24 August 2015 Silicon photomultipliers for next generation high-energy space telescopes
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Photon detection is a central element of any high-energy astronomy instrumentation. One classical setup that has proven successful in many missions is the combination of photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) with scintillators, converting incoming high-energy photons into visible light, which in turn is converted in an electrical impulse. Although being extremely sensitive and rapid, PMTs have the drawback of being bulky, fragile, and are requiring a high-voltage power supply of up to several thousand volts. Recent technological advances in the development of silicon photomultipliers (SiPM) make them a promising alternative to PMTs in essentially all their applications. We have started an R and D program to assess the possibility of using SiPMs for space-based applications in the domain of high-energy astronomy. We have setup a test bench using a vacuum vessel to reproduce a space-representative environment in our lab. We will present our test bench as well as first results of a characterization campaign of SiPM detectors from 3 different suppliers. We have planned to select after the characterization campaign one baseline detector for which we will design a dedicated front-end electronics and mechanical system. Furthermore, we plan to develop a specific low noise voltage power supply that ensures the stability of the SiPMs. Our ultimate goal is to qualify the system for a Technical Readiness Level of 5.
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K. Lacombe, K. Lacombe, J. Knödlseder, J. Knödlseder, S. Delaigue, S. Delaigue, M. Galliano, M. Galliano, B. Houret, B. Houret, P. Ramon, P. Ramon, G. Rouaix, G. Rouaix, C. Virmontois, C. Virmontois, } "Silicon photomultipliers for next generation high-energy space telescopes", Proc. SPIE 9601, UV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XIX, 96010Y (24 August 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2187378; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2187378

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