A Proposal for Calibration and Testing of a Transition Radiation Detector for Space Applications Page: 1 of 3

A Proposal for Calibration and Testing of a Transition Radiation Detector
for Space Applications
Simon P. Swordy
Enrico Fermi Institute, University of Chicago, Chicago IL 60637, U.S.A.
We plan to use transition radiation detectors (TRD) for the measurement of the
Lorentz factor (y) of high energy cosmic ray nuclei on spacecraft and high altitude
balloons. These are designed to provide response over a range of particle energies
from y -500 to y -10000. Since the absolute response of a TRD is difficult to accu-
rately predict from calculation the calibration of a test unit with particles of known
y is essential to verify performance. We propose to use a suitably instrumented
calibration beam at FNAL for this purpose. With auxilary detectors we plan to
identify p,/i,lr, and e in the beam and use this tagging to determine the response of
the TRD for particles of different y. For a beam with particle momenta somewhere
in the range 100-500GV we expect to collect an adequate number of data points for
a calibration. Although it is desirable to collect as many data points as possible a
minimum test would consist of determining the response for a low y value (likely
from p) and for a high y (from e). Even this small amount of information would be
useful to test the calculated response.
1 Introduction
The variation of the elemental abundances of cosmic ray nuclei as a function
of energy has long been viewed to be a crucial measurement for the origins
of cosmic rays. While much progress has been made in this area, elemental
composition measurements at energies above ~100GeV exist only for the more
abundant species and disappear altogether above 100TeV. Although many
cosmic rays have been measured at these and higher energies, the elemental
composition is not known. The TRDs discussed in this proposal are designed
to fly on NASA missions to investigate the elemental composition at high
energies by a determination of y for high energy cosmic ray nuclei. They use
plastic fiber TR radiators and detectors filled with xenon gas. A novel aspect of
this TRD is the use of thin proportional tube detectors which can be operated
in external vacuum. Previous TRD systems flown in space have used multiwire
proportional chambers as detectors. Since no pressure shell is required for the
new design there are significant savings in weight and complexity for this new
type of TRD in space.

29 December 1998

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Swordy, Simon P. A Proposal for Calibration and Testing of a Transition Radiation Detector for Space Applications, report, January 1, 1999; Batavia, Illinois. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1013451/m1/1/ocr/: accessed March 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.

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