30 September 2016 Silicon photomultipliers detectors 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 require 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 a RD program to assess the possibility of using SiPMs for space-based applications in the domain of high-energy astronomy. We will present results of our characterization studies of SiPMs from 3 manufacturers. Each SiPM detector has been tested inside a dedicated vacuum chamber and at low temperature to assess its performance in a representative space environment. Irradiation tests are scheduled to understand the susceptibility of SiPM to radiation damage. After comparison, we will select a baseline detector and design a specific front-end electronics and mechanical system. Furthermore, we plan to develop a low noise voltage power supply that ensures the stability of the SiPMs and to study their coupling to scintillators. Finally, our ultimate goal is to qualify the system for a space Technical Readiness Level of 5.
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K. Lacombe, K. Lacombe, J. Knödlseder, J. Knödlseder, S. Delaigue, S. Delaigue, T. Gimenez, T. Gimenez, B. Houret, B. Houret, V. Mourey, V. Mourey, P. Ramon, P. Ramon, C. Virmontois, C. Virmontois, "Silicon photomultipliers detectors for next generation high-energy space telescopes", Proc. SPIE 9968, Hard X-Ray, Gamma-Ray, and Neutron Detector Physics XVIII, 99681F (30 September 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2238113; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2238113

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