An aerogel Cherenkov detector is proposed to measure the X-ray energy spectrum from the Cygnus—intense flash X-ray source operated at the Nevada National Security Site. An array of aerogels set at a variety of thresholds between 1 and 3 MeV will be adequate to map out the bremsstrahlung X-ray production of the Cygnus, where the maximum energy of the spectrum is normally around 2.5 MeV. In addition to the Cherenkov radiation from aerogels, one possible competing light-production mechanism is optical transition radiation (OTR), which may be significant in aerogels due to the large number of transitions from SiO 2 clusters to vacuum voids. To examine whether OTR is a problem, four aerogel samples were tested using a mono-energetic electron beam (varied in the range of 1–3 MeV) at NSTec Los Alamos Operations. It was demonstrated that aerogels can be used as a Cherenkov medium, where the rate of the light production is about two orders magnitude higher when the electron beam energy is above threshold.
Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology