IEEE 2021 NSS MIC

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Astrophysics

Session chair: Ayllon Unzueta , Mauricio; Herrmann , Sven (Brookhaven National Lab, Upton, USA)
 
Shortcut: N-26
Date: Thursday, 21 October, 2021, 9:15 AM - 11:15 AM
Room: NSS - 3
Session type: NSS Session

Contents

Click on an contribution to preview the abstract content.

9:15 AM N-26-01

Science and mission status of EUSO-SPB2 (#484)

V. Scotti2, 1

1 Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Dipartimento di Fisica "E. Pancini", Naples, Italy
2 INFN - Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Napoli, Napoli, Italy

On behalf of JEM-EUSO Collaboration

Abstract

The Extreme Universe Space Observatory on a Super Pressure Balloon II (EUSO-SPB2) is a second-generation stratospheric balloon instrument designed to be a precursor mission for a future space observatory for multi-messenger astrophysics, like the proposed Probe Of Extreme Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (POEMMA). EUSO-SPB2 will study Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECRs) via the fluorescence technique and Ultra High Energy (UHE) neutrinos via Cherenkov emission.

EUSO-SPB2 will host onboard two Schmidt telescopes, each optimized for their respective observational goals. The Fluorescence Telescope will look downwards onto the atmosphere to study the UV fluorescence emission from UHECRs. The Cherenkov Telescope is designed to detect fast signals (∼10ns) and points near the Earth's limb. This allows for the measurement of Cherenkov light from Extensive Air Showers caused by Earth skimming UHE neutrinos if pointed slightly below the limb or from UHECRs if observing slightly above.

The planned launch date of EUSO-SPB2 is 2023 from Wanaka, NZ with a flight duration target of 100 days. Such a long duration flight will provide hundreds of UHECR Cherenkov signals in addition to tens of UHECR fluorescence tracks, and will improve the understanding of potential background signals for both detection techniques.

This contribution will provide a short overview of each telescope and the status of the mission as well as its scientific motivation.

Keywords: cosmic rays, balloon experiment, astroparticle physics
9:30 AM N-26-02

Neutron Radiation Detection Instrument (NeRDI) (#504)

A. L. Hutcheson1, B. F. Phlips1, W. N. Johnson2, L. J. Mitchell1, R. S. Perea3, J. M. Wolf1, M. V. Johnson-Rambert1, J. M. Davis1, T. T. Finne1

1 U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., United States of America
2 Praxis, Inc., Arlington, Virginia, United States of America
3 National Research Council Research Associate at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., United States of America

Abstract

The Neutron Radiation Detection Instrument (NeRDI) is a neutron sensor developed for integration onto the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Department of Defense Space Test Program (STP) mission STP-H9. The instrument uses the new scintillator Tl2LiYCl6:Ce (TLYC) as well as an array of three Domino microstructured semiconductor neutron detectors (MSNDs) with varying levels of moderation and a thin sliver of EJ-276 plastic scintillator. The primary objective of NeRDI is to space qualify TLYC and MSND detectors by studying the effects of on-orbit radiation background on the performance of these detectors over a period of a year. To the best of our knowledge, neither TLYC nor MSND detectors have been instrumented on orbit prior to NeRDI. These data will provide valuable input for determining the viability of these detectors for future space-based missions. The expected launch opportunity for STP-H9 is around January 2023.

Acknowledgment

This work was sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) as part of 6.1 funding.

Keywords: neutrons, radiation detectors, scintillation detectors, semiconductor radiation detectors, space radiation
9:45 AM N-26-03

Effect of Proton Irradiation on State-of-the-Art Organic and Dense Scintillators (#589)

E. B. Johnson1, R. Blakeley1, J. Tower1, E. van Loef1

1 Radiation Monitoring Devices, Watertown, Massachusetts, United States of America

Abstract

Nuclear techniques have been used successfully in many of the previous planetary missions as a remote sensing method from orbit to investigate the water (or hydrogen) content in the shallow subsurface and/or to determine the surface composition of planetary bodies.  One tool that has been used for these applications is scintillation detectors to measure either neutrons or gamma rays, while pulse shape discrimination techniques have been developed to use a single scintillator to measure both.  The next generation of materials for gamma ray spectroscopy being developed include thallium-based crystals or ceramics to increase density and effective Z, while boron-loaded organic glass provides a new medium for neutron detection.  For future planetary missions that anticipate high radiation doses, these materials must survive and provide consistent light yields over a broad dose range to protons.  Thallium cerium chloride, gadolinium aluminum gallium garnet, and boron loaded organic glass show strong tolerance to 200 MeV proton doses up to 300 kRad.

AcknowledgmentThe effort was supported by a NASA SBIR Grant (80NSSC20C0454).  We are thankful for the support from Dr. Thomas Prettyman (PSI), Dr. Craig Hardgrove (ASU), and Ethan Cascio at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Keywords: Planetary Science, Scintillator, Proton, Damage, Radiation Tolerance
10:00 AM N-26-04

Development of Dual-Gain SiPMs to Mitigate Non-Linearity (#982)

D. Shy1, R. Woolf2, J. E. Grove2, B. Phlips2, A. Hutcheson2, L. Mitchell2, E. Wulf2

1 NRC Research Associate, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, United States of America
2 Naval Research Laboratory, Space Science Division, Washington, DC, United States of America

Abstract

Astronomical observations with gamma rays in the range of several hundred keV to hundreds of MeV represent the least explored energy ranges relative to their X-ray and optical counterparts. To address this so-called MeV gap, we designed and built a prototype CsI:Tl calorimeter instrument - one of three subsystems for the AMEGO prototype instrument. The prototype instrument consists of CsI:Tl logs (17X17X100 mm), four layers deep, six logs per layer, arranged in a hodoscopic pattern. The end of each log is read out by large-area silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) arrays. In the development, we observed significant non-linearities in the energy response which will degrade the energy and position resolution. Additionally, the calorimeter will need to cover a wide dynamic energy range, spanning 4 orders of magnitude. In this work, we investigate the SiPMs response with regards to active area (9 mm2 and 1 mm2) and various microcells sizes (10 μm and 35 μm). This is performed with the goal of developing custom dual-gain SiPM array to increase the dynamic range to 30 keV - 300 MeV.

AcknowledgmentSpecial thanks to Mary Johnson-Rambert and NREIP interns Cannon Coats and Marianne Peterson that were instrumental in the data collection. This work was sponsored by NASA-APRA (NNH18ZDA001N-APRA).
Keywords: silicon photomultiplier, SiPM, MeV Gamma rays, MeV Astronomy, Calorimeter
10:15 AM N-26-05

Design and Expected Performance of the Mini Astrophysical MeV Background Observatory (MAMBO) CubeSat Mission (#1025)

P. F. Bloser1, W. T. Vestrand1, M. P. Hehlen1, L. C. Parker1, D. T. Beckman1, J. M. McGlown1, K. K. Katko1, J. D. Sedillo1, L. Holguin1

1 Los Alamos National Laboratory, ISR, Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States of America

Abstract

We present the design and expected performance of the Mini Astrophysical MeV Background Observatory (MAMBO), a CubeSat mission for gamma-ray astronomy under development at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The goal of MAMBO is to make a high-quality measurement of the spectrum and angular distribution of the cosmic diffuse gamma-ray (CDG) background in the 0.3 – 10 MeV energy range. The origin of the CDG in the MeV range is a mystery that has persisted for over 40 years. MAMBO takes advantage of the fact that the sensitivity of space-based gamma-ray instruments to the CDG is limited not by size, but by the locally generated instrumental background produced by interactions of energetic particles in spacecraft materials. Comparatively tiny CubeSat platforms provide a uniquely quiet environment relative to previous gamma-ray science missions. To further increase sensitivity, MAMBO utilizes an innovative shielded spectrometer, composed of identical bismuth germanate (BGO) scintillators read out by arrays of silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs), that simultaneously measures signal and background. We present the detailed MAMBO payload and satellite design, including laboratory results from prototypes of the custom SiPM arrays and on-board calibration system, and Monte Carlo simulations of the predicted instrument response and in-flight background. MAMBO will make the most sensitive measurements ever of the MeV CDG, enabling quantitative comparisons to theoretical models of nuclear and accretion processes over the history of the Universe.

Acknowledgment

This work was supported by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Keywords: Gamma rays, Gamma-ray detectors, Gamma-ray Astronomy, Scintillators, Silicon Photomultipliers
10:30 AM N-26-06

Detector and Preliminary In-orbit Results of the GRID: a Student CubeSat Mission for Gamma-Ray Burst Observation (#1349)

J. Wen1, 3, M. Zeng1, X. Zheng1, H. Gao1, D. Yang1, Y. Liu1, D. Xu1, Y. Zhang5, J. Cang2, 1, H. Feng2, 1, Y. Tian1, Z. Zeng1, B. Zhang4, Z. Zhao3

1 Tsinghua University, Department of Engineering Physics, Beijing, China
2 Tsinghua University, Department of Astronomy, Beijing, China
3 China Academy of Engineering Physics, Laser Fusion Research Center, Mianyang, China
4 Nanjing University, Key Laboratory of Modern Astronomy and Astrophysics, Nanjing, China
5 Tsinghua University, Department of Physics, Beijing, China

On behalf of GRID Collaboration

Abstract

Gamma-Ray Integrated Detectors (GRID) is a student project designed to use multiple gamma-ray detectors carried by nanosatellites (CubeSat), forming a full-time and all-sky gamma-ray detection network to monitor the transient gamma-ray sky in the multi-messenger astronomy era. A compact CubeSat gamma-ray detector has been designed and implemented for GRID, including its hardware and firmware, with considerable contribution from undergraduate students. The detector employs four Gd2Al2Ga3O12:Ce(GAGG:Ce) scintillators coupled with four silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) arrays to achieve a high detection efficiency of gamma rays between 10 keV and 2 MeV with low power and small dimensions. On 29 October 2018 and 6 November 2021, the GRID-01 and GRID-02 detectors onboard commercial CubeSat were launched into a Sun-synchronous orbit. Especially, the GRID-02 detector has been in a normal observation state and accumulated data for months after on-orbit functional and performance tests. Currently, the first dozen of GRB events have been successfully observed, including the GRB210121A, and the detector design, as well as the in-orbit results, are given in this presentation.

AcknowledgmentM.Zeng acknowledges funding support from the Tsinghua University Initiative Scientific Research Program. H.Feng acknowledges funding support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11633003, 12025301&11821303), and the National Key R&D Program of China (Grant Nos. 2018YFA0404502 and 2016YFA040080X).
Keywords: gamma-ray bursts, scintillation detectors, SiPM, CubeSat
10:45 AM N-26-07

Development of the Solar Neutron TRACking (SONTRAC) Spectrometer (#536)

J. G. Mitchell1, 2, G. A. de Nolfo2, A. Bruno3, 2, J. DuMonthier2, J. Legere4, I. Liceaga-Indart2, J. Link5, 2, R. Messner4, J. Ryan4, G. Suarez2, T. Tatoli3, 2

1 The George Washington University, Department of Physics, D.C., Washington, United States of America
2 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Heliophysics Division, Greenbelt, Maryland, United States of America
3 Catholic University, D.C., Washington, United States of America
4 University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, United States of America
5 University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America

Abstract

Solar neutrons are produced as secondary radiation by charged particles trapped along closed coronal field lines accelerated in solar flares.  For this reason, solar neutrons, along with gamma-rays, may act as probes to study flare-accelerated particles that are otherwise inaccessible.  Neutrons are challenging to detect due to high ambient backgrounds and the short lifetime of unstable free neutrons.  Neutrons are traditionally measured using time-of-flight techniques requiring two separate detectors spaced relatively far apart.  Thus, measurements of fast (>0.5 MeV) neutrons require large instruments that are challenging to fly on current spacecraft.  The Solar Neutron TRACking (SONTRAC) instrument is a compact imaging neutron spectrometer composed of orthogonal planes of scintillating optical fibers read out by miniature silicon photomultipliers (SiPM).  Ionization tracks of recoil protons produced by interactions with neutrons within SONTRAC allow reconstruction of the energy and direction of incident neutrons between 20 and 200 MeV.  In this work, we outline the SONTRAC instrument concept as well as recent progress including the development of a next-generation fiber-bundle without an epoxy binder, examination of new high-performance application-specific-integrated-circuits for SiPM signal readout, and development of new readout and reconstruction techniques.

AcknowledgmentWe acknowledge internal research and development funding at Goddard as well as a NASA/H-tids FY18-23 grants in support on SONTRAC.
Keywords: Neutron spectrometers, Silicon Photomultipliers, Scintillating Fibers
11:00 AM N-26-08

Spectroscopic performance and radiation tolerance of X-ray CMOS detector for micro-satellite instrument (#1210)

H. Nakajima1, S. Nakamura1, H. Kouno1, A. Kiuchi1, T. Yamagami1, J. S. Hiraga2, D. Yuhi2, Y. Ezoe3, K. Ishikawa3

1 Kanto Gakuin University, Science and Engineering, Yokohama, Japan
2 Kwansei Gakuin University, Physics, Sanda, Japan
3 Tokyo Metropolitan University, Physics, Hachioji, Japan

Abstract

We report the development status of the X-ray CMOS camera onboard micro-satellites. Our primary mission is GEO-X that aims to image Earth's magnetosphere using charge exchange (CX) X-ray emission. The satellite will be put into an orbit that passes the vicinity of the Moon and observe the emission from distant places for the first time. To fulfill the goals, the requirement for the detector is the spectroscopic performance that resolve CX lines as well as the radiation tolerance. The CX spectra might be contaminated by visible light from the dayside earth. Therefore decreasing the background using optical blocking filter and shortening the exposure time is another requirement. Then we have adopted CMOS chips as a primary candidate of the focal plane sensors. Pixel size of 11um is adequate considering the size of charge cloud after X-ray detection. Exposure time can be shortened to at least 10msec that is advantage to decrease visible light background. We evaluate multiple sensors using several radio isotopes and monochromatic X-rays. It is found that all the candidates successfully detect X-rays. Signal charges spreads to multiple pixels for considerable fraction of the X-ray events. We found that the sensor with relatively thick wafer exhibits significant discrepancy of the pulse heights between single pixel events and multiple pixel events, which leads to complex line distribution function. In contrast, sensors with thin wafers does not show any charge loss. We also investigate the radiation tolerance of the sensors, especially in terms of total ionizing dose with 100MeV proton beam. The anomalous pixels appear even below 2krad. However, by eliminating the pixels we obtain energy resolution of 207+-8 eV (FWHM) even after the irradiation of 20krad in total, which ensures us spectroscopy in the orbit throughout the mission lifetime.

Keywords: X-ray astronomy, CMOS, micro-satellite

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