- Mgr inż. Piotr Bielówka
- Mgr inż. Michał Babij
- Mgr inż Katarzyna Gut
Techtra is the only Polish company that has successfully transferred technology from the CERN laboratory and implemented it in Polish industry. The transfer involved initiating production of Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) foils, which are a key component of a cutting-edge ionizing radiation detector, utilized mainly in physics laboratories. The task of such equipment is to conduct fundamental research, e.g. to test the Higgs boson, often called the “God particle”. As a result of R&D activities (co-funded as part of the “Innotech” project), Techtra has devised and released the first GEM detector made available on the commercial market. Although the device has a limited operating area, it has been created in accordance with the assumptions of “plug & play” technology, which means the purchaser receives the complete system which can be put to use within an hour. Techtra is the only company making this technology commercially available. The detector can operate using natural background radiation, eliminating the necessity of using artificial sources of radiation, such as radioactive isotopes or RTG lamps. This enables the use of the detector both in scientific centers and in schools or universities.
Introduced in 1968 by Charpak at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) multiwire proportional chamber revolutionized the particle detection systems in high energy physics. In time new generations of the invention have been implemented for fast detection and localization charged particles. One of them is Gas Electron Multipliers (GEM). GEM is made of a 50 μm thick polyimide foil covered on both sides with a 5 μm copper layer. A hexagonal pattern of double-conically shaped holes with a diameter of 60–70 μm is etched at a pitch of 140 μm into this sandwich structure. With suitable potentials applied, it acts as powerful preamplifier for electrons released by ionizing radiation in a gas, transferring most of the multiplied electron charge to a pickup electrode or to another amplifying device.
TTA Techtra is the first company that acquired license for commercial production of GEM foils and gem detectors. As the only European producer Techtra has delivered over 1000 foils for High Energy Physics laboratories.
GEM detectors are well suited for photon detection. When the cathode is covered with a photosensitive layer then electrons will be knocked out by photons and will be driven towards the GEM for further amplification. Such a detector combines the wide dynamic range, good spatial resolution, high gain and resistance for high radiation hardness. They have also proved to be robust, light-weight and offer excellent performances and reliability suited for use in the harsh environments.
In over 6 years of experience we have mastered microetching technologies in metals and polymers with high accuracy. On that basis and collaboration with detectors users we have designed and built whole GEM based radiodetector system that consist of:
– GEM foils,
– Read-out system,
– High voltage supply,
– Computing software,
– Visualization and data storage software.
The “plug and play” system is very versatile, may be used for: radiography, homeland security, radioactive material detection, education, others.
The main advantages of GEM detectors over others constructions are:
– Ability to withstand high radiation doses,
– Resistance to ageing effects,
– Universal applications,
– Designed to work with isotopes, X-ray tubes, accelerators and cosmic rays,
– Low costs