10 October 2012 FAMOUS: a prototype silicon-photomultiplier telescope for the fluorescence detection of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays
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Abstract
A sophisticated technique to study ultra-high-energy cosmic rays is to measure the extensive air showers they cause in the atmosphere. Upon impact on the atmosphere, the cosmic rays generate a cascade of secondary particles, forming the air shower. The shower particles excite the atmospheric nitrogen molecules, which emit fluorescence light in the near ultraviolet regime when de-exciting. Observation of the fluorescence light with suitable optical telescopes allows a reconstruction of the energy and arrival direction of the initial particle. Due to their high photon detection efficiency, silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) promise to improve current photomultipliertube- based fluorescence telescopes. We present the design and a full detector simulation of an SiPM-based fluorescence telescope prototype, together with the expected telescope performance, and our first construction steps. The simulation includes the air showers, the propagation of the fluorescence light through the atmosphere and its detection by our refracting telescope. We have also developed a phenomenological SiPM model based on measurements in our laboratories, simulating the electrical response. This model contains the photon detection efficiency, its dependence on the incidence angle of light and the effects of thermal and correlated noise. We have made a full performance analysis for the detection of air showers including the environmental background light. Moreover, we will present the RandD in compact modular electronics using photon counting techniques for the telescope readout.
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Markus Lauscher, Pedro Assis, Pedro Brogueira, Miguel Ferreira, Thomas Hebbeker, Luís Mendes, Christine Meurer, Lukas Middendorf, Tim Niggemann, Mário Pimenta, Johannes Schumacher, Maurice Stephan, "FAMOUS: a prototype silicon-photomultiplier telescope for the fluorescence detection of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays", Proc. SPIE 8460, Biosensing and Nanomedicine V, 84601N (10 October 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.929229; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.929229
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