Analysis and Mitigation of Pulse-Pile-Up Artifacts in Plasma Pulse-Height X-ray Spectra

Taosif Ahsan, Charles P.S. Swanson, Chris Galea, Sangeeta P. Vinoth, Tony Qian, Tal Rubin, Samuel A. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Pulse pile-up in pulse-height energy analyzers increases when the incident rate of pulses increases relative to the inverse of the dead time per pulse of the detection system. Changes in the observed energy distributions with incident rate and detector-electronics-formed pulse shape then occur. We focus on weak high energy tails in X-ray spectra, important for measurements on partially ionized, warm (50–500 eV average electron energy), pure hydrogen plasma. A first-principles two-photon pulse-pile-up model is derived specific to trapezoidal-shaped pulses; quantitative agreement is found between the measurements and the model’s predictions. The model is then used to diagnose pulse-pile-up tail artifacts and mitigate them in relatively low count-rate spectra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-71
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


  • 2-photon
  • X-ray
  • count rate
  • dead time
  • energy analyzers
  • plasma
  • pulse pile up


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