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Detector, Electron Multiplier

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This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


Manufacturer: Bendix Corp.

Country of Origin: United States of America

Dimensions: 3-D: 8 x 3.3 x 2.9cm (3 1/8 x 1 5/16 x 1 1/8 in.)

Materials: Overall - metal and glass, electronics

Bendix manufactered this open cathode electron multiplier and detector circa early 1960s, typical of detectors flown on early OSO spacecraft. The cathode is not enclosed in a glass or other insulating envelope since it was designed to work in the vacuum of space. A sufficiently energetic UV photon striking the cathode at the entrance grid of the device results in the release of one or more electrons. The first of a series of permanent magnets then directs the emitted electrons onto a strip of specially coated glass. This results in the release of a large number of secondary electrons. Repetition of this process leads to a cascade of charge with the resulting current gain as high as 10 million fold.

The detector was transferred to NASM by NASA (GSFC) in 1995.

Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Inventory number: A19950049000

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