skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Development of a Long Life Photomultiplier Tube for High Flux Applications

Abstract

This detector R&D proposal focuses on the development of long-life microchannel plate (MCP) photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) capable of high rate operations. Photomultiplier tubes are devices that convert small amounts of light into an electrical signal. They generally consist of three basic parts: i) a photocathode that makes use of the photoelectric effect to convert incoming photons (bits of light) into electrons, ii) an electron multiplying component, and iii) a charge collecting component that outputs a measurable electric signal. MCP-PMTs use compact lead glass plates with many small holes to provide the electron multiplying functionality. These photon detection devices promise immense utility due to their ability to detect one or more photons with excellent spatial and temporal resolution, and their ability to maintain a high level of performance when subjected to large magnetic fields. Their principal limitation has been a loss in efficiency of producing primary electrons (quantum efficiency) with usage that compromises their ability to operate in high rate environments. This QE degradation is typically attributed to positive ions damaging the photocathode. The PI Brandt has been working on fast timing issues since 2006, receiving funding from the Texas ARP program with Photonis Inc., an NSF SBIR with Arradiance Inc.more » (demonstrating the suppression of positive ion generation afforded by the Atomic Layer Deposition of a thin layer of alumina in the micro-channels), and two DOE Advanced Detector Research grants (for fast timing detector and electronics development). The R&D effort has been successful on all fronts, especially the development of the MCP-PMT, where a factor of about 20 increase in lifetime appears to now meet the requirements for the Panda and Super Belle II experiments. Since lifetime testing is expensive (each test destroys a device) and has become time consuming with increased lifetime, there has not yet been enough lifetime testing to completely validate these results. This proposal addresses new methods of systematic life testing and plans for increasing the lifetime by another factor of three (to ~20 C/cm 2) or more, which would make them a viable solution for Large Hadron Collider experiments or other high rate applications. The technical and intellectual merits of this proposal are noteworthy. The results already far exceed the traditional ion barrier approach developed at high cost by Hamamatsu and Nagoya, who eventually abandoned their approach, and are now using similar ALD techniques. Further lifetime improvements are hypothesized by combining the ALD coatings with an active ion barrier developed by Photonis to suppress positive ions by repulsing them before they can cause damage. Preliminary UTA measurements on an active ion barrier prototype indicate a suppression factor of at least four. In support of this proposal Arradiance and Photonis agreed to produce ALD coated MCP-PMTs with and without the active ion barrier for evaluation at UTA, using new pixel-based life time testing methods developed during this grant period. Arradiance, Inc. volunteered to apply ALD coating to MCP’s provided by Photonis, which were then be incorporated by Photonis into new “long life” MCP-PMT’s, to be tested at UTA. Initial attempts did not produce properly working devices, but further effort eventually led to a deeper understanding of the detailed mechanism of the interaction of the ALD processing with different types of MCP glass, and ultimately new working devices for testing. Meanwhile, UTA demonstrated the validity of the new pixel-based lifetime approach, developed a dedicated economical testing station for multiple devices, and developed techniques to study ion generation in the MCP test stand, based on the timing of delayed “after pulses,” which when correlated to lifetime, can help determine its root cause. Due to the Photonis/Arradiance producing the final devices, the final life testing on them is still in progress. The broader impacts of this proposal are substantial. Image intensification detection devices incorporating MCP’s are currently widely used in applications where single photon counting or low light level detection is required, but they cannot be used in high rate environments. The impact of an improved lifetime device extends beyond cutting edge particle physics experiments as detectors with exciting discovery potential in the areas of CP violation and Higgs properties, to homeland security and night vision applications. This project has provided excellent training for UTA’s diverse student population, as in excess of 30 undergraduates have participated in related research under Dr. Brandt’s supervision over the last dozen years.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Texas, Arlington, TX (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
Contributing Org.:
Arradiance Inc., Photonis Inc.
OSTI Identifier:
1493069
Report Number(s):
Final Report DOE-UTA-13563
DOE Contract Number:  
SC0013563
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS; 46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; Photon Detection Microchannel plate life time

Citation Formats

Brandt, Andrew Gerhart. Development of a Long Life Photomultiplier Tube for High Flux Applications. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.2172/1493069.
Brandt, Andrew Gerhart. Development of a Long Life Photomultiplier Tube for High Flux Applications. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1493069
Brandt, Andrew Gerhart. Fri . "Development of a Long Life Photomultiplier Tube for High Flux Applications". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1493069. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1493069.
@article{osti_1493069,
title = {Development of a Long Life Photomultiplier Tube for High Flux Applications},
author = {Brandt, Andrew Gerhart},
abstractNote = {This detector R&D proposal focuses on the development of long-life microchannel plate (MCP) photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) capable of high rate operations. Photomultiplier tubes are devices that convert small amounts of light into an electrical signal. They generally consist of three basic parts: i) a photocathode that makes use of the photoelectric effect to convert incoming photons (bits of light) into electrons, ii) an electron multiplying component, and iii) a charge collecting component that outputs a measurable electric signal. MCP-PMTs use compact lead glass plates with many small holes to provide the electron multiplying functionality. These photon detection devices promise immense utility due to their ability to detect one or more photons with excellent spatial and temporal resolution, and their ability to maintain a high level of performance when subjected to large magnetic fields. Their principal limitation has been a loss in efficiency of producing primary electrons (quantum efficiency) with usage that compromises their ability to operate in high rate environments. This QE degradation is typically attributed to positive ions damaging the photocathode. The PI Brandt has been working on fast timing issues since 2006, receiving funding from the Texas ARP program with Photonis Inc., an NSF SBIR with Arradiance Inc. (demonstrating the suppression of positive ion generation afforded by the Atomic Layer Deposition of a thin layer of alumina in the micro-channels), and two DOE Advanced Detector Research grants (for fast timing detector and electronics development). The R&D effort has been successful on all fronts, especially the development of the MCP-PMT, where a factor of about 20 increase in lifetime appears to now meet the requirements for the Panda and Super Belle II experiments. Since lifetime testing is expensive (each test destroys a device) and has become time consuming with increased lifetime, there has not yet been enough lifetime testing to completely validate these results. This proposal addresses new methods of systematic life testing and plans for increasing the lifetime by another factor of three (to ~20 C/cm2) or more, which would make them a viable solution for Large Hadron Collider experiments or other high rate applications. The technical and intellectual merits of this proposal are noteworthy. The results already far exceed the traditional ion barrier approach developed at high cost by Hamamatsu and Nagoya, who eventually abandoned their approach, and are now using similar ALD techniques. Further lifetime improvements are hypothesized by combining the ALD coatings with an active ion barrier developed by Photonis to suppress positive ions by repulsing them before they can cause damage. Preliminary UTA measurements on an active ion barrier prototype indicate a suppression factor of at least four. In support of this proposal Arradiance and Photonis agreed to produce ALD coated MCP-PMTs with and without the active ion barrier for evaluation at UTA, using new pixel-based life time testing methods developed during this grant period. Arradiance, Inc. volunteered to apply ALD coating to MCP’s provided by Photonis, which were then be incorporated by Photonis into new “long life” MCP-PMT’s, to be tested at UTA. Initial attempts did not produce properly working devices, but further effort eventually led to a deeper understanding of the detailed mechanism of the interaction of the ALD processing with different types of MCP glass, and ultimately new working devices for testing. Meanwhile, UTA demonstrated the validity of the new pixel-based lifetime approach, developed a dedicated economical testing station for multiple devices, and developed techniques to study ion generation in the MCP test stand, based on the timing of delayed “after pulses,” which when correlated to lifetime, can help determine its root cause. Due to the Photonis/Arradiance producing the final devices, the final life testing on them is still in progress. The broader impacts of this proposal are substantial. Image intensification detection devices incorporating MCP’s are currently widely used in applications where single photon counting or low light level detection is required, but they cannot be used in high rate environments. The impact of an improved lifetime device extends beyond cutting edge particle physics experiments as detectors with exciting discovery potential in the areas of CP violation and Higgs properties, to homeland security and night vision applications. This project has provided excellent training for UTA’s diverse student population, as in excess of 30 undergraduates have participated in related research under Dr. Brandt’s supervision over the last dozen years.},
doi = {10.2172/1493069},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1493069}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {2}
}