Charged particle discrimination with silicon surface barrier detectors

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Coote, G.E.; Pithie, J.; Vickridge, I.C. 1996 Charged particle discrimination with silicon surface barrier detectors . Lower Hutt: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences science report 96/25 34 p.

Abstract: The application for materials analysis of nuclear reactions that give rise to charged particles is a powerful surface analytical and concentration depth profiling technique. Spectra of charged particles, with energies in the range 0.1 to 15 MeV, emitted from materials irradiated with beams of light nuclei such as deuterons are measured with silicon surface barrier detectors. The spectra from multi-elemental materials typically encountered in materials research are usually composed of an overlapping superposition of proton, alpha, and other charged particle spectra. Interpretation of such complex spectra would be simplified if a means were available to electronically discriminate between the detector response to the different kinds of charged particle. We have investigated two methods of discriminating between different types of charged particles. The fast charge pulses from a surface barrier detector have different shapes, depending on the spatial distribution of energy deposition of the incident particle. Fast digitisation of the pulses, followed by digital signal processing provides one avenue for discrimination. A second approach is to use a thin transmission detector in front of a thick detector as a detector telescope. For a given incident energy, different types of charged particles will lose different amounts of energy in the thin detector, providing an alternative means of discrimination. We show that both approaches can provide significant simplification in the interpretation of charged particle spectra in practical situations, and suggest that silicon surface barrier detectors having graded electronic properties could provide improved discrimination compared to the current generation of detectors having homogeneous electronic properties. (auth)