Single Photon Extraction for FACT’s SiPMs allows for Novel IACT Event Representation
2017 August 16
Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes provide large gamma-ray collection areas > 10^4 m^2 and successfully probe the high energetic gamma-ray sky by observing extensive air showers during the night. The First G-APD Cherenkov Telescope (FACT) explores silicon based photoelectric converters (called G-APDs or SiPMs) which provide more observation time with strong moonlight, a more stable photon gain over years of observations, and mechanically simpler imaging cameras. So far, the signal extraction methods used for FACT originate from sensors with no intrinsic quantized responses like photomultiplier tubes. This standard signal extraction is successfully used for the long time monitoring of the gamma-ray flux of bright blazars. However, we now challenge our classic signal extraction and explore single photon extraction methods to take advantage of the highly stable and quantized single photon responses of FACT's SiPM sensors. Instead of having one main pulse with one arrival time and one photon equivalent extracted for each pixel, we extract the arrival times of all individual photons in a pixel’s time line which opens up a new dimension in time for representing extensive air showers with an IACT.
In this contribution, we will introduce our novel IACT event representation which is a list of single photon arrival times for each pixel (Photon-Stream). We will discuss our single photon extractor, its performance and its limitations. We will present example events where we identify individual, single air shower Cherenkov photons in the pool of individual, single night sky background photons.