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A Cerenkov-ΔΕ-Cerenkov Detector for High Energy Cosmic Ray Isotopes and an Accelerator Study of ⁴⁰Ar & ⁵⁶Fe Fragmentation


Lau, Koon Hang (1985) A Cerenkov-ΔΕ-Cerenkov Detector for High Energy Cosmic Ray Isotopes and an Accelerator Study of ⁴⁰Ar & ⁵⁶Fe Fragmentation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology.


This thesis has two major parts. The first part of the thesis will describe a high energy cosmic ray detector -- the High Energy Isotope Spectrometer Telescope (HEIST). HEIST is a large area (0.25 m2sr) balloon-borne isotope spectrometer designed to make high-resolution measurements of isotopes in the element range from neon to nickel (10 ≤ Z ≤ 28) at energies of about 2 GeV/nucleon. The instrument consists of a stack of 12 NaI(Tl) scintilla tors, two Cerenkov counters, and two plastic scintillators. Each of the 2-cm thick NaI disks is viewed by six 1.5-inch photomultipliers whose combined outputs measure the energy deposition in that layer. In addition, the six outputs from each disk are compared to determine the position at which incident nuclei traverse each layer to an accuracy of ~2 mm. The Cerenkov counters, which measure particle velocity, are each viewed by twelve 5-inch photomultipliers using light integration boxes.

HEIST-2 determines the mass of individual nuclei by measuring both the change in the Lorentz factor (Δγ) that results from traversing the NaI stack, and the energy loss (ΔΕ) in the stack. Since the total energy of an isotope is given by Ε = γM, the mass M can be determined by M = ΔΕ/Δγ. The instrument is designed to achieve a typical mass resolution of 0.2 amu.

The second part of this thesis presents an experimental measurement of the isotopic composition of the fragments from the breakup of high energy 40Ar and 56Fe nuclei. Cosmic ray composition studies rely heavily on semi-empirical estimates of the cross-sections for the nuclear fragmentation reactions which alter the composition during propagation through the interstellar medium. Experimentally measured yields of isotopes from the fragmentation of 40Ar and 56Fe are compared with calculated yields based on semi-empirical cross-section formulae. There are two sets of measurements. The first set of measurements, made at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Bevalac using a beam of 287 MeV/nucleon 40Ar incident on a CH2 target, achieves excellent mass resolution (σm ≤ 0.2 amu) for isotopes of Mg through K using a Si(Li) detector telescope. The second set of measurements, also made at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Bevalac, using a beam of 583 MeV/nucleon 56Fe incident on a CH2 target, resolved Cr, Mn, and Fe fragments with a typical mass resolution of ~ 0.25 amu, through the use of the Heavy Isotope Spectrometer Telescope (HIST) which was later carried into space on ISEE-3 in 1978. The general agreement between calculation and experiment is good, but some significant differences are reported here.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Physics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Restricted to Caltech community only
Research Advisor(s):
  • Stone, Edward C.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory
Thesis Committee:
  • Politzer, Hugh David (chair)
  • Barnes, Charles A.
  • Barish, Barry C.
  • Mewaldt, Richard A.
  • Stone, Edward C.
Defense Date:31 May 1985
Additional Information:Thesis title listed in 1985 Commencement Program varies from actual thesis: A Cerenkov-EΔ-Cerenkov Detector for Measuring High Energy Heavy Cosmic Ray Isotope and Studies of Fragmentation of ⁴⁰Ar and ⁵⁶Fe.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASANGR 05-002-160
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:10142014-102314134
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8692
Deposited By: Bianca Rios
Deposited On:15 Oct 2014 16:17
Last Modified:29 Apr 2019 21:20

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