Low-Energy Proton Accelerator for Detector Testing
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Future fundamental physics experiments in neutron beta-decay require highly efficient detection of protons. Many of the experiments use electrostatic acceleration of the recoil protons into large-area silicon detectors for this purpose. A 30~keV proton accelerator was designed, created, and commissioned in order to characterize silicon detectors of this type. Final construction and initial results on the performance of the accelerator are presented. A unique aspect of the work is the use of a Penning ion generator as an ion source. The accelerator produced protons with momentum resolution ~1%. The ion source produced current stably, over a range of parameters, and over long periods of time. The accelerator achieved proton rates sufficient to calibrate silicon detectors.