Results from a 64-pixel PIN-diode detector system for low-energy beta-electrons

  • Autor:

    S. Wuestling, F. Fraenkle, F. Habermehl, P. Renschler, M. Steidl

  • Datum: Proceedings of the 11th European Symposium on Semiconductor Detectors, 11th European Symposium on Semiconductor Detectors, 11 December 2010, Pages 295-302, ISSN 0168-9002, DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2010.03.120


The KATRIN neutrino mass experiment is based on a precise energy measurement (ΔE/E=5×10−5) of electrons emerging from tritium beta decay (Emax=18.6 keV). This is done by a large electrostatic retarding spectrometer (MAC-E Filter), which is followed by an electron detector. Key requirements for this detector are a large sensitive area (∼80 cm2), a certain energy resolution (ΔE=600 eV @ 18.6 keV) but also a certain spatial resolution (∼3 mm), which leads to a multi-pixel design. As a tentative design on the way to the final detector, but also for operational service on the so-called pre-spectrometer experiment, a detector system with a reduced size (16 cm2) and a reduced pixel number (64), making use of a monolithic segmented silicon PIN diode, was designed and built. While the design and very first measurements have been presented in Wuestling et al., this publication shows the operational performance of the detector system. The robust concept of the electronics allowed adaptation to mechanically different experimental setups. The spacial resolution of the detector system proved to be essential in examining Penning trap induced background and other effects in the pre-spectrometer experiment.

The detector performance test runs include energy resolution and calibration, background rates, correlation between pixels (crosstalk), spatially resolved rate analysis, and a dead-layer measurement. The detector allows for background searches with a sensitivity as low as 1.3×10−3 cps/cm2 in the energy range of 20 keV. This allows the pre-spectrometer to be characterized with e-gun illumination with a signal to background ratio of better than 105 and the search for ultra low Penning discharge emissions.