Opening new windows for SiPMs in space experiments with the BETA ASIC
August 11, 2023
Compactness, robustness and low-voltage operation are some of the characteristics that make silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) attractive for space applications. Signals recorded by SiPMs on board satellites must be processed and digitized minimizing the size, cost and power consumption of the electronics. The BETA ASIC is a fully programmable chip designed to amplify, shape and digitize the signal of up to 64 channels, with a power consumption of only $\sim$1 mW/channel. Thanks to its dual path gain, the BETA chip is capable of resolving single photoelectrons with SNR$>$5, while at the same time achieving a dynamic range of $\sim$3500 photoelectrons. In this way, BETA can provide a cost-effective solution for the readout of SiPM in space missions. We briefly describe the key characteristics of the BETA ASIC, and present the evaluation of its performance when reading out an array of SiPMs, as well as the results of a test beam where the BETA was used for the readout of the fiber tracker (FIT) of the HERD experiment. Finally, we focus on the new possibilities for using SiPMs in space opened by the BETA ASIC beyond HERD, like the development of a radiation monitor for LISA.
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