Next Generation Gamma/Neutron Detectors for Planetary Science

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$666,612.00
Award Year:
2013
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
NNX13CM33C
Award Id:
n/a
Agency Tracking Number:
114738
Solicitation Year:
2011
Solicitation Topic Code:
S1.09
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
MA, Watertown, MA, 02472-4699
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
073804411
Principal Investigator:
James Christian
Principal Investigator
(617) 668-6801
JChristian@rmdinc.com
Business Contact:
Marisa Eva
Business Official
(617) 668-6854
mekon@rmdinc.com
Research Institution:
Stub




Abstract
Gamma-ray and neutron spectroscopy are well established techniques for determining the chemical composition of planetary surfaces, and small cosmic bodies such as asteroids and comets; however, new technologies with the potential to significantly improve the performance of planetary nuclear spectroscopy are emerging. We propose to develop new gamma-ray and neutron detectors based on wide-band-gap (WBG) solid-state photomultiplier (SSPM) photodetectors coupled to emerging scintillation materials such as Cs2YLiCl6:Ce (CLYC), and CeBr3 for gamma and neutron spectroscopic studies of planet surfaces and small cosmic bodies. The proposed SSPM photodetector for scintillation readout is based on AlGaAs, a WBG compound semiconductor with aluminum concentration of 60% to 90%. The ~2-eV band-gap energy of this material is engineered to match the emission spectrum of both CLYC and CeBr3. The high band-gap of AlGaAs also provides much lower dark noise and better radiation tolerance than Si-based detectors. Compared to conventional PMTs, the compact size, low voltage operation, and lighter weight of AlGaAs SSPM is ideal for spaced-based instruments. The advantages of AlGaAs SSPMs and the excellent detection properties of CLYC and CeBr3 scintillation materials make them a perfect match in the development of new gamma and neutron spectrometers for planetary science.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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