Subcategory: Astronomy and Astrophysics
Omani Tuitt - University of the Virgin Islands – St. Thomas
The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) recently won a proposal ‘The First Four-Year Physics and Astronomy Degree at the University of the Virgin Islands; A new Era in Caribbean Participation in NASA Science’ in collaboration with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The proposal included building a detector life-test chamber at UVI to support the degree program as well as assist NASA by running tests on detector components and reporting the results. The team at GSFC is developing X-ray polarimeters that can be used in detecting and imaging astrophysical sources such as black holes and neutron stars. The purpose of our research is to understand the effects that the degradation of gas has on the performance of the detectors. The current generation of time projection polarimeter incorporates a narrow gap detector assembled with epoxy. The addition of the epoxy allows a smaller gap with the minimal amount of changes from the original design, enhancing the performance of the detectors. With the use of epoxy, lifetime measurements have to be made to see how the epoxy detectors compared to previous iterations. We have been studying the effects on the narrow gap detector in the Mahaffey chamber in order to determine whether the epoxy affects the cleanliness of the gas. Tests have been conducted with a residual gas analyzer (RGA) in order to monitor the cleanliness of the gas inside of the Mahaffey chamber while being baked out. Results show that the detector is in fact getting cleaner as time progresses. The plan is to recreate a detector that meets the performance criteria for 2 years and has minimal degradation.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): The research is funded by NASA grant: NNX13AD28A
Faculty Advisor: David Morris,