Silicon photon multipliers, or SiPMs, are single photon detectors that have grown increasing interest in the last decade as an alternative to photomultiplier tubes in many field of physics, engineering and medicine. Compared to PMTs, SiPMs are more compact, rugged and operate at much lower bias voltage, in the order of tens of volts. Moreover they are insensitive to magnetic field and can achieve a very high radiopurity SiPM detectors work on the principle of a diode operated above the breakdown voltage, in Geiger mode. In this condition, the electric field in the depletion region is high enough that the electron-hole pairs, generated by a single photon absorption through photoelectric effect, create secondary charges by impact ionization in a potentially diverging avalanche effect that can be exploited to generate a macroscopical current at the output of the diode. Thanks to this effect, the SiPM is capable of counting the number of impinging photons down to single photon level. Noise sources in the SiPM include dark counts and correlated noise. Dark counts are counts happening when an electron-hole pair is generated in the active volume of the device in absence of photon absorptions. These events are caused either by thermal generation, diffusion from the neutral region or by tunnel effect. Correlated noise events, or counts, on the other hand, are generated when a primary firing cell retriggers after a certain time or cause the triggering of another cell. All these noise sources introduce errors in the photon count by adding fake events to the output signal of the detector.Traditional SiPM application is 511 keV gamma-ray detection in PET machines, using scintillator LYSO crystals to convert a single gamma ray into a flash of visible photons. An application based on the same principle was studied in this thesis by coupling FBK RGB-HD SiPMs with CsI:Tl crystals in order to detect lower energy X and gamma-rays. This setup has proven to be effective in the detection of radiation with energy as low as 5.9 keV with a resolution of 38.3%, which is the minimum value of energy resolution measured with SiPMs coupled to scintillator crystals at such low energy. At the same time it was observed that large area detectors provided a dynamic range wide enough to simultaneously detect radiation ranging from 6.4 keV to 122 keV with minimal saturation. In another activity of this thesis it was developed a simulation software that reproduces the behaviour of a SiPM under different light conditions by taking into account the detector efficiency, the dead time and the recharge behaviour of its cells and theoretical modelizations of the noise parameters that affect the measurement. From a given light profile the simulation generates a waveform that reproduces the one measured during the operation of real SiPMs. This waveform was then analysed using FBK software developed for SiPM characterization and the results showed an excellent agreement between the simulated detector and a reference SiPM. This software will become a useful tool for the design of SiPMs for future experiments because it will allow to tune the properties of the detectors to specific applications and it will reduce the need of layout and process split to find the optimal configuration of the detector parameters.Among all FBK technologies, this work was focused on the position-sensitive LG-SiPM. Unlike standard SiPMs, which have a single output, the LG-SiPM employs a more complex structure that splits the current signal into four output channels with ratios depending on the position of the impinging light on its surface. Center of mass calculations are used to reconstruct the position of the firing cell with precision down to some tens of microns while maintaining the fast time response of SiPMs. An application of the LG-SiPM was studied in the framework of the ARIADNE experiment in collaboration with the university of Liverpool. In this work the LG-SiPM was used to detect scintillation light coming from ionization tracks generated by alpha particles inside a CF4 TPC chamber. The ionized electrons where drifted through the action of a high electric field in the TPC towards a THGEM where they created light with timing depending on the distance of each track segment from the scintillator. The LG detector was able to reconstruct the 3D track particle inside the chamber with an error below 8 mm RMS inside the 40 l chamber and, at the same time, to reconstruct the energy released by the particle as function of time and calculate the total energy of the interacting particle and its linear energy transfer. These results open a novel approach for the TPC position reconstruction that combines the low number of readout channels needed for the LG detector to its time-continuous response which allows to reconstruct the tree-dimensional track of a particle inside the chamber.During the experiment it emerged the presence of an artifact that drifted all the reconstructed tracks towards the centre of the detection area, at the end of the signal. This effect was studied by creating a second simulation software that recreates the electrical behaviour of the LG-SiPM equivalent circuit when one or more cells trigger. It was simulated the output of the circuit with different light conditions and different values of the circuit elements and it was observed that the presence of the artifact was related to low intensity currents flowing through the net of the LG-SiPM metal tracks and quenching resistors. Several simulations were run in order to identify the optimal configuration of parameters for the reduction of this unwanted effect and to implement improvements in future LG-SiPM productions.Another application of the LG-SiPM in the field of radiation detection is the position reconstruction of the scintillation light emitted by gamma-rays in a monolithic crystal. Using a thin CsI:Tl crystal and lowering the detector temperature it was possible to distinguish different positions of interaction on the surface of the detector with an error below 1 mm FWHM. This technology can be effective for the creation of monolithic, position sensitive X and gamma-ray detector with good energy resolution for low energy spectroscopy or medical imaging devices.

Novel applications of FBK SiPMs in the detection of low energy ionizing radiation / Merzi, Stefano. - (2020 Oct 15), pp. 1-157. [10.15168/11572_276309]

Novel applications of FBK SiPMs in the detection of low energy ionizing radiation

Merzi, Stefano
2020-10-15

Abstract

Silicon photon multipliers, or SiPMs, are single photon detectors that have grown increasing interest in the last decade as an alternative to photomultiplier tubes in many field of physics, engineering and medicine. Compared to PMTs, SiPMs are more compact, rugged and operate at much lower bias voltage, in the order of tens of volts. Moreover they are insensitive to magnetic field and can achieve a very high radiopurity SiPM detectors work on the principle of a diode operated above the breakdown voltage, in Geiger mode. In this condition, the electric field in the depletion region is high enough that the electron-hole pairs, generated by a single photon absorption through photoelectric effect, create secondary charges by impact ionization in a potentially diverging avalanche effect that can be exploited to generate a macroscopical current at the output of the diode. Thanks to this effect, the SiPM is capable of counting the number of impinging photons down to single photon level. Noise sources in the SiPM include dark counts and correlated noise. Dark counts are counts happening when an electron-hole pair is generated in the active volume of the device in absence of photon absorptions. These events are caused either by thermal generation, diffusion from the neutral region or by tunnel effect. Correlated noise events, or counts, on the other hand, are generated when a primary firing cell retriggers after a certain time or cause the triggering of another cell. All these noise sources introduce errors in the photon count by adding fake events to the output signal of the detector.Traditional SiPM application is 511 keV gamma-ray detection in PET machines, using scintillator LYSO crystals to convert a single gamma ray into a flash of visible photons. An application based on the same principle was studied in this thesis by coupling FBK RGB-HD SiPMs with CsI:Tl crystals in order to detect lower energy X and gamma-rays. This setup has proven to be effective in the detection of radiation with energy as low as 5.9 keV with a resolution of 38.3%, which is the minimum value of energy resolution measured with SiPMs coupled to scintillator crystals at such low energy. At the same time it was observed that large area detectors provided a dynamic range wide enough to simultaneously detect radiation ranging from 6.4 keV to 122 keV with minimal saturation. In another activity of this thesis it was developed a simulation software that reproduces the behaviour of a SiPM under different light conditions by taking into account the detector efficiency, the dead time and the recharge behaviour of its cells and theoretical modelizations of the noise parameters that affect the measurement. From a given light profile the simulation generates a waveform that reproduces the one measured during the operation of real SiPMs. This waveform was then analysed using FBK software developed for SiPM characterization and the results showed an excellent agreement between the simulated detector and a reference SiPM. This software will become a useful tool for the design of SiPMs for future experiments because it will allow to tune the properties of the detectors to specific applications and it will reduce the need of layout and process split to find the optimal configuration of the detector parameters.Among all FBK technologies, this work was focused on the position-sensitive LG-SiPM. Unlike standard SiPMs, which have a single output, the LG-SiPM employs a more complex structure that splits the current signal into four output channels with ratios depending on the position of the impinging light on its surface. Center of mass calculations are used to reconstruct the position of the firing cell with precision down to some tens of microns while maintaining the fast time response of SiPMs. An application of the LG-SiPM was studied in the framework of the ARIADNE experiment in collaboration with the university of Liverpool. In this work the LG-SiPM was used to detect scintillation light coming from ionization tracks generated by alpha particles inside a CF4 TPC chamber. The ionized electrons where drifted through the action of a high electric field in the TPC towards a THGEM where they created light with timing depending on the distance of each track segment from the scintillator. The LG detector was able to reconstruct the 3D track particle inside the chamber with an error below 8 mm RMS inside the 40 l chamber and, at the same time, to reconstruct the energy released by the particle as function of time and calculate the total energy of the interacting particle and its linear energy transfer. These results open a novel approach for the TPC position reconstruction that combines the low number of readout channels needed for the LG detector to its time-continuous response which allows to reconstruct the tree-dimensional track of a particle inside the chamber.During the experiment it emerged the presence of an artifact that drifted all the reconstructed tracks towards the centre of the detection area, at the end of the signal. This effect was studied by creating a second simulation software that recreates the electrical behaviour of the LG-SiPM equivalent circuit when one or more cells trigger. It was simulated the output of the circuit with different light conditions and different values of the circuit elements and it was observed that the presence of the artifact was related to low intensity currents flowing through the net of the LG-SiPM metal tracks and quenching resistors. Several simulations were run in order to identify the optimal configuration of parameters for the reduction of this unwanted effect and to implement improvements in future LG-SiPM productions.Another application of the LG-SiPM in the field of radiation detection is the position reconstruction of the scintillation light emitted by gamma-rays in a monolithic crystal. Using a thin CsI:Tl crystal and lowering the detector temperature it was possible to distinguish different positions of interaction on the surface of the detector with an error below 1 mm FWHM. This technology can be effective for the creation of monolithic, position sensitive X and gamma-ray detector with good energy resolution for low energy spectroscopy or medical imaging devices.
XXXII
2018-2019
Fisica (29/10/12-)
Physics
Gola, Alberto
no
Inglese
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