16 September 2011 Future use of silicon photomultipliers for the fluorescence detection of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays
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Abstract
A sophisticated technique to measure extensive air showers initiated by ultra-high-energy cosmic rays is by means of fluorescence telescopes. Secondary particles of the air shower excite nitrogen molecules of the atmosphere, which emit fluorescence light when they de-excite. Due to their high photon detection efficiency (PDE) silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) promise to increase the sensitivity of todays fluorescence telescopes which use photomultiplier tubes - for example the fluorescence detector of the Pierre Auger Observatory. On the other hand drawbacks like a small sensitive area, a strong temperature dependency and a high noise rate have to be managed. We present plans for a prototype fluorescence telescope using SiPMs and a special light collecting optical system of Winston cones to increase the sensitive area. In this context we made measurements of the relative PDE of SiPMs depending on the incident angle of light. The results agree with calculations based on the Fresnel equations. Furthermore, measurements of the brightness of the night sky are presented since this photon flux is the main background to the fluorescence signals of the extensive air showers. To compensate the temperature dependency of the SiPM, frontend electronics make use of temperature sensors and microcontrollers to directly adjust the bias-voltage according to the thermal conditions. To reduce the noise rate we study the coincidence of several SiPMs signals triggered by cosmic ray events. By summing up these signals the SiPMs will constitute a single pixel of the fluorescence telescope.
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Maurice Stephan, Maurice Stephan, Thomas Hebbeker, Thomas Hebbeker, Markus Lauscher, Markus Lauscher, Christine Meurer, Christine Meurer, Tim Niggemann, Tim Niggemann, Johannes Schumacher, Johannes Schumacher, } "Future use of silicon photomultipliers for the fluorescence detection of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays", Proc. SPIE 8155, Infrared Sensors, Devices, and Applications; and Single Photon Imaging II, 81551B (16 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.893089; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.893089
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