Novel Silica Aerogel Panels as Radiators for Cherenkov Detectors
Small Business Information
Aspen Aerogels, Inc.
30 Forbes Road, Northborough, MA, 01532
Abstract75351S Aerogels, with their low refractive index and reasonably high light transmission, would be highly desirable Cherenkov detectors in high-energy particle detection. Unfortunately, when aerogels are used as Cherenkov radiators, there are some disadvantages: medium to low light transmission in the UV-visible region, low moisture resistance, difficulty in fabricating large size panels, and extreme fragility. This project will establish the chemistry of transparent aerogels and develop process parameters for producing thick aerogel panels. This would eliminate the need for stacking tiles within the array of Cherenkov detectors, significantly decreasing the number of tiles and interfaces and thereby improving the accuracy of particle separation and detection. Phase I identified the sol-gel parameters that control the transparency and monolithicity of thick aerogel panels. The thick aerogel monoliths produced by the new drying process exhibited high light transmittance at 400nm, durable hydrophobicity, and a high degree of flexibility and resiliency. Phase II will involve the further development and optimization of 6Â¿ x 6Â¿ x 2Â¿ aerogels and the fabrication of panels. Monolith panels of that size will be tested as radiators in Cherenkov detectors. Commercial Applications And Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The aerogels should be very useful not only for Cherenkov detection but also for applications that would significantly save energy and protect the environment: extra-high-R-value window glazing, insulated translucent building panels, and skylights.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.