ASTRO-H CdTe detectors proton irradiation at PIF

O. Limousin*, D. Renaud, B. Horeau, S. Dubos, P. Laurent, F. Lebrun, R. Chipaux, C. Boatella Polo, R. Marcinkowski, M. Kawaharada, S. Watanabe, M. Ohta, G. Sato, T. Takahashi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA), is partner of the Soft Gamma-Ray Detector (SGD) and the Hard X-ray Imager (HXI) onboard the 6th Japanese X-ray scientific satellite ASTRO-H (JAXA) initiated by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS). Both scientific instruments, one hosting a series of Compton Gamma Cameras and the other being a focal plane of a grazing incidence mirror telescope in the hard X-ray domain, are equipped with Cadmium Telluride based detectors.ASTRO-H will be operated in a Low Earth Orbit with a 31° inclination at ~550. km altitude, thus passing daily through the South Atlantic Anomaly radiation belt, a specially harsh environment where the detectors are suffering the effect of the interaction with trapped high energy protons. As CdTe detector performance might be affected by the irradiation, we investigate the effect of the accumulated proton fluence on their spectral response. To do so, we have characterized and irradiated representative samples of SGD and HXI detector under different conditions. The detectors in question, from ACRORAD, are single-pixels having a size of 2. mm by 2. mm and 750. μm thick. The Schottky contact is either made of an Indium or Aluminum for SGD and HXI respectively.We ran the irradiation test campaign at the Proton Irradiation Facility (PIF) at PSI, and ESA approved equipment to evaluate the radiation hardness of flight hardware. We simulated the proton flux expected on the sensors over the entire mission, and secondary neutrons flux due to primary proton interactions into the surrounding BGO active shielding. We eventually characterized the detector response evolution, emphasizing each detector spectral response as well as its stability by studying the so-called Polarization effect. The latter is provoking a spectral response degradation against time as a charge accumulation process occurs in Schottky type CdTe sensors.In this paper, we report on the test campaigns at PIF and will show up our experimental setup. We will pursue describing the irradiation conditions associated with our GEANT 4 predictions and finally, we report the main results of our campaigns concluding that the proton effect does not severely affect the CdTe response neither the detector stability while the secondary neutrons might be more active to reduce the performance on the long run.


  • CdTe
  • HXI
  • Proton damage
  • Schottky
  • SGD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics


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