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Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik

Abteilung Astronomie

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Preprint 02/13

A setup for soft proton irradiation of X-ray detectors for future astronomical space missions

Sebastian Diebold (1), Philipp Azzarello (2), Ettore Del Monte (3), Marco Feroci (3), Josef Jochum (1), Eckhard Kendziorra (1), Emanuele Perinati (1), Alexandre Rachevski (4), Andrea Santangelo (1), Christoph Tenzer (1), Andrea Vacchi (4), Gianluigi Zampe (4), Nicola Zampa (4)

(1) Kepler Center for Astro and Particle Physics, Universität Tübingen, Sand 1, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
(2) ISDC Data Centre for Astrophysics, University of Geneva, Switzerland
(3) INAF/IASF Istituto di Astrosica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica, Rome, Italy
(4) INFN Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Trieste, Italy

To be published in: Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A

Abstract. Protons that are trapped in the Earth's magnetic field are one of the main threats to astronomical X-ray observatories. Soft protons, in the range from tens of keV up to a few MeV, impinging on silicon X-ray detectors can lead to a significant degradation of the detector performance. Especially in low earth orbits an enhancement of the soft proton flux has been found. A setup to irradiate detectors with soft protons has been constructed at the Van-de-Graaff accelerator of the Physikalisches Institut of the University of Tübingen. Key advantages are a high flux uniformity over a large area, to enable irradiations of large detectors, and a monitoring system for the applied fluence, the beam uniformity, and the spectrum, that allows testing of detector prototypes in early development phases, when readout electronics are not yet available.
Two irradiation campaigns have been performed so far with this setup. The irradiated detectors are silicon drift detectors, designated for the use on-board the LOFT space mission.
This paper gives a description of the experimental setup and the associated monitoring system.
Key words: Radiation hardness, X-ray detectors, Soft proton irradiation, LOFT, X-ray astronomy

Preprint (2,06 Mb PDF file including figures)

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