SIPM use in Future Space Instruments
2017 August 16
Silicon photomultipliers (SiPM) are small solid state photodetectors which can provide single photon counting with high quantum efficiency, fast response and good charge resolution. These devices have similar gains (10$^6$) as photomultiplier tubes but operate with a much lower bias ( < 60V). Many experiments are looking to use these devices instead of PMTs and ground-based experiments such as CMS, MAGIC and CTA are studying their use. There are also plans to utilize SiPMs in future astroparticle physics experiments like HELIX and TIGERISS for which they are particularly suited due to their compact size and low power consumption. In this paper we review the characteristics of SiPM and discuss the particular challenges using these in space experiments. We will report testing done in a Pb beam at CERN in November 2016 which included a SensL C-series SIPM of 6mm in size. This SiPM was tested in a light box with a piece scintillator and two 1 inch Hamamatsu R1924A PMT so a comparison of the response of the two photodetectors can be made. In addition we placed the SiPM directly in the lead beam for a period to test if exposure to heavy ions would cause degradation in its sensitivity.