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Proceedings Paper

Large-area transition radiation detectors for cosmic-ray observations in space
Author(s): Dietrich Mueller; Edward Diehl; Florian Gahbauer; Peter Meyer; Simon P. Swordy
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Paper Abstract

The characteristic dependence of x-ray transition radiation on the Lorentz factor of the parent particle can be utilized in cosmic-ray observations on balloons or in space in order to discriminate between relativistic electrons and hadrons, or to determine the energy spectra of heavy cosmic-ray nuclei at very high energies. To obtain statistically meaningful results, exposure factors of the instruments of the order of 100 - 1000 m2sr days are essential. While the intrinsic weight of transition radiation detectors is low, this requires novel approaches and precludes the use of heavy pressurized containers for the instrument. We have developed a system using large arrays of xenon filled proportional tubes as detectors which can operate in a zero pressure environment. We shall discuss this design and present results from prototype evaluations. Finally, we shall describe the capabilities of a practical detector system that will measure the elemental composition and individual energy spectra of heavy cosmic ray nuclei up to energies around 1015 eV.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 October 1996
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 2806, Gamma-Ray and Cosmic-Ray Detectors, Techniques, and Missions, (18 October 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.253967
Show Author Affiliations
Dietrich Mueller, Univ. of Chicago (United States)
Edward Diehl, Univ. of Chicago (United States)
Florian Gahbauer, Univ. of Chicago (United States)
Peter Meyer, Univ. of Chicago (United States)
Simon P. Swordy, Univ. of Chicago (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2806:
Gamma-Ray and Cosmic-Ray Detectors, Techniques, and Missions
Brian D. Ramsey; Thomas A. Parnell, Editor(s)

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