We have developed a modular design for a hard X-ray and soft gamma-ray polrimeter that we call GRAPE (Gamma RAy Polarimeter Experiment). Optimized for the energy range of 50-300 keV, the GRAPE design is a Compton polarimeter based on the use of an array of plastic scintillator scattering elements in conjunction with a centrally positioned high-Z calorimeter detector. Here we shall review the results from a laboratory model of the baseline GRAPE design. The baseline design uses a 5-inch diameter position sensitive PMT (PSPMT) for readout of the plastic scintillator array and a small array of CsI detectors for measurement of the scattered photon. An improved design, based on the use of large area multi-anode PMTs (MAPMTs), is also discussed along with plans for laboratory testing of a prototype. An array of GRAPE modules could be used as the basis for a dedicated science mission, either on a long duration balloon or on an orbital mission. With a large effective FoV, a non-imaging GRAPE mission would be ideal for studying polarization in transient sources (gamma ray bursts and solar flares). It may also prove useful for studying periodically varying sources, such as pulsars. An imaging system would improve the sensitivity of the polarization measurements for transient and periodic sources and may also permit the measurement of polarization in steady-state sources.


Space Science Center, Physics

Publication Date


Journal Title

SPIE Proceedings



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


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