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Instruments, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 2019)

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Open AccessArticle
Monolithically-Integrated Single-Photon Avalanche Diode in a Zero-Change Standard CMOS Process for Low-Cost and Low-Voltage LiDAR Application
Instruments 2019, 3(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments3020033
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 20 June 2019 / Accepted: 21 June 2019 / Published: 25 June 2019
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Abstract
We present a single-photon sensor based on the single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) that is suitable for low-cost and low-voltage light detection and ranging (LiDAR) applications. It is implemented in a zero-change standard 0.18-μm complementary metal oxide semiconductor process at the minimum cost by [...] Read more.
We present a single-photon sensor based on the single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) that is suitable for low-cost and low-voltage light detection and ranging (LiDAR) applications. It is implemented in a zero-change standard 0.18-μm complementary metal oxide semiconductor process at the minimum cost by excluding any additional processing step for customized doping profiles. The SPAD is based on circular shaped P+/N-well junction of 8-μm diameter, and it achieves low breakdown voltage below 10 V so that the operation voltage of the single-photon sensor can be minimized. The quenching and reset circuit is integrated monolithically to capture photon-generated output pulses for measurement. A complete characterization of our single-photon sensor is provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Single-Photon Detection Instrumentation and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Neutron Imaging Station at the n_TOF Facility of CERN and Applications to Beam Intercepting Devices
Instruments 2019, 3(2), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments3020032 (registering DOI)
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 3 June 2019 / Accepted: 6 June 2019 / Published: 12 June 2019
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Abstract
A neutron radiography testing station has been developed exploiting the neutron beam of CERN’s n_TOF Experimental Area 2, located at the shortest distance to the neutron producing-target. The characteristics of the n_TOF neutron beam for the imaging setup are presented in this paper, [...] Read more.
A neutron radiography testing station has been developed exploiting the neutron beam of CERN’s n_TOF Experimental Area 2, located at the shortest distance to the neutron producing-target. The characteristics of the n_TOF neutron beam for the imaging setup are presented in this paper, together with the obtained experimental results. The results focused on the testing of several particle producing targets, including a spent antiproton production targets as well as targets from two different HiRadMat’s experiments. The possible developments of neutron imaging capabilities of the n_TOF facility in terms of detection-systems and beam-line upgrades are as well outlined. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Dual-Wavelength Pulsed Laser Processing Platform for a-Si Thin Film Crystallization
Instruments 2019, 3(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments3020031 (registering DOI)
Received: 16 May 2019 / Revised: 2 June 2019 / Accepted: 3 June 2019 / Published: 5 June 2019
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Abstract
Interest in laser crystallization (LC) of silicon (Si) thin films has been on the rise in fabrication of polycrystalline silicon (pc-Si) based thin/ultrathin photovoltaic solar cells and Si based thin film transistors (TFT). Laser based fabrication of device quality pc-Si thin films at [...] Read more.
Interest in laser crystallization (LC) of silicon (Si) thin films has been on the rise in fabrication of polycrystalline silicon (pc-Si) based thin/ultrathin photovoltaic solar cells and Si based thin film transistors (TFT). Laser based fabrication of device quality pc-Si thin films at room temperature is expected to be a key enabling technology because of its low energy, material and process time budget. Fabrication of high-quality pc-Si thin films without pre-/post-treatment at large is a disruptive technology which has the potential to revolutionize the Si thin film industry. We hereby describe in detail a multi-wavelength laser processing platform specially developed for crystallization of amorphous silicon (a-Si) thin films into pc-Si thin films. The platform has three main stages. The first stage consists of a nanosecond pulsed ytterbium (Yt3+) doped fibre-laser with a master oscillator power amplifier architecture, operating at a wavelength of 1064 nm with an adjustable repetition rate between 80 kHz–300 kHz. The output beam has a maximum power of 18 W with a pulse energy of 90 µJ. The pulse durations can be set to values between 15 ns–40 ns. The second stage has free-space optical elements for second harmonic generation (SHG) which produces an emission at a wavelength of 532 nm. Conversion efficiency of the SHG is 25% with an output pulse energy of 20 µJ. The platform provides two wavelengths at either 1064 nm or 532 nm in crystallization of a-Si films for different crystallization regimes. The last stage of the platform has a sample processing assembly with a line-focus, which has an x-y motorized stage on a vibration isolated table. Speed of the motorized stage can be set between 1 mm/s–100 mm/s. Stage speed and repetition rate adjustments help to adjust overlap of successive pulses between 97.22–99.99%. Our platform has variety of tune parameters that make it a uniquely flexible system for delicate Si thin film crystallization. A large selection of operational parameter combinations, the wavelength selection and simultaneous x-y scanning capability allow users to crystallize Si films on various substrates optimally. The operation wavelength choice can be done by considering optical absorption and thickness of a-Si films on different types of substrates. Hence, delivering precise amount of absorbed energy in the line-focus irradiation is useful in increasing the average size of crystalline domains; moreover, nucleation of crystallites can be initiated either from the top or bottom interface of the film. Continuous and simultaneous motion of the stage in two dimensions allows to process arbitrary continuous pc-Si geometries in a-Si film. In summary, our multi-wavelength laser processing platform offers all-in-one LC utility for intricate LC-Si processing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Devices Instrumentation and Applications)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Open Source Completely 3-D Printable Centrifuge
Instruments 2019, 3(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments3020030 (registering DOI)
Received: 16 April 2019 / Revised: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 18 May 2019
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Abstract
Centrifuges are commonly required devices in medical diagnostics facilities as well as scientific laboratories. Although there are commercial and open source centrifuges, the costs of the former and the required electricity to operate the latter limit accessibility in resource-constrained settings. There is a [...] Read more.
Centrifuges are commonly required devices in medical diagnostics facilities as well as scientific laboratories. Although there are commercial and open source centrifuges, the costs of the former and the required electricity to operate the latter limit accessibility in resource-constrained settings. There is a need for low-cost, human-powered, verified, and reliable lab-scale centrifuges. This study provides the designs for a low-cost 100% 3-D printed centrifuge, which can be fabricated on any low-cost RepRap-class (self-replicating rapid prototyper) fused filament fabrication (FFF)- or fused particle fabrication (FPF)-based 3-D printer. In addition, validation procedures are provided using a web camera and free and open source software. This paper provides the complete open source plans, including instructions for the fabrication and operation of a hand-powered centrifuge. This study successfully tested and validated the instrument, which can be operated anywhere in the world with no electricity inputs, obtaining a radial velocity of over 1750 rpm and over 50 N of relative centrifugal force. Using commercial filament, the instrument costs about U.S. $25, which is less than half of all commercially available systems. However, the costs can be dropped further using recycled plastics on open source systems for over 99% savings. The results are discussed in the context of resource-constrained medical and scientific facilities. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Can We Extract Production Cross-Sections from Thick Target Yield Measurements? A Case Study Using Scandium Radioisotopes
Instruments 2019, 3(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments3020029 (registering DOI)
Received: 27 March 2019 / Revised: 10 May 2019 / Accepted: 11 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
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Abstract
In this work, we present an attempt to estimate the reaction excitation function based on the measurements of thick target yield. We fit a function to experimental data points and then use three fitting parameters to calculate the cross-section. We applied our approach [...] Read more.
In this work, we present an attempt to estimate the reaction excitation function based on the measurements of thick target yield. We fit a function to experimental data points and then use three fitting parameters to calculate the cross-section. We applied our approach to 43Ca(p,n)43Sc, 44Ca(p,n)44gSc, 44Ca(p,n)44mSc, 48Ca(p,2n)47Sc and 48Ca(p,n)48Sc reactions. A general agreement was observed between the reconstructions and the available cross-section data. The algorithm described here can be used to roughly estimate cross-section values, but it requires improvements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Instruments and Methods for Cyclotron Produced Radioisotopes)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
First Operation of a Resistive Shell Liquid Argon Time Projection Chamber: A New Approach to Electric-Field Shaping
Instruments 2019, 3(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments3020028
Received: 2 April 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 9 May 2019
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Abstract
We present a new technology for the shaping of the electric field in Time Projection Chambers (TPCs) using a carbon-loaded polyimide foil. This technology allows for the minimisation of passive material near the active volume of the TPC and, thus, is capable to [...] Read more.
We present a new technology for the shaping of the electric field in Time Projection Chambers (TPCs) using a carbon-loaded polyimide foil. This technology allows for the minimisation of passive material near the active volume of the TPC and, thus, is capable to reduce background events originating from radioactive decays or scattering on the material itself. Furthermore, the high and continuous electric resistivity of the foil limits the power dissipation per unit area and minimizes the risks of damages in the case of an electric field breakdown. Replacing the conventional field cage with a resistive plastic film structure called “shell” decreases the number of components within the TPC and, therefore, reduces the potential points of failure when operating the detector. A prototype liquid argon (LAr) TPC with such a resistive shell and with a cathode made of the same material was successfully tested for long-term operation with electric field values up to 1.6 k V cm 1 . The experiment shows that it is feasible to successfully produce and shape the electric field in liquefied noble-gas detectors with this new technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2019 Selected Papers from Instruments’ Editorial Board Members)
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Open AccessReview
Permanent Magnet-Based Quadrupoles for Plasma Acceleration Sources
Instruments 2019, 3(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments3020027
Received: 12 February 2019 / Revised: 23 March 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 23 April 2019
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Abstract
The laser plasma accelerator has shown a great promise where it uses plasma wakefields achieving gradients as high as GeV/cm. With such properties, one would be able to build much more compact accelerators, compared to the conventional RF ones, that could be used [...] Read more.
The laser plasma accelerator has shown a great promise where it uses plasma wakefields achieving gradients as high as GeV/cm. With such properties, one would be able to build much more compact accelerators, compared to the conventional RF ones, that could be used for a wide range of fundamental research and applied applications. However, the electron beam properties are quite different, in particular, the high divergence, leading to a significant growth of the emittance along the transport line. It is, thus, essential to mitigate it via a strong focusing of the electron beam to enable beam transport. High-gradient quadrupoles achieving a gradient greater than 100 T/m are key components for handling laser plasma accelerator beams. Permanent magnet technology can be used to build very compact quadrupoles capable of providing a very large gradient up to 500 T/m. We present different designs, modeled with a 3D magnetostatic code, of fixed and variable systems. We also review different quadrupoles that have already been built and one design is compared to measurements. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Output Power Limit in Energy Harvesting Systems Based on Magnetic Induction Incorporating High-Frequency Effects
Instruments 2019, 3(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments3020026
Received: 23 February 2019 / Revised: 13 April 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 22 April 2019
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Abstract
Wireless power transfer systems based on magnetic induction are usually modeled using the magneto-quasi-static approximation, and by neglecting skin effects and radiation losses. These assumptions imply that the extracted power can grow unlimitedly by increasing frequency or coil size. To bridge this gap, [...] Read more.
Wireless power transfer systems based on magnetic induction are usually modeled using the magneto-quasi-static approximation, and by neglecting skin effects and radiation losses. These assumptions imply that the extracted power can grow unlimitedly by increasing frequency or coil size. To bridge this gap, this work proposes general expression for the actual received power of magnetic induction-based energy harvesting transducer, extracting power from a given ambient magnetic field, while accounting for the high-frequency effects. A primary result is that the receiver’s output power is inherently limited by radiation losses at high frequencies and impaired by skin and proximity effects at medium frequencies. The approach provides a design tool for estimating the maximal power that can be delivered through a given transducer, and the optimal operating frequency. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Insights of the Qualified ExoMars Laser and Mechanical Considerations of Its Assembly Process
Instruments 2019, 3(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments3020025
Received: 1 April 2019 / Revised: 17 April 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 19 April 2019
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Abstract
1960 is the birth year of both the laser and the Mars exploration missions. Eleven years passed before the first successful landing on Mars, and another six before the first rover could explore the planet’s surface. In 2011, both technologies were reunited with [...] Read more.
1960 is the birth year of both the laser and the Mars exploration missions. Eleven years passed before the first successful landing on Mars, and another six before the first rover could explore the planet’s surface. In 2011, both technologies were reunited with the first laser landing on Mars as part of the ChemCam instrument, integrated inside the Curiosity Rover. In 2020, two more rovers with integrated lasers are expected to land on Mars: one through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Mars 2020 mission and another through the European Space Agency (ESA) ExoMars mission. The ExoMars mission laser is one of the components of the Raman Spectrometer instrument, which the Aerospace Technology National Institute of Spain (INTA) is responsible for. It uses as its excitation source a laser designed by Monocrom and manufactured in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF). In this paper, we present for the first time the final flight module laser that has been installed in the rover’s onboard laboratory and validated to be shipped to Mars in 2020. Particular emphasis is given to mechanical considerations and assembly procedures, as the ExoMars laser assembly has required soldering techniques in contrast to the standard adhesive technologies used for most laser assembly processes in order to fulfill the environmental and optical requirements of the mission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Devices Instrumentation and Applications)
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Open AccessCommunication
Vortex Target: A New Design for a Powder-in-Gas Target for Large-Scale Radionuclide Production
Instruments 2019, 3(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/instruments3020024
Received: 29 December 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2019 / Accepted: 31 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
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Abstract
This paper presents a design and working principle for a combined powder-in-gas target. The excellent surface-to-volume ratio of micrometer-sized powder particles injected into a forced carrier-gas-driven environment provides optimal beam power-induced heat relief. Finely dispersed powders can be controlled by a combined pump-driven [...] Read more.
This paper presents a design and working principle for a combined powder-in-gas target. The excellent surface-to-volume ratio of micrometer-sized powder particles injected into a forced carrier-gas-driven environment provides optimal beam power-induced heat relief. Finely dispersed powders can be controlled by a combined pump-driven inward-spiraling gas flow and a fan structure in the center. Known proton-induced nuclear reactions on isotopically enriched materials such as 68Zn and 100Mo were taken into account to be conceptually remodeled as a powder-in-gas target assembly, which was compared to thick target designs. The small irradiation chambers that were modeled in our studies for powdery ‘thick’ targets with a mass thickness (g/cm2) comparable to 68Zn and 100Mo resulted in the need to load 2.5 and 12.6 grams of the isotopically enriched target material, respectively, into a convective 7-bar pressured helium cooling circuit for irradiation, with ion currents and entrance energies of 0.8 (13 MeV) and 2 mA (20 MeV), respectively. Current densities of ~2 μA/mm2 (20 MeV), induces power loads of up to 4 kW/cm2. Moreover, the design work showed that this powder-in-gas target concept could potentially be applied to other radionuclide production routes that involve powdery starting materials. Although the modeling work showed good convective heat relief expectations for micrometer-sized powder, more detailed mathematical investigation on the powder-in-gas target restrictions, electrostatic behavior, and erosion effects during irradiation are required for developing a real prototype assembly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Instruments and Methods for Cyclotron Produced Radioisotopes)
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