Use of a Mylar filter to eliminate vacuum ultraviolet pulse pileup in low-energy X-ray measurements

C. A. Galea, C. P.S. Swanson, S. A. Cohen, S. J. Thomas

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3 Scopus citations


We describe a method to reduce vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) pulse pileup (PPU) in X-ray pulse-height Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) signals. An Amptek FAST SDD, with C1 (Si3N4) window, measures bremsstrahlung emitted from PFRC-2 plasma to extract the electron temperature (Te) and density (ne). The C1 window has low transmissivity for photons with energy below 200 eV though will transmit some VUV and soft X-ray photons, which PFRC-2 plasmas abundantly emit. Multi-VUV-photon PPU contaminates the interpretation of x rays with energy > 100 eV, particularly in a low-energy exponential tail. The predicted low transmissivity of ∼1 μm thick Mylar [polyethylene terephthalate (PET)] to photons of energy <100 eV led to the selection of Mylar as the candidate filter to reduce VUV PPU. Experiments were conducted on an X-ray tube with a graphite target and on a quasi-Maxwellian tenuous plasma (ne ∼109 cm-3) with effective temperatures reaching 1500 eV. A Mylar filter thickness of 850 nm is consistent with the results. The Mylar-filter-equipped SDD was then used on the PFRC-2 plasma, showing a substantial reduction in the low-energy X-ray signal, supporting our hypothesis of the importance of VUV PPU. We describe the modeling and experiments performed to characterize the effect of the Mylar filter on SDD measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number093531
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation


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