Waveshifting fiber readout of lanthanum halide scintillators
Newly developed high-light-yield inorganic scintillators coupled to waveshifting optical fibers provide the capability of efficient X-ray detection and millimeter scale position resolution suitable for high-energy cosmic ray instruments, hard X-ray/gamma ray astronomy telescopes and applications to national security. The CASTER design for NASA's proposed Black Hole Finder Probe mission, in particular, calls for a 6-8 m2 hard X-ray coded aperture imaging telescope operating in the 20-600 keV energy band, putting significant constraints on cost and readout complexity. The development of new inorganic scintillator materials (e.g., cerium-doped LaBr3 and LaCl3) provides improved energy resolution and timing performance that is well suited to the requirements for national security and astrophysics applications. LaBr3 or LaCl3 detector arrays coupled with waveshifting fiber optic readout represent a significant advance in the performance capabilities of scintillator-based gamma cameras and provide the potential for a feasible approach to affordable, large area, extremely sensitive detectors. We describe some of the applications and present laboratory test results demonstrating the expected scintillator performance. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.