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    JINST Instrumentation Theses Archive

2016 JINST TH 003    

Ph.d. degree
University of Naples "Federico II", Italy, 2016

Felicia Carla Tiziana Barbato

Supervisor: Prof. Giancarlo Barbarino

Research and development of a pioneering system for single-photon detection: the VSiPMT


  • Hybrid detectors
  • Photon detectors for UV, visible and IR photons (vacuum) (photomultipliers, HPDs, others)
  • Photon detectors for UV, visible and IR photons (solid-state) (PIN diodes, APDs, Si-PMTs, G-APDs, CCDs, EBCCDs, EMCCDs etc)
  • Cherenkov detectors


Photon detection is a key factor to study many physical processes in several areas of fundamental physics research (i.e. particle and astroparticle physics, biomedicine) as well as industrial application (i.e. medical equipment, environmental measurement equipment, quantum computing and oil well logging).
In the astroparticle physics experiments panorama, PMTs hold the stage.
The PhotoMultiplier Tubes are a one-century old technology which detection capabilities seem to be unrivaled up to now. These devices, nevertheless, suffer of some intrinsic drawbacks that are independent on the technological progress and that impose a limit on the achievable perfomances.
The solid state photodetectors, APDs and SiPMs, represent a technological progress that goes beyond PMTs' limits. In particular, SiPM technology has achieved a very high level of performances, but the size limited by the thermal noise partially compromises their application in astroparticle physics experiments.
A big challenge is, therefore, to find a way to use SiPMs to detect photons from large surfaces and/or volumes, as typically needed in many astroparticle physics experiments.
In this scenario an appealing solution is represented by the Vacuum Silicon PhotoMultiplier Tube. The VSiPMT is an original design for an innovative light detector invented in Naples to enlarge indirectly the SiPM sensitive surface and so to overcome the PMTs limits.
The VSiPMT is based on the combination of a SiPM with an hemispherical PMT standard envelope. The main idea is to replace the classical dynode chain of a PMT with a SiPM, the latter acting as an electron multiplier at low voltage.
The project started with a hard preliminary work aimed at proving the feasibility of the device, the results obtained convinced Hamamatsu Photonics, world leader company in PMT and SiPM manufacture, to realize for us two prototypes of the device.
The results obtained by the characterization of the two industrial prototypes were so encouraging that leads to the realization of a larger and usable prototype.
In this thesis all the phases of the VSiPMT project are described, with a particular focus on the industrial prototypes characterization phase and on study and the realization of the 1-inch prototype.

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