Fast 2-D soft X-ray imaging device based on micro pattern gas detector

D. Pacella, R. Bellazzini, A. Brez, G. Pizzicaroli

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4 Citations (Scopus)


An innovative fast system for X-ray imaging has been developed at ENEA Frascati (Italy) to be used as diagnostic of magnetic plasmas for thermonuclear fusion. It is based on a pinhole camera coupled to a Micro Pattern Gas Detector (MPGD) having a Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) as amplifying stage. This detector (2.5 cm × 2.5 cm active area) is equipped with a 2-D read-out printed circuit board with 144 pixels (12 × 12), with an electronic channel for each pixel (charge conversion, shaping, discrimination and counting). Working in photon counting mode, in proportional regime, it is able to get X-ray images of the plasma in a selectable X-ray energy range, at very high photon fluxes (106ph s-1mm-2all over the detector) and high framing rate (up to 100 kHz). It has very high dynamic range, high signal to noise ratio (statistical) and large flexibility in the optical configurations (magnification and views on the plasma). The system has been tested successfully on the Frascati Tokamak Upgrade (FTU), having central electron temperature of a few keV and density of 1020m-3, during the summer 2001, with a one-dimensional perpendicular view of the plasma. In collaboration with ENEA, the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and Princeton Plasma Physics (PPPL), this system has been set up and calibrated in the X-ray energy range 2-8 keV and it has been installed, with a two-dimensional tangential view, on the spherical tokamak NSTX at Princeton. Time resolved X-ray images of the NSTX plasma core have been obtained. Fast acquisitions, performed up to 50 kHz of framing rate, allow the study of the plasma evolution and its magneto-hydrodynamic instabilities, while with a slower sampling (a few kHz) the curvature of the magnetic surfaces can be measured. All these results reveal the good imaging properties of this device at high time resolution, despite of the low number of pixels, and the effectiveness of the fine controlled energy discrimination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332 - 336
Number of pages5
JournalNuclear Physics B - Proceedings Supplements
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics

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