beam at CERN and a comparison with GEANT4 Monet Carlo simulations.
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Patrick J. Boyle, Patrick J. Boyle, Simon P. Swordy, Simon P. Swordy, Scott P. Wakely, Scott P. Wakely, "A new transition radiation detector to detect heavy nuclei around the knee", Proc. SPIE 4858, Particle Astrophysics Instrumentation, (3 March 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.458554; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.458554

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