18 July 2016 The development of a low energy Compton imager for GRB polarization studies
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Theoretical models show that a more complete understanding of the inner structure of -ray bursts (GRBs), including the geometry and physical processes close to the central engine, requires the exploitation of -ray polarimetry. Over the past several years, we have developed the Gamma Ray Polarization Experiment (GRAPE) to measure the polarization of -rays from GRBs over the energy range of 50 to 500 keV. GRAPE is a large FoV instrument with a sensitive energy range covering the peak energy distribution of GRBs. The design is based on an array of independent modules, each of which consists of an array of (high-Z and low-Z) scintillator elements read out by a multi-anode PMT (MAPMT). Our eventual goal is to y GRAPE on a long duration balloon (LDB) platform to collect data on a significant sample of GRBs. Our experience with two balloon flights (in 2011 and 2014), coupled with further design efforts focused on orbital payloads, has led to an improved polarimeter concept that represents a natural evolution of the current design. The new concept employs a large number of optically-isolated scintillator elements, each of which is designed to provide a depth-of-interaction (DOI) using two (or perhaps more) readout sensors. The resulting three-dimensional location data provides a moderate level of Compton imaging capability (1 angular resolution of ~ 10 - 15°. Even this level of imaging can be used to significantly reduce the instrumental background by limiting the impact of the cosmic diffuse flux, dramatically improving the polarization sensitivity. Here we shall describe this concept and the expected performance for GRB polarization measurements.
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Mark L. McConnell, Mark L. McConnell, Peter F. Bloser, Peter F. Bloser, Jason S. Legere, Jason S. Legere, James M. Ryan, James M. Ryan, "The development of a low energy Compton imager for GRB polarization studies", Proc. SPIE 9905, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2016: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray, 99052O (18 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2232528; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2232528

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