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X-ray transition radiation can be used to measure the Lorentz factor of relativistic particles. Standard transition radiation detectors (TRDs) typically incorporate thin plastic foil, foam, or fiber radiators and gas-filled X-ray detectors, and are sensitive up to γ ∼ 104. To reach Lorentz factors up to γ ∼ 105, thicker, denser radiators can be used, which consequently produce X-rays of harder energies (≳ 100 keV). At these energies, scintillator detectors are more efficient in detecting the hard X-rays, and Compton scattering of the X-rays out of the path of the particle becomes important. The Compton scattering can be utilized to separate the transition radiation from the ionization background spatially. The use of conducting metal foils is predicted to yield enhanced signals compared to standard nonconducting plastic foils of the same dimensions. We have designed and built an inorganic scintillator-based Compton Scatter TRD optimized for high Lorentz factors and exposed it to high-energy electrons at the CERN SPS. We present the results of the accelerator tests and comparisons to simulations, demonstrating (1) the effectiveness of the Compton Scatter TRD approach; (2) the performance of conducting aluminum foils; and (3) the ability of a TRD to measure energies approximately an order of magnitude higher than previously used in very high-energy cosmic ray studies. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment

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