Counting photons at low temperature with a streaming time-to-digital converter

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We present some aspects of photon counting to study scintillators at low temperatures. A time-to-digital converter (TDC) had been configured to acquire several-minute-long streams of data, simplifying the multiple photon counting coincidence technique. Results in terms of light yield and time structure of a ZnWO4 scintillator are comparable to those obtained with a fast digitizer. Streaming data also provides flexibility in analyzing the data, in terms of coincidence window between the channels, and acquisition window of individual channels. We discuss the effect of changing these parameters, and use them to confirm low-energy features in the spectra of the number of detected photons, such as the 60 keV line from Am-241 in the ZnWO4 sample. We lastly use the TDC to study the transmission of the optical cryostat employed in these studies at various temperatures. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-52
Number of pages13
JournalNuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research Section A-Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Rare event search
  • Scintillation
  • Low temperature
  • Photon counting
  • Decay time
  • Light yield

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