K. J. Coakley

National Institute of Standards and Technology, GAI, Maryland, United States

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Publications (84)188.89 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present measurements of nonproportionality in the scintillation light yield of bismuth germanate (BGO) for gamma-rays with energies between 6 keV and 662 keV. The scintillation light was read out by avalanche photodiodes (APDs) with both the BGO crystals and APDs operated at a temperature of approximately 90 K. Data were obtained using radioisotope sources to illuminate both a single BGO crystal in a small test cryostat and a 12-element detector in a neutron radiative beta-decay experiment. In addition one datum was obtained in a 4.6 T magnetic field based on the bismuth K x-ray escape peak produced by a continuum of background gamma rays in this apparatus. These measurements and comparison to prior results were motivated by an experiment to study the radiative decay mode of the free neutron. The combination of data taken under different conditions yields a reasonably consistent picture for BGO nonproportionality that should be useful for researchers employing BGO detectors at low gamma ray energies.
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    ABSTRACT: Many current and future dark matter and neutrino detectors are designed to measure scintillation light with a large array of photomultiplier tubes (PMTs). The energy resolution and particle identification capabilities of these detectors depend in part on the ability to accurately identify individual photoelectrons in PMT waveforms despite large variability in pulse amplitudes and pulse pileup. We describe a Bayesian technique that can identify the times of individual photoelectrons in a sampled PMT waveform without deconvolution, even when pileup is present. To demonstrate the technique, we apply it to the general problem of particle identification in single-phase liquid argon dark matter detectors. Using the output of the Bayesian photoelectron counting algorithm described in this paper, we construct several test statistics for rejection of backgrounds for dark matter searches in argon. Compared to simpler methods based on either observed charge or peak finding, the photoelectron counting technique improves both energy resolution and particle identification of low energy events in calibration data from the DEAP-1 detector and simulation of the larger MiniCLEAN dark matter detector.
    Astroparticle Physics 04/2015; 65. DOI:10.1016/j.astropartphys.2014.12.006 · 4.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Near-field scanning microwave microscopy offers great potential to facilitate characterization, development and modeling of materials. By acquiring microwave images at multiple frequencies and amplitudes (along with the other modalities) one can study material and device physics at different lateral and depth scales. Images are typically noisy and contaminated by artifacts that can vary from scan line to scan line and planar-like trends due to sample tilt errors. Here, we level images based on an estimate of a smooth 2-d trend determined with a robust implementation of a local regression method. In this robust approach, features and outliers which are not due to the trend are automatically downweighted. We denoise images with the Adaptive Weights Smoothing method. This method smooths out additive noise while preserving edge-like features in images. We demonstrate the feasibility of our methods on topography images and microwave |S11||S11| images. For one challenging test case, we demonstrate that our method outperforms alternative methods from the scanning probe microscopy data analysis software package Gwyddion. Our methods should be useful for massive image data sets where manual selection of landmarks or image subsets by a user is impractical.
    Ultramicroscopy 11/2014; 150. DOI:10.1016/j.ultramic.2014.11.014 · 2.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cryogenic design and performance of an apparatus used to magnetically confine ultracold neutrons (UCN) is presented. The apparatus is part of an effort to measure the beta-decay lifetime of the free neutron and is comprised of a high-current superconducting magnetic trap that surrounds ∼21l of isotopically pure 4He cooled to approximately 250mK. A 0.89nm neutron beam can enter the apparatus from one end of the magnetic trap and a light collection system allows visible light generated within the helium by decays to be transported to detectors at room temperature. Two cryocoolers are incorporated to reduce liquid helium consumption.
    11/2014; 64:40-50. DOI:10.1016/j.cryogenics.2014.09.008
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    ABSTRACT: GaN nanowires were coated with tungsten by means of atomic layer deposition. These structures were then adapted as probe tips for near-field scanning microwave microscopy. These probes displayed a capacitive resolution of ∼0.03 fF, which surpasses that of a commercial Pt tip. Upon imaging of MoS2 sheets with both the Pt and GaN nanowire tips, we found that the nanowire tips were comparatively immune to surface contamination and far more durable than their Pt counterparts.
    Nanotechnology 09/2014; 25(41):415502. DOI:10.1088/0957-4484/25/41/415502 · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many current and future dark matter and neutrino detectors are designed to measure scintillation light with a large array of photomultiplier tubes (PMTs). The energy resolution and particle identification capabilities of these detectors depend in part on the ability to accurately identify individual photoelectrons in PMT waveforms despite large variability in pulse amplitudes and pulse pileup. We describe a Bayesian technique that can identify the times of individual photoelectrons in a sampled PMT waveform without deconvolution, even when pileup is present. To demonstrate the technique, we apply it to the general problem of particle identification in single-phase liquid argon dark matter detectors. Using the output of the Bayesian photoelectron counting algorithm described in this paper, we construct several test statistics for rejection of backgrounds for dark matter searches in argon. Compared to simpler methods based on either observed charge or peak finding, the photoelectron counting technique improves both energy resolution and particle identification of low energy events in calibration data from the DEAP-1 detector and simulation of the larger MiniCLEAN dark matter detector.
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    ABSTRACT: We used a broadband, atomic-force-microscope-based, scanning microwave microscope (SMM) to probe the axial dependence of the charge depletion in a p-n junction within a gallium nitride nanowire (NW). SMM enables the visualization of the p-n junction location without the need to make patterned electrical contacts to the NW. Spatially resolved measurements of S11′, which is the derivative of the RF reflection coefficient S11 with respect to voltage, varied strongly when probing axially along the NW and across the p-n junction. The axial variation in S11′ effectively mapped the asymmetric depletion arising from the doping concentrations on either side of the junction. Furthermore, variation of the probe tip voltage altered the apparent extent of features associated with the p-n junction in S11′ images.
    Applied Physics Letters 06/2014; 104(26):263107-263107-5. DOI:10.1063/1.4886963 · 3.52 Impact Factor
  • Next Generation Experiments to Measure the Neutron Lifetime; 05/2014
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    ABSTRACT: The direct search for dark matter is entering a period of increased sensitivity to the hypothetical Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP). One such technology that is being examined is a scintillation only noble liquid experiment, MiniCLEAN. MiniCLEAN utilizes over 500 kg of liquid cryogen to detect nuclear recoils from WIMP dark matter and serves as a demonstration for a future detector of order 50 to 100 tonnes. The liquid cryogen is interchangeable between argon and neon to study the A$^{2}$ dependence of the potential signal and examine backgrounds. MiniCLEAN utilizes a unique modular design with spherical geometry to maximize the light yield using cold photomultiplier tubes in a single-phase detector. Pulse shape discrimination techniques are used to separate nuclear recoil signals from electron recoil backgrounds. MiniCLEAN will be spiked with additional $^{39}$Ar to demonstrate the effective reach of the pulse shape discrimination capability. Assembly of the experiment is underway at SNOLAB and an update on the project is given.
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the fabrication of a GaN nanowire probe for near-field scanning microwave microscopy. A single nanowire was Pt-bonded to a commercial Si cantilever prior to evaporation of a Ti/Al coating to provide a microwave signal pathway. Testing over a microcapacitor calibration sample shows the probe to have capacitance resolution of at least 0.7 fF with improved sensitivity and reduced uncertainty compared with a commercial microwave probe. High wear resistance of the defect-free nanowire enabled it to maintain a tip radius of 150 nm after multiple contact-mode scans while demonstrating nanometer-scale topographical resolution.
    Applied Physics Letters 01/2014; 104(2-2):023113. DOI:10.1063/1.4861862 · 3.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Commonly in neutron image experiments, the interpretation of the point spread function (PSF) is limited to describing the achievable spatial resolution in an image. In this article it is shown that for various PSF models, the resulting blurring due to the PSF affects the quantification of the neutron transmission of an object and that the effect is separate from the scattered neutron field from the sample. The effect is observed in several neutron imaging detector configurations using different neutron scintillators and light sensors. In the context of estimation of optical densities with an algorithm that assumes a parallel beam, the effect of blurring fractionates the neutron signal spatially and introduces an effective background that scales with the area of the detector illuminated by neutrons. Examples are provided that demonstrate that the illuminated field of view can alter the observed neutron transmission for nearly purely absorbing objects. It is found that by accurately modeling the PSF, image restoration methods can yield more accurate estimates of the neutron attenuation by an object.
    Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment 11/2013; 729:316-321. DOI:10.1016/j.nima.2013.07.013 · 1.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: At the NIST Neutron Imaging Facility, we collect neutron projection data for both the dry and wet states of a Proton-Exchange-Membrane (PEM) fuel cell. Transmitted thermal neutrons captured in a scintillator doped with lithium-6 produce scintillation light that is detected by an amorphous silicon detector. Based on joint analysis of the dry and wet state projection data, we reconstruct a residual neutron attenuation image with a Penalized Likelihood method with an edge-preserving Huber penalty function that has two parameters that control how well jumps in the reconstruction are preserved and how well noisy fluctuations are smoothed out. The choice of these parameters greatly influences the resulting reconstruction. We present a data-driven method that objectively selects these parameters, and study its performance for both simulated and experimental data. Before reconstruction, we transform the projection data so that the variance-to-mean ratio is approximately one. For both simulated and measured projection data, the Penalized Likelihood method reconstruction is visually sharper than a reconstruction yielded by a standard Filtered Back Projection method. In an idealized simulation experiment, we demonstrate that the cross validation procedure selects regularization parameters that yield a reconstruction that is nearly optimal according to a root-mean-square prediction error criterion.
    IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science 10/2013; 60(5):3945-3954. DOI:10.1109/TNS.2013.2279512 · 1.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a near-field scanning microwave microscope (NSMM) that has been configured for imaging photovoltaic samples. Our system incorporates a Pt-Ir tip inserted into an open-ended coaxial cable to form a weakly coupled resonator, allowing the microwave reflection S(11) signal to be measured across a sample over a frequency range of 1 GHz - 5 GHz. A phase-tuning circuit increased impedance-measurement sensitivity by allowing for tuning of the S(11) minimum down to -78 dBm. A bias-T and preamplifier enabled simultaneous, non-contact measurement of the DC tip-sample current, and a tuning fork feedback system provided simultaneous topographic data. Light-free tuning fork feedback provided characterization of photovoltaic samples both in the dark and under illumination at 405 nm. NSMM measurements were obtained on an inhomogeneous, third-generation Cu(In,Ga)Se(2) (CIGS) sample. The S(11) and DC current features were found to spatially broaden around grain boundaries with the sample under illumination. The broadening is attributed to optically generated charge that becomes trapped and changes the local depletion of the grain boundaries, thereby modifying the local capacitance. Imaging provided by the NSMM offers a new RF methodology to resolve and characterize nanoscale electrical features in photovoltaic materials and devices.
    The Review of scientific instruments 08/2012; 83(8):083702. DOI:10.1063/1.4740513 · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As part of an experiment to measure the spectrum of photons emitted in beta-decay of the free neutron, we developed and operated a detector consisting of 12 bismuth germanate (BGO) crystals coupled to avalanche photodiodes (APDs). The detector was operated near liquid nitrogen temperature in the bore of a superconducting magnet and registered photons with energies from 5 keV to 1000 keV. To enlarge the detection range, we also directly detected soft X-rays with energies between 0.2 keV and 20 keV with three large area APDs. The construction and operation of the detector is presented, as well as information on operation of APDs at cryogenic temperatures.
    Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment 07/2012; 691. DOI:10.1016/j.nima.2012.06.018 · 1.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Free neutron beta decay is a fundamental process in the Standard Model that can be used to test the weak interaction as well as provide information about primordial ^4He abundance. Recent precision measurements of the neutron lifetime have led to reduced confidence in the absolute value of this parameter; due presumably to unknown systematic effects. This work seeks to measure the neutron lifetime using a different technique that employs a superconducting magnetic trap to confine ultracold neutrons. Neutrons are loaded into the trap through the superthermal technique where 1 mEv neutrons down scatter from phonons in liquid helium losing the majority of their energy. Neutrons in the appropriate spin state are then confined by the static magnetic field. During the past year, over 400 run cycles of data were collected using the upgraded apparatus. Analysis of previous data sets was limited due to large numbers of background events relative to the neutron decay signal. An increased number of trapped neutrons as well as a analysis using pulse shape discrimination allows one to significantly increase the overall precision of the measurement. Details of this ongoing analysis will be presented with preliminary results.
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    ABSTRACT: We have performed measurements of scintillation light in liquid neon, observing a signal yield in our detector as high as (3.5 $\pm$ 0.4) photoelectrons/keV. We measure pulse shape discrimination efficiency between electronic and nuclear recoils in liquid neon from 50 and 300 keV nuclear recoil energy. We also measure the \leff\, parameter in liquid neon between 30 and 370 keV nuclear recoil energy, observing an average \leff$=0.24$ above 50 keV. We observe a dependence of the scintillation time distribution and signal yield on the pressure and temperature of the liquid neon.
    Physical Review C 11/2011; 86(1). DOI:10.1103/PhysRevC.86.015807 · 3.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the development of a fast neutron detector using a liquid scintillator doped with enriched Li-6. The lithium was introduced in the form of an aqueous LiCl micro-emulsion with a di-isopropylnaphthalene-based liquid scintillator. A Li-6 concentration of 0.15 % by weight was obtained. A 125 mL glass cell was filled with the scintillator and irradiated with fission-source neutrons. Fast neutrons may produce recoil protons in the scintillator, and those neutrons that thermalize within the detector volume can be captured on the Li-6. The energy of the neutron may be determined by the light output from recoiling protons, and the capture of the delayed thermal neutron reduces background events. In this paper, we discuss the development of this 6Li-loaded liquid scintillator, demonstrate the operation of it in a detector, and compare its efficiency and capture lifetime with Monte Carlo simulations. Data from a boron-loaded plastic scintillator were acquired for comparison. We also present a pulse-shape discrimination method for differentiating between electronic and nuclear recoil events based on the Matusita distance between a normalized observed waveform and nuclear and electronic recoil template waveforms. The details of the measurements are discussed along with specifics of the data analysis and its comparison with the Monte Carlo simulation.
    Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment 06/2011; 646(1). DOI:10.1016/j.nima.2011.04.019 · 1.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The photoresponse of three different photovoltaic Cu(In, Ga)Se2 (CIGS) samples as well as GaAs and silicon bulk samples is measured using near-field scanning microwave microscopy (NSMM). Modeling predicts light-dependent conductivity values for bulk samples, as well as a preliminary understanding of more complicated multilayer photovoltaics. The spectral dependence of CIGS samples is probed at 405, 635, 808 and 980 nm wavelengths. In addition, we present two-dimensional raster scans that may reveal grain-boundary effects under illumination.
    Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), 2011 37th IEEE; 01/2011
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    ABSTRACT: The photoresponse of three different photovoltaic Cu(In, Ga)Se2 (CIGS) samples as well as GaAs and silicon bulk samples is measured using near-field scanning microwave microscopy (NSMM). Modeling predicts light-dependent conductivity values for bulk samples, as well as a preliminary understanding of more complicated multilayer photovoltaics. The spectral dependence of CIGS samples is probed at 405, 635, 808 and 980 nm wavelengths. In addition, we present two-dimensional raster scans that may reveal grain-boundary effects under illumination.
  • Physical Review C 03/2010; 81(3):039901-039901. DOI:10.1103/PHYSREVC.81.039901 · 3.88 Impact Factor