Comparative Performance of the Photomultiplier Tube and the Silicon Avalanche Photodiode When Used as Detectors in Angular Scattering Measurements
Monday, 15 December 2014
We report the results of a comparative study of two types of photometric detectors that are commonly used for, spacecraft, ground-based telescope, and laboratory observations in support of precise angular scattering investigations of the type described in a companion paper (Nelson et al., this meeting). The performance of the state of the art Hamamatsu C12703-01 Silicon Avalanche photodiode (SAD) was compared to that of the Hamamatsu R928 Photomultiplier tube (PMT). The Hamamatsu R928 evolved from a sequence of photometric detectors with a long history of use in support of laboratory and remote sensing studies, tracing backwards to include the RCA 1P21 and the RCA 931A. Two newly acquired SADs were bench tested along with a new R928 photomultiplier tube that was thermoelectrically cooled to -10 deg C. The SAD’s employed electronic thermal compensation supplied by the manufacturer. The SADs and PMT measured electromagnetic radiation from solid-state lasers of wavelength 635 nm after the radiation was reflected from diffusely-scattering surfaces of varying albedos. The SADs were housed on tripods that were co-aligned with the PMT and laser. The photometric detectors were placed 4.3 meters from a reflecting disk. The disk was rotated to reduce the effect of laser speckle. All detectors in the experiment were equipped with notch filters that transmit light only of the wavelength emitted by the laser. Three SR830 DSP Lock-in Amplifiers were connected to the detectors and various setting configurations were compared in order to optimize signal to noise. Neutral Density filters (ND 0,3 and ND 0,9) were placed in the light path to determine the linearity in the response function of the detectors. We conclude that in this application SADs and PMTs produce comparable photometric precision and fidelity. SADs offer greater convenience because thermal compensation circuitry is integrated with the detector. This work was partially supported by NASA’s Cassini Science Investigation program.