Since about two decades, a renewed interest on aerogels has risen. These peculiar materials show fairly unique properties. Thus, they are under investigation for both scientific and commercial purposes and new optimized production processes are studied. In this work, the possibility of using aerogel in the field of radiation detection is explored. The idea is to substitute the gas filling in a ionization chamber with the aerogel. The material possesses a density about 100 times greater than ambient pressure air. Where as the open-pore structure should allow the charge carriers to move freely. Small hydrophobic silica aerogel samples were studied. A custom ionization chamber, capable of working both with aerogel or in the classic gas set up, was built. The response of the chamber in current mode was investigated using an X-ray tube. The results obtained showed, under proper conditions, an enhancement of about 60 times of the current signal in the aerogel configuration with respect to the classic gas one. Moreover, some unusual behaviours were observed, i.e. time inertia of the signal and super-/sub-linear current response with respect to the dose rate. While testing high electric fields, aerogel configuration seemed to enhance the Townsend's effects. In order to represent the observed trends, a trapping–detrapping model is proposed, which is capable to predict semi-empirically the steady state currents measured. The time evolution of the signal is semi-quantitatively represented by the same model. The coefficients estimated by the fits are in agreement with similar trapping problems in the literature. In particular, a direct comparison between the benchmark of the FET silica gates and aerogel case endorses the idea that the same type of phenomenon occurs in the studied case.

Preliminary study of silica aerogel as a gas-equivalent material in ionization chambers

Caresana, M.;ZORLONI, GABRIELE
2017-01-01

Abstract

Since about two decades, a renewed interest on aerogels has risen. These peculiar materials show fairly unique properties. Thus, they are under investigation for both scientific and commercial purposes and new optimized production processes are studied. In this work, the possibility of using aerogel in the field of radiation detection is explored. The idea is to substitute the gas filling in a ionization chamber with the aerogel. The material possesses a density about 100 times greater than ambient pressure air. Where as the open-pore structure should allow the charge carriers to move freely. Small hydrophobic silica aerogel samples were studied. A custom ionization chamber, capable of working both with aerogel or in the classic gas set up, was built. The response of the chamber in current mode was investigated using an X-ray tube. The results obtained showed, under proper conditions, an enhancement of about 60 times of the current signal in the aerogel configuration with respect to the classic gas one. Moreover, some unusual behaviours were observed, i.e. time inertia of the signal and super-/sub-linear current response with respect to the dose rate. While testing high electric fields, aerogel configuration seemed to enhance the Townsend's effects. In order to represent the observed trends, a trapping–detrapping model is proposed, which is capable to predict semi-empirically the steady state currents measured. The time evolution of the signal is semi-quantitatively represented by the same model. The coefficients estimated by the fits are in agreement with similar trapping problems in the literature. In particular, a direct comparison between the benchmark of the FET silica gates and aerogel case endorses the idea that the same type of phenomenon occurs in the studied case.
Ionization chambers; Silica aerogel; Trapping–Detrapping mechanisms; Nuclear and High Energy Physics; Instrumentation
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1037455
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