Charles E. Kaufman Foundation

2013 New Investigator Grant

Michelle Dolinski, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Drexel University

Solid Xenon Bolometers for Radiation Detection


Radiation detectors have many practical applications in nuclear medicine, nuclear safeguards, and environmental health and safety. Novel radiation detectors with new properties may ultimately impact one or more of these fields. This proposal is to develop a new type of radiation detector for fundamental nuclear physics research, called a solid xenon bolometer { a high resolution calorimeter where the energy absorber is a xenon crystal cooled to extremely low temperature. Liquid xenon-based radiation detectors have recently become a popular technology in basic nuclear and particle physics research. When radiation interacts with the xenon, charge and light signals are produced. The power of liquid xenon detector technology is in the combination of these two signals, resulting in the ability to reject background signals and improve energy resolution. The microscopic physics of how these detectors work is not well understood, and a great deal of research into liquid xenon energy response is ongoing in the physics community. By detecting a heat signal rather than charge or light, solid xenon bolometers may offer the final piece of the puzzle in understanding xenon detector energy response. The proposed research program would serve as the foundation for the further development of new xenon detector technology.

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