Date of Award

Winter 2022

Project Type


Program or Major

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Richard A Messner

Second Advisor

James M Ryan

Third Advisor

John LaCourse


The second-generation SONTRAC instrument is being designed by UNH and NASA to detect solar neutrons, a game-changing observation for understanding particle acceleration at the Sun. The new instrument targets small satellites with highly constrained size, mass, and power; bringing a new set of challenges to the design of the instrument electronics. SONTRAC uses silicon photomultiplier detectors to image neutron scattered proton tracks in a scintillating fiber bundle. Individual detector readout provides the best performance, but is not achievable within the size, mass and power constrains for a small satellite. To overcome this problem, we explored detectors configured in strips to generate 1D projections. The strip readout concept encodes the proton track positions in 1D projections reducing the number of channels, but it requires reconstruction. Reconstruction of proton tracks poses a difficult challenge because tracks are encoded in the same set of 1D projections and can be ambiguous. Detector and electronic noise further degrade the reconstruction accuracy and requires pre-processing to reduce noise, ambiguity and improve track reconstruction. This work entailed the design of a 1D projection readout system and development of a reconstruction algorithm to recover the proton tracks from the projections for simulated and real data in the presence of detector and electronic noise.