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Radiation Tolerant Temperature-Invariant Scintillation Modules, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Radiation detectors are an invaluable tool for space applications that span planetary science, astrophysics, heliophysics, space weather, and dosimetry for human exploration, to name a few. A common technology used for radiation detection is scintillators, where the scintillation material generates a light flash with an intensity that is proportional to the energy deposited from the incident radiation. For exploration missions to hostile environments, such as those around Jupiter, Venus or Mercury, the dose to the scintillation material can become high, rendering them useless in a short time frame. A common practice to mitigate these effects is to anneal the scintillation materials, yet for the most advanced materials (hermetically packaged) that have unique properties that can be exploited (such as particle species discrimination based on the transient light response), there is no practical method or process to anneal them. For various experiments, the largest scintillation crystal possible may be ideal, yet when attempting to build an instrument inside a small spacecraft, such as a 3-6U cubesat, SiPMs are the only option to optically readout the crystal. Unless the energy spectrum can be compromised, a large crystal will require a large SiPM array, and to obtain the best performance from the detector, the array would need to be cooled. In both of these cases, the temperature of the scintillator and SiPM are modified for a specific purpose. The overall goal of this project is to develop a scintillator detector module for gamma ray and neutron detection that will provide mitigation strategies for reducing radiation and temperature effects. More »

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