Famous Prototype Copyright: Tim Niggemann

A sophisticated method for the observation of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays (UHECRs) is the fluorescence detection technique of extensive air showers (EAS).

The First Auger Multi-pixel-photon-counter-camera for the Observation of Ultra-high-energy-cosmic-ray air Showers (FAMOUS) will be a small fluorescence telescope, instrumented with silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) as highly-sensitive light detectors. In comparison to photomultiplier tubes, SiPMs promise to have a higher photon-detection-efficiency. An increase in sensitivity allows to detect more distant and lower energy showers which will contribute to an enrichment of the current understanding of the development of EAS and the chemical composition of UHECRs.


The refractive optic of the air fluorescence telescope prototype FAMOUS consists of a big Fresnel lens with a diameter of 510 mm equal to the focal length f. To match a field of view of 1.5° x 1.5° per pixel, each pixel is composed of a Winston cone, i.e. a light concentrator, and a Hamamatsu S10985-100C array of four 3 x 3 mm2 SiPMs. The Winston cone has an entrance radius of 6.7 mm. The focal plane of FAMOUS features 64 hexagonally arranged pixels in total.

Detailed detector-response-simulations demonstrated that the current design of FAMOUS might be capable of detecting extensive air showers even in an urbanised, bright environment. Considering the small aperture diameter of FAMOUS and the moderate sensitivity of currently available SiPMs, the energy and spatial range, which can be covered with FAMOUS, is quite promising. FAMOUS is currently under construction.



RWTH Aachen:

  • SiPM characterisation studies
  • SiPM simulation
  • Winston cones
  • Raytracing simulations with Geant4

Laboratory of Instrumentation and Experimental Particles Physics​ (LIP):

  • SiPM characterisation studies
  • Readout electronics
  • Focal plane cooling
  • Winston cones

University of Granada:

  • SiPM characterisation studies