Contribution Oral presentation
MPGD-based counters of single photons developed for COMPASS RICH-1
In fundamental research, gas detectors of single photons are a must in the field of Cherenkov imaging techniques (RICH counters) for particle identification in large momentum ranges and with wide coverage of the phase space domain. These counters, already extensively used, are foreseen in the setups of future experiments in a large variety of fields in nuclear and particle physics. The quest of novel gaseous photon detector is dictated by the fact that the present gaseous photon detectors have unique characteristics concerning operation in magnetic field, low material budget and cost, but they suffers of severe limitations in effective efficiency, rates, life time and stability, discouraging their use in high precision and high rate experiments. We are developing large size THick GEM (THGEM)-based detectors of single photons. The R&D program includes the complete characterization of the THGEM electron multipliers, the study of the aspects related to the detection of single photons and the engineering towards large size detector prototype. Our most recent achievements include: dedicated studies concerning the ion back-flow to the photo-cathode; relevant progress in the engineering aspects, in particular related to the production of large-size THGEMs, where the strict correlation between the local gain-value and the local thickness-value has been demonstrated and a 300 cm × 300 mm² active area detector has been successfully operated at the CERN PS T10 test beam; the introduction of a new hybrid detector architecture offering promising indication, which is formed by a THGEM layer which acts as CsI support and pre-amplification device followed by a MICROMEGAS multiplication stage. The general status of the R&D program and the recent progress are reported.