SBIR Phase I: Tandem-ABALONE Detector Module

Period of Performance: 06/01/2017 - 11/30/2017

$225K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

PHOTONLAB, INC.
3315 Oyster Bay Ave Array
Davis, CA 95616
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is many-fold. The novel photosensor technology developed within this project will enable a new generation of ultrasensitive experiments in the broad field of astroparticle physics?designed and constructed on previously impossible scales This technology is advantageous as detectors of ultrahigh energy cosmic radiation, neutrinos, dark matter and more. In addition, our technology addresses societal needs, including advancements in medical imaging and nuclear security. In medical application, the same core technology can enable the production of cost-effective ultrasensitive whole-body-enclosing medical scanners (patent pending) for preventive, virtually harmless (low-dose) cancer screening of the symptom-free population (a currently non-existent service). For nuclear security application, this technology can enable widespread and cost-effective detection of illicit fissionable and radioactive materials (also a currently non-existent possibility). In general, this project can lead to the creation of a highly profitable and multi-faceted hi-tech industry. The proposed project will meet the needs of our lead customer/partner, an international collaboration aiming at the detection of cosmic neutrino radiation at the South Pole site with unprecedentedly high sensitivity. Such sensitivity will be achieved in a volume of 10km^3 of ice, instrumented with 2500 m deep chains of detectors, and only a detector concept and cost-effective hi-tech production method like ours can reach that goal. However, harsh conditions at the experimental site require specific modifications to the core design of our invention. Pairs of modified photosensors will need to be packed into each detector unit, which will be electrically grounded on its surface, so the standard high-voltage connection must be swapped with the ground-potential. Consequently, the photodiode will be moved from the middle to the periphery, and specially designed light pipes will bring the light to them. At the same time, we will design a high-voltage power supply that will be integrated within the narrow spacing between the two photosensors. Additionally, this assembly must operate at -70 oC. Therefore, we will produce modified photosensors, design and produce all the additional components and interfaces, test the detectors under near-realistic conditions, and share them with our customer/partner for further evaluation and feedback.