Developing a silica aerogel radiator for the HELIX ring-imaging Cherenkov system

Makoto Tabata, Patrick Allison, James J. Beatty, Stephane Coutu, Mark Gebhard, Noah Green, David Hanna, Brandon Kunkler, Mike Lang, Keith McBride, Samuel I. Mognet, Dietrich Müller, James Musser, Scott Nutter, Nahee Park, Michael Schubnell, Gregory Tarlé, Andrew Tomasch, Gerard Visser, Scott P. WakelyIan Wisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This paper reports the successful fabrication of silica aerogel Cherenkov radiators produced in the first batches from a 96-tile mass production performed using pin-drying technique in our laboratory. The aerogels are to be used in a ring-imaging Cherenkov detector in the spectrometer of a planned balloon-borne cosmic-ray observation program, HELIX (High Energy Light Isotope eXperiment). A total of 36 transparent, hydrophobic aerogel tiles with a high refractive index of 1.16 and dimensions of 10 cm × 10 cm × 1 cm will be chosen as the flight radiators. Thus far, 40 out of the 48 tiles fabricated were confirmed as having no tile cracking. In the first screening, 8 out of the first 16 tiles were accepted as flight-qualified candidates, based on basic optical measurement results. To fit the aerogel tiles into a radiator support structure, the trimming of previously manufactured prototype tiles using a water-jet cutting device was successful.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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