Study of a possible silicon photomultiplier based readout of the large plastic scintillator neutron detector NeuLAND

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Thomas Hensel - , Chair of Nuclear Physics, TUD Dresden University of Technology, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • David Weinberger - , Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • Daniel Bemmerer - , Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • Konstanze Boretzky - , GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research (Author)
  • Igor Gašparić - , GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Ruder Boskovic Institute (Author)
  • Daniel Stach - , Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • Andreas Wagner - , Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (Author)
  • Kai Zuber - , Chair of Nuclear Physics, TUD Dresden University of Technology (Author)


The NeuLAND (New Large-Area Neutron Detector) plastic-scintillator-based time-of-flight detector for 0.1–1.6GeV neutrons is currently under construction at the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR), Darmstadt, Germany. In its final configuration, NeuLAND will consist of 3,000 2.7m × 5 cm × 5 cm big plastic scintillator bars that are read out on each end by fast timing photomultipliers. Here, data from a comprehensive study of an alternative light readout scheme using silicon photomultipliers (SiPM) are reported. For this purpose, a NeuLAND bar was instrumented on each end with a SiPM-based prototype of the same geometry as a 1” photomultiplier tube, including four 6 × 6mm2 SiPMs, amplifiers, high voltage supply, and microcontroller. Tests were carried out using the 35MeV electron beam from the superconducting Electron Linac for beams with high Brilliance and low Emittance (ELBE) with its picosecond-level time jitter in two different modes of operation, namely parasitic mode with one electron per bunch and single-user mode with 1–60 electrons per bunch. Acqiris fast digitisers were used for data acquisition. In addition, off-beam tests using cosmic rays and the NeuLAND data acquisition scheme have been carried out. Typical time resolutions of σ≤ 120ps were found for ≥95% efficiency for minimum ionising particles, improving on previous work at ELBE and exceeding the NeuLAND timing goal of σ< 150ps. Over a range of 10–300MeV deposited energy in the NeuLAND bar, the gain was found to deviate by ≤10% (≤20%) from linearity for 35μm (75μm) SiPM pitch, respectively, satisfactory for calorimetric use of the full NeuLAND detector. The dark rate of the prototype studied was found to be lower than the expected cosmic-ray induced background in NeuLAND.


Original languageEnglish
Article number167972
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023



  • Dark rate, Electron beam, NeuLAND, PMT, Saturation, Scintillator, SiPM