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New techniques for imaging photon-counting and particle detectors

Lapington, Jonathan Stephen; (2004) New techniques for imaging photon-counting and particle detectors. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Since the advent of space-based astronomy in the early 1960's, there has been a need for space-qualified detectors with sufficient sensitivity and resolution to detect and image single photons, ions or electrons. This thesis describes a research programme to develop detectors that fulfil these requirements. I begin by describing the role of detectors in space astronomy and follow with a review of detector technologies, with particular emphasis on imaging techniques. Conductive charge division image readouts offer high performance, simplicity, and flexibility and their potential is investigated in both theory and practice. I introduce the basic design concept and discuss the fundamental factors limiting performance in relation to physical design and to underlying physical processes. Readout manufacturing techniques are reviewed and a novel method presented. I describe specific space and ground-based readout applications which proved valuable in teaching lessons and raising questions. These questions initiated an experimental programme, whose goals were to understand limiting physical processes and find techniques to overcome them. Results are presented, and the innovation of the progressive geometry readout technique, which this programme also spawned, is described. Progressive geometry readout devices, such as the Vernier anode, offer dramatically improved performance and have been successfully flight-proven. I describe the development of a Vernier readout for the J-PEX sounding rocket experiment, and discuss the instrument calibration and the flight programme. First investigations into a next generation of charge division readout design are presented. These devices will use charge comparison instead of amplitude measurement to further enhance resolution and count rate capability. In conclusion, I summarize the advances made during the course of this research, and discuss ongoing technological developments and further work which will enable MCP detectors to continue to excel where characteristics such as true photon-counting ability, high spatial resolution, format flexibility, and high temporal resolution are required.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: New techniques for imaging photon-counting and particle detectors
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Pure sciences; Space-based detectors
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098095
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