Characterizations and Diagnostics of Compton Light Source

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The High Intensity Gamma-ray Source (HIGS) at Duke University is a world class Compton light source facility. At the HIGS, a Free-Electron Laser (FEL) beam is Compton scattered with an electron beam in the Duke storage ring to produce an intense, highly polarized, and nearly monoenergetic gamma-ray beam with a tunable energy from about 1 MeV to 100 MeV. This unique gamma-ray beam has been used in a wide range of basic and application research fields from nuclear physics to astrophysics, from medical research to homeland security and industrial applications.

The capability of accurately predicting the spatial, spectral and temporal characteristics of a Compton gamma-ray beam is crucial for the optimization of the operation of a Compton light source as well as for the applications utilizing the Compton beam. In this dissertation, we have successfully developed two approaches, an analytical calculation method and a Monte Carlo simulation technique, to study the Compton scattering process. Using these two approaches, we have characterized the HIGS beams with varying electron beam parameters as well as different collimation conditions. Based upon the Monte Carlo simulation, an end-to-end spectrum reconstruction method has been developed to analyze the measured energy spectrum of a HIGS beam. With this end-to-end method, the underlying energy distribution of the HIGS beam can be uncovered with a high degree of accuracy using its measured spectrum. To measure the transverse profile of the HIGS beam, we have developed a CCD based gamma-ray beam imaging system with a sub-mm spatial resolution and a high contrast sensitivity. This imaging system has been routinely used to align experimental apparatus with the HIGS beam for nuclear physics research.

To determine the energy distribution of the HIGS beam, it is important to know the energy distribution of the electron beam used in the collision. The electron beam energy and energy spread can be measured using the Compton scattering technique. In order to use this technique, we have developed a new fitting model directly based upon the Compton scattering cross section while taking into account the electron-beam emittance and gamma-beam collimation effects. With this model, we have successfully carried out a precise energy measurement of the electron beam in the Duke storage ring.

Alternatively, the electron beam energy can be measured using the Resonant Spin Depolarization technique, which requires a polarized electron beam. The radiative polarization of an electron beam in the Duke storage ring has been studied as part of this dissertation program. From electron-beam lifetime measurements, the equilibrium degree of polarization of the electron beam has been successfully determined. With the polarized electron beam, we will be able to apply the Resonant Spin Depolarization technique to accurately determine the electron beam energy. This on-going research is of great importance to our continued development of the HIGS facility.






Sun, Changchun (2009). Characterizations and Diagnostics of Compton Light Source. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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