Alpha Spectra, Inc. is a large throughput scintillation detector manufacturing company. Founded in 1986, we built a successful detector manufacturing operation that serves customers worldwide. We got started in the industry by providing quick turnaround on special prototypes. We continue to offer this valuable service.
Our company has grown for many reasons. We have proven our capability to deliver quality products, with reasonable delivery and prices. In the process of delivering our expertise we have manufactured well over 150,000 units; for some designs we have delivered as many as 50,000 units. Our engineering staff has created over 1500 detector designs. If we don’t have the design that you need, we have one that is probably very close.
The scintillator business has several standalone key manufacturing steps. We decided many years ago that we wanted to build a fully integrated crystal manufacturing company that included all the key steps. It took years to gain the expertise needed. We have achieved our goal. We are proud to say that the NaI(Tl) that we grow is the best in the world . We maintain the high-quality standards because we have established controls for each important manufacturing process. The result, our staff fabricates superb scintillation detectors.
Our key manufacturing steps include:
- Chemical Processing for the Purification of the Raw Powder
- Large Volume Crystal Ingot Growth
- Crystal Cutting and Machining
- Metal Housing Fabrication
- Scintillation Detector Assembly
- Final Quality Testing.
Our work starts with an in-house process for purifying the growth powder. Raw crystal material is first run through a carefully designed and strictly controlled purification process to yield some of the best NaI material in the world. By preparing the material at our facility we control the quality of the starting material that goes into our crystal growth furnaces.
The photo here shows a sample of one of our large volume NaI(Tl) ingots grown. At ASI we utilize a proprietary crystal growth technique that yields high-grade scintillation detector ingots with exceptional light yield. After the ingot is grown it must be annealed by slowly bringing the hot ingot back to room temperature. This process helps eliminate any stresses that may have built up in the boule during growth. We have been growing NaI(Tl) ingots for over 20 years. The excellent performance of our detectors is a result of these many years of experience improving both our material purifying process and our crystal growth process. Our purification and growth capacity is large enough that we can inventory large volumes of grown ingots. When you place an order for a detector, the material has already been grown. We grow several scintillation materials at ASI including NaI(Tl), CsI(Na), CsI(Tl) and Li6I(Eu) and we are always looking at opportunities to grow other materials.
Crystal Cutting and Machining
After growth, the ingot is taken to our crystal cutting and machining work area. Here we perform the same machining steps that are done in a metal working machine shop: sawing, turning and milling. Here are photos of some of the different shapes that we routinely make here at ASI.
Metal Housing Fabrication
Our metalworking shop has digital turning, digital milling, CNC milling, shearing and all the necessary hand tools to provide both prototype and large run assemblies for crystal encapsulation. The machine shop has the measurement instruments and gauges necessary to ensure our crystal housings meet the specified tolerances. The housing being machined here is for a large low-background annular detector.
Our detectors are assembled in walk in dry rooms. We have multiple large dry rooms that provide enough space to meet our production demands. Special ultra-low background assembly stations are utilized when we build detectors with our WIMPScint material.
All manufacturing steps described here are performed at our facilities in Grand Junction, CO. Our plant includes two large square footage buildings. The buildings provide enough space for both manufacturing and storage of critical inventory.
The Final Product
Our exceptionally pure starting material and unique method for crystal growth has proven to provide some of the best scintillation NaI(Tl) detectors available in the world. There are many fascinating commercial, industrial and research applications that utilize our products. From design engineering to your lab or field use, you can depend on the quality of our detectors. We guarantee our work. Learn more about our applications on this web site.
The quality of our material is summed up by Hyun Su Lee from the Institute of Basic Science in Korea.
“…. recently developed NaI(Tl) crystals grown by Alpha Spectra Inc. provide higher light yields and this makes it interesting to study their PSD performance and evaluate their sensitivity. [Hyun Su Lee’s, et al., Pulse-shape discrimination between electron and nuclear recoils in a NaI(Tl) crystal, Jour. Of High Energy Physics, Aug. 2015].
ASI has also spent many years working with the DM scientists at the University of Zaragoza’s ANAIS experiment. They are performing their experiment at the Canfranc Underground Laboratory in Spain. They have recently reported: “It must be remarked the outstanding light collection measured for the nine AS modules, at the level of 15 phe/keV (see Table 3). Only D6 module shows a light collection slightly below 13 phe/keV. This high light output has a direct impact in both resolution and energy threshold, but it also allows to improve strongly the signal vs noise filtering down to the threshold and hence, reduce analysis uncertainties in the search for dark matter annual modulation. [J. Amaré et. al., Performance of ANAIS-112 experiment after the first year of data taking, Eur. Phys. J. C79(3).”
We have spent many years improving the quality of our NaI(Tl) material and we are proud of the superior performance that it delivers!
OUR MATERIAL IS BRIGHTER… AND BRIGHTER IS BETTER.
Every customer has expectations that they will receive a detector that will operate satisfactorily for many years. Our manufacturing methods are the result of many years of experience. We have developed quality control procedures at critical points in the assembly process that provide confidence that the final product will perform with exceptional quality. Guaranteeing that our scintillation detectors will either meet or surpass our customer’s specifications.
The test apparatus that is used in our Final QC Test Station utilizes the same equipment that you probably use in your lab. More details are provided in the PDFs given here.
ASI Final Quality Control Test Equipment Set Up
ASI Final Quality Control Test Sample Data Sheets
If your detector is not performing properly contact us immediately and we will work with you to resolve the problem.
Please refer to the ASI Limited Warranty for additional information.