We report on the development of a dedicated polarimeter design that is capable of studying the linear polarization of hard X-rays (50-300 keV) from gamma-ray bursts and solar flares. This compact design, based on the use of a large area position-sensitive PMT (PSPMT), is referred to as GRAPE (Gamma-RAy Polarimeter Experiment). The PSPMT is used to determine the Compton interaction location within an array of small plastic scintillator elements. Some of the photons that scatter within the plastic scintillator array are subsequently absorbed by a small centrally-located array of CsI(Tl) crystals that is read out by an independent multi-anode PMT. One feature of GRAPE that is especially attractive for studies of gamma-ray bursts is the significant off-axis response (at angles > 60 degrees). The modular nature of this design lends itself toward its accomodation on a balloon or spacecraft platform. For an array of GRAPE modules, sensitivity levels below a few percent can be achieved for both gamma-ray bursts and solar flares. Here we report on the latest results from the testing of a laboratory science model.


Space Science Center, Physics

Publication Date


Journal Title

SPIE Proceedings



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


© (2003) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering.