Sub-milliwatt spectroscopic personal radiation device based on a silicon photomultiplier

Max Ghelman, Eugene Paperno, Dimitry Ginsburg, Tzahi Mazor, Yossi Cohen, Alon Osovizky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A novel spectroscopic personal radiation device (SPRD) with sub-milliwatt power consumption is proposed. The SPRD is based on a compact, low-power, high-gain silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) coupled to a high-light-yield CsI(Tl) scintillator. The SiPM is operated in a special mode, in which its output is voltage rather than charge. In this mode, the SiPM output becomes higher and rises more slowly than in the charge amplification mode. Such a mode allows us to use a lower-frequency front-end amplifier with a lower gain and lower power consumption. Moreover, the very beginning of the slower, large-amplitude pulses is easier to detect with a comparator. At each detection event, the rest of the SPRD circuitry is activated only for the time needed for the pulse-processing. Because at background the radiation count rate is very low, some tens per second, and the duration of the signal-processing is very short, about 10 μs, the power-demanding SPRD circuitry is not activated most of the time, and its average power consumption is very low. Proper matching of the scintillator and the SiPM helps us to achieve the required gain from the radiation sensor with a relatively low-power, low-gain front-end amplifier. Optimizing the input impedance of the front-end amplifier helps us to obtain the required SiPM output amplitude and shape. Because it takes some time for the signal processing circuit to be activated, an additional passive delay and shaping circuit is used. An experimental model of this device is built, and tested. It is superior to other devices due to its very low power consumption, its portability, and its non-sensitivity to microphonics. The power consumption of the SPRD is about 0.3 mW by the radiation sensor and about 0.3 mW by the electronics (for a total of 0.6 mW as compared to above 20 mW consumed by conventional spectroscopic radiation devices). The power consumption has been measured at count rates up to a few hundreds per second, which are much higher than expected in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)866-869
Number of pages4
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2011


  • Low power
  • Scintillator
  • Silicon photomultiplier (SiPM)
  • Spectroscopic portable radiation device (SPRD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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