The Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI) is a compact Compton telescope which is inherently sensitive to gamma-ray polarization in the energy range of 0.2-2.0 MeV. A long duration gamma-ray burst, GRB 160530A, was detected by COSI during its 2016 COSI’s balloon flight. The polarization of GRB 160530A was constrained based on the distribution of azimuthal scattering angles from each incident photon inside COSI’s germanium detector array.1 In order to determine COSI’s polarization response and to identify systematic deviations from an ideal sinusoidal modulation, the polarization performance of COSI was validated in the laboratory prior to the 2016. A partially polarized beam was created by scattered emission from a radioactive source off a scintillator. In addition, measurements and simulations of unpolarized radioactive sources were compared to validate our capability of capturing the instrument systematics in the simulations. No statistically significant differences exist between the measured and simulated modulations and polarization angle, where the upper bound on the systematic error is 3%-4%.2 In this talk, I will present the measurements used to validate COSI’s polarimetric performance. Furthermore, I will use these results to estimate the minimum detectable polarization levels for current and future COSI missions.
The Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI) is a medium energy gamma ray (0.2 - 10 MeV) imager designed to observe high-energy processes in the universe from a high altitude balloon platform. At its core, COSI is comprised of twelve high purity germanium double sided strip detectors which measure particle interaction energies and locations with high precision. This manuscript focuses on the positional calibrations of the COSI detectors. The interaction depth in a detector is inferred from the charge collection time difference between the two sides of the detector. We outline our previous approach to this depth calibration and also describe a new approach we have recently developed. Two dimensional localization of interactions along the faces of the detector (x and y) is straightforward, as the location of the triggering strips is simply used. However, we describe a possible technique to improve the x/y position resolution beyond the detector strip pitch of 2 mm. With the current positional calibrations, COSI achieves an angular resolution of 5.6 ± 0.1 degrees at 662 keV, close to our expectations from simulations.
The Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI) is a balloon-borne soft gamma-ray (0.2-5 MeV) telescope designed to perform wide-field imaging, high-resolution spectroscopy, and novel polarization measurements of astrophysical sources. COSI employs a compact Compton telescope design, utilizing 12 cross-strip germanium detectors to track the path of incident photons, where position and energy deposits from Compton interactions allow for a reconstruction of the source position in the sky, an inherent measure of the linear polarization, and significant background reduction. The instrument has recently been rebuilt with an updated and optimized design; the polarization sensitivity and effective area have increased due to a change in detector configuration, and the new lightweight gondola is suited to fly on ultra-long duration flights with the addition of a mechanical cryocooler system. COSI is planning to launch from the Long Duration Balloon site at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, in December 2014, where our primary science goal will be to measure gamma-ray burst (GRB) polarization. In preparation for the 2014 campaign, we have performed preliminary calibrations of the energy and 3-D position of interactions within the detector, and simulations of the angular resolution and detector efficiency of the integrated instrument. In this paper we will present the science goals for the 2014 COSI campaign and the techniques and results of the preliminary calibrations.