NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Fast, Large-Area, Wide-Bandgap UV Photodetector for Cherenkov Light DetectionDue to limited resources available for power and space for payloads, miniaturizing and integrating instrumentation is a high priority for addressing the challenges of manned and unmanned deep space missions to high Earth orbit (HEO), near Earth objects (NEOs), Lunar and Martian orbits and surfaces, and outer planetary systems, as well as improvements to high-altitude aircraft safety. New, robust, and compact detectors allow future instrumentation packages more options in satisfying specific mission goals. A solid-state ultraviolet (UV) detector was developed with a theoretical fast response time and large detection area intended for application to Cherenkov detectors. The detector is based on the wide-bandgap semiconductor zinc oxide (ZnO), which in a bridge circuit can detect small, fast pulses of UV light like those required for Cherenkov detectors. The goal is to replace the role of photomultiplier tubes in Cherenkov detectors with these solid-state devices, saving on size, weight, and required power. For improving detection geometry, a spherical detector to measure high atomic number and energy (HZE) ions from any direction has been patented as part of a larger space radiation detector system. The detector will require the development of solid-state UV photodetectors fast enough (2 ns response time or better) to detect the shockwave of Cherenkov light emitted as the ions pass through a quartz, sapphire, or acrylic ball. The detector must be small enough to fit in the detector system structure, but have an active area large enough to capture enough Cherenkov light from the sphere. The detector is fabricated on bulk single-crystal undoped ZnO. Inter - digitated finger electrodes and contact pads are patterned via photolithography, and formed by sputtered metal of silver, platinum, or other high-conductivity metal.
Document ID
Document Type
Other - NASA Tech Brief
Wrbanek, John D.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Wrbanek, Susan Y.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
March 24, 2014
Publication Date
October 1, 2013
Publication Information
Publication: NASA Tech Briefs, October 2013
Subject Category
Man/System Technology And Life Support
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
No Preview Available