Experimental Astronomy

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 67–86 | Cite as

Simulations of Galactic Cosmic Ray impacts onto the Herschel/PACS photoconductor arrays with Geant4 code

  • C. Bongardo
  • P. Andreani
  • G. De Zotti
Original Article


We present results of simulations performed with the Geant4 software code of the effects of Galactic Cosmic Ray impacts on the photoconductor arrays of the PACS instrument. This instrument is part of the ESA-Herschel payload, which will be launched in 2008 and will operate at the Lagrangian L2 point of the Sun-Earth system. Both the Satellite plus the cryostat (the shield) and the detector act as source of secondary events, affecting the detector performance. Secondary event rates originated within the detector and from the shield are of comparable intensity. The impacts deposit energy on each photoconductor pixel but do not affect the behaviour of nearby pixels. These latter are hit with a probability always lower than 7%.

The energy deposited produces a spike which can be hundreds times larger than the noise. We then compare our simulations with proton irradiation tests carried out for one of the detector modules and follow the detector behaviour under ‘real’ conditions.


Instrumentation Detectors Photoconductor Galaxy: cosmic rays ISM: cosmic rays 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di PadovaPadovaItaly
  2. 2.INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di TriesteTriesteItaly
  3. 3.Max-Planck-Institute für Extraterrestrische PhysikGarchingGermany

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