Presented at the AIAA 16th Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Huntsville, Alabama, January 16-18, 1978.
This experiment1, is the most recent in a series of NASA satellite experiments which use collimated scintillation counters to study sources of cosmic x-and gamma-rays at energies above 7 keV. The properties of representative instruments are indicated in Table 1. The trend toward greater collecting areas, and narrower fields of view in more recent instruments is evident. The difficulties of collimating and shielding detectors at energies above 200 keV has made sensitive observations difficult at higher energies. In addition. the problem of induced radioactivity in the detectors has further reduced sensitivity. by raising the instrumental background, and made data interpretation difficult.
|Vehicle||Launch Date||Energy Range (keV)||Area (cm²)||Field of View (°FWHM)||P.I.|
|OSO-3||3/67||8 - 210||10||22||Peterson - UCSD|
|OSO-7||9/71||7 - 550||64||6.5||Peterson - UCSD|
|OSO-8||6/75||20 - 5000||25||5||Frost - GSFC|
|HEAO-1||8/77||10 - 10000||494||1.7 - 43|| Peterson - UCSD
& Lewin - MIT
|Name||No. in Inst.||Material||Thickness (cm)||Area (cm²)||Field of View (°FWHM)||Energy Range|
|High Energy Detector (HED)||1||NaI(Tl)||7.5||120||43||0.3 - 10 MEV|
|Medium Energy Detector (MED)||4||NaI(Tl)||2.5||42||16||0.08 - 2 MeV|
|Low Energy Detector (LED)||2||NaI(Tl)||0.3||103||1.7 × 20||10 - 200 keV|
|Inner Shield||2||CsI(Na)||5||N/A||100 keV|
|Outer Shield||6||CsI(Na)||5||N/A||100 keV|
|Blocking Crystal||1||CsI(Na)||4 - 7||N/A||100 keV|
|Aperture Shield||1||NE102||1.0 (HED)
20 - 60, >20 MeV
100 - 140, >100 MeV
The CsI(Na) shield is partitioned into 8 elements. The inner (outer) shields are viewed by 3 (2) PMTs. Each shield and detector is contained within its own mechanical housing. The shields are cushioned against their housings by silicone rubber. Shield PMTs are spring loaned and cushioned against the CsI by silicone rubber. The detectors are in hermetically sealed containers with quartz windows. The detector PMTs are coupled with cast silicone rubber and then spring loaded against the quartz window. A small 241Am doped CsI(Tl) scintillator is contained within each detector and shield. These operate as "light pulsers," producing nearly constant amplitude scintillation light pulses due to the alpha-decay of the 241Am. A sharp spectral feature results which is used for relative gain calibrations.
The aperture shield covers the front of the instrument. It contains a 1 cm thick NE102 scintillator which is viewed by 4 PMTs. The NE102 thickness is reduced over the MED and LED apertures to provide improved low-energy x-ray transmission. The LED transmission is ~50% at 10 keV, ~85% at 20 keV and > 90% above 50 keV.
The blocking crystal and its drive mechanism are positioned above the aperture shield. The blocking crystal is viewed by 2 PMTs and provides the same anticoincidence function as the large CsI(Na) shields. The drive mechanism uses servo-controlled lead screws for X- and Z-axis motion to each detector's aperture and to a "home" position away from the apertures. The large gear-reduction of the drive mechanism results in sufficient mechanical advantage to securely maintain the blocking crystal position. Therefore, Voltage is applied to the motors only during motion to the desired position.
The instrument contains three particle monitors not shown in Figure 1, which measure the proton fluxes in three energy ranges . They provide data necessary to correct the detectors' background for induced radioactivity due to proton interaction, in that instrument and the spacecraft. Each particle monitor contains a small NE102 scintillator, a PMT and a passive shield, which sets the proton energy threshold.
The instruments major load-bearing structures are the eight CsI(Na) shield housings and the three spacecraft interface struts . These elements are pinned and screwed together, forming a stiff assembly. As a result, the instrument has a single major resonance at 100 Hz due to the oscillation of the instrument as a 320 kg point mass suspended by the struts . An isolated CsI shield and housing typically has a broad resonance in the 100-300 Hz range.
Energy losses in detectors are processed by conventional nuclear-pulse amplifiers and threshold discriminators. The pulse-shape-analyzers are a double differentiator type using RC differentiators. Linear rundown pulse-height-analyzers (PHA) are used. 512 PHA channels are provided for the HED and MEDs and 64 for the LEDs. Each detector's lower threshold discriminator has 4 commandable levels to provide energy range selection. The pulse-shape-discriminators have 32 commandable levels in order to compensate for scintillation decay-time changes with temperature. Shield energy losses above 1O0 keV trigger threshold discriminators. Within the DPU the shield and detector discriminator outputs are combined to generate the anticoincidence signal for each detector. A variety or combinations may be selected by command for each detector. Pulse height data are formatted in the DPU, optional time tagging (~0.1 s, 2 ms or 40 µs accuracy) or shield discriminator tagging is added, and the data are output to telemetry in an event-by-event mode. Good spectral and time resolution result, but the total Throughput for the detectors' PHAs is limited to 100 event/s by the instruments bit rate. The detectors' size and energy, range here selected such that this limitation could not be exceeded by the detectors' background rates. However, complex telemetry allocation among the detectors is still required to insure that high priority x-and gamma-ray events are output to telemetry. All discriminators' rates are output to telemetry at least each 40.96 s. Shield anticoincidence deadtime is output each 10.24 s. The number of detector interactions that satisfy the shield anticoincidence are output each 0.64 s (LED), 5.12 s (LED) and 10.24 s (HED). These data are required to correct the detector PHA data for telemetry deadtime. The telemetry allocation around the instrument's data sources is given in Table 3.
Analog outputs from all detectors and shields are routed to the input multiplexer of the Roving- Pulse-Height-Analyzer (RPHA). The RPHA dwells on a specified input and accumulates a 256-channel pulse height spectrum. Dwell duration and input sequence are selected from many commandable options. Various coincidence, anticoincidence and spectrum segment addressing conditions produce spectra in which critical calibration quantities, such as energy loss peaks and discriminator thresholds, are easily recognized Direct verification of shield anticoincidence is also possible. In addition, the RPHA provides an alternate data channel for a detector which requires higher throughput than its dedicated PHA provides.
Each PMT in the instrument has its own high voltage power supply with 8 or 32 commandable levels. Level changes may be used to select different energy ranges or correct for gain drifts.
In order that no single point failure cause the loss of instrument operation, the DPU contains redundant subsystems which perform critical functions. These are command decoding, command status readout, telemetry formatting, detector PHA data sampling, telemetry synchronization with the spacecraft, blocking crystal position control and DC-DC conversion.
|Data Type||Data Rate
|Gamma-ray Burst Processor||25|
The spectral response of the detectors was measured at many energies. Figure 3 shows the MED response to Na22 gamma-rays. The peaks are due to total absorption of the gamma-rays. The FWHM width of the peak expressed as a percentage of the energy loss is a measure of the detector's energy resolution. Comparison of the spectra with the shield veto anticoincidence enabled and disabled indicates the effectiveness of the shield veto at suppression of response at less than total absorption. The improved spectral response provided by the shield veto allows more reliable interpretation of spectral observations of cosmic sources.
Data taken early in the mission here compared with pre-launch values to measure performance parameter changes. Detector gains tended to be lower by ~20% and therefore the HVPS level of some detectors was raised. Shield gains were stable to ~10%. Pulse-shape-analyzer properties are measured in spectra obtained with the RPHA. Figure 4 shows two spectra taken in orbit. The peaks are due to NaI(Tl), CsI(Na) and light pulser events. Comparison of the spectra show that the peaks shapen with increasing energy. Pre-launch measurements showed the peaks' width depended on energy, E, as E-½. This is expected if statistical fluctuations at the PMT photocathode dominate the pulse-shape (decay time) resolution. Laboratory testing showed that at 10 keV the NaI(Tl) and CsI (Na) peaks are clearly resolved. The pulse shape discriminator is normally set at a level corresponding to a decay time of ~ 0.5 µs. Slightly improved spectral response can be obtained by setting the discriminator nearer the NaI(Tl) peak, but the probability of rejecting low energy NaI(Tl) events increases.
LED, MED and HED background spectra obtained with the detectors PHA are shown in Figures 5, 6, and 7, respectively. Several background components are also indicated. The cosmic x-rays in the detectors aperture is the largest component below 70 to 200 keV, depending on the detector tape. "Shield leakage" is the background due to x-rays which penetrate the shield without detection. This component is significant only in 50 to 200 keV range of the LEDs and in the MEDs above 1 MeV. Many spectral lines are seen in the background. Most are due to the decay of radioisotopes formed by spallation of I127 in the detector by cosmic-ray and South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) protons. MED and HED spectra taken shortly after a pass through the SAA are also shown in Figures 6 and 7. They show buildup of the features around 200 keV and a continuum spectrum above 300 keV which cuts off at ~ 2 MeV. The latter is due to Beta-decay of I128 which is formed by neutron capture by I127, the only stable iodine isotope.
The 28-minute half-life of I128 accounts for the increase of the 0.3-2 MeV spectrum after exposure to the SAA. However, even 10 hours after the SAA exposure the I128 component is clearly seen in the MED and HED background . This persistent I128 must be produced by continuos capture of earth albedo and spacecraft produced neutrons. It accounts for >90% of the 1 to 2 MeV background. At higher energies the HED background remains above the predicted shield leakage and aperture flux components. The origin of this excess is unexplained at this time. The I128 Beta-spectrum measured in the MED was used to predict this component in the LED background. The LED background below 150 keV is only slightly affected by exposure to the SAA.
LE detector background
ME detector background
HE detector background
Detector gains required ~ 2 weeks to stabilize in orbit. This was expected because a PMTs gain is usually a function of its anode current history. Gain stability is determined using the light pulser spectral data shown in Figures 6 and 7. The light pulsers have an intrinsic FWHM of ~ 5% and the centroid of their spectral peak can be measured to < l% accuracy in ~ 5% min. The MED light pulser has a measured FWH of ~ 5%, indicating that the gain was stable to < 1% during the 90-minute integration. However, the HED light pulser is broadened to ~ 12%, due to ±4% gain variations. These are a result of systematic anode current changes due to orbital variation of geomagnetic cutoff of cosmic rays which interact in the HED. High energy-resolution scientific analysis with the HED will require gain corrections each ~ 10 minutes using the light pulser data. Data indicating LED short term gain stability are being analyzed at this time. In-orbit energy resolution cannot be measured accurately until the data are corrected for gain variations. All detectors' gains have been measured to be stable to ~ 1% over a period of one month.
Up to factor 5 background increases which last less than 0.64 s were
discovered in the LEDs. They are apparently a result of long lived phosphorescence
following large energy losses by cosmic-rays. These effects have been seen
in balloon carried scintillators4,5.
Raising the threshold to 14 keV rendered them negligible. Similar background
increase occur in the GRBP. Since they cannot be reduced by changing threshold,
the GRBP, was commanded to a mode where it triggers on the increases and
then fills its memory with ~ 0.2 s time resolution. The result is that
the GRBP is sensitive to gamma-ray bursts ~ 70% of the time.
|2 LEDs|| 15 -30
80 - 160
|4 MEDs|| 80 - 160
500 - 1000
|1 HED|| 500 - 1000
5000 - 10000
| 0.3 |