Calorimetric low temperature detectors for low-energetic heavy ions and their application in accelerator mass spectrometry

Kraft-Bermuth, S.; Andrianov, V. A.; Bleile, A.; Echler, A.; Egelhof, P.; Kiseleva, A.; Kiselev, O.; Meier, H. J.; Meier, J. P.; Shrivastava, A.; Weber, M.; Golser, R.; Kutschera, W.; Priller, A.; Steier, P.; Vockenhuber, C.
October 2009
Review of Scientific Instruments;Oct2009, Vol. 80 Issue 10, p103304
Academic Journal
The energy-sensitive detection of heavy ions with calorimetric low temperature detectors was investigated in the energy range of E=0.1–1 MeV/amu, commonly used for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). The detectors used consist of sapphire absorbers and superconducting aluminum transition edge thermometers operated at T∼1.5 K. They were irradiated with various ion beams (13C,197Au,238U) provided by the VERA tandem accelerator in Vienna, Austria. The relative energy resolution obtained was ΔE/E=(5–9)×10-3, even for the heaviest ions such as 238U. In addition, no evidence for a pulse height defect was observed. This performance allowed for the first time to apply a calorimetric low temperature detector in an AMS experiment. The aim was to precisely determine the isotope ratio of 236U/238U for several samples of natural uranium, 236U being known as a sensitive monitor for neutron fluxes. Replacing a conventionally used detection system at VERA by the calorimetric detector enabled to substantially reduce background from neighboring isotopes and to increase the detection efficiency. Due to the high sensitivity achieved, a value of 236U/238U=6.1×10-12 could be obtained, representing the smallest 236U/238U ratio measured at the time. In addition, we contributed to establishing an improved material standard of 236U/238U, which can be used as a reference for future AMS measurements.


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