A Fast GRB Source Localization Pipeline for the Advanced Particle-astrophysics Telescope

the ADAPT Collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


We present a pipeline for fast GRB source localization for the Advanced Particle-astrophysics Telescope. APT records multiple Compton scatterings of incoming photons across 20 CsI detector layers, from which we infer the incident angle of each photon's first scattering to localize its source direction to a circle centered on the vector formed by its first two scatterings. Circles from multiple photons are then intersected to identify their common source direction. Our pipeline, which runs in real time on low-power hardware, uses an efficient tree search to determine the most likely ordering of scatterings for each photon (which cannot be measured due to the coarse time-scale of detection), followed by likelihood-weighted averaging and iterative least-squares refinement to combine all circles into an estimated source direction. Uncertainties in the scattering locations and energy deposits require that our pipeline be robust to high levels of noise. To test our methods, we reconstructed GRB events produced by a Geant4 [1] simulation of APT's detectors paired with a second simulator that models measurement noise induced by the detector hardware. Our methods proved robust against noise and the effects of pair production, producing sub-degree localization for GRBs with fluence 0.3 MeV/cm2. GRBs with fluence 0.03 MeV/cm2 provided fewer photons for analysis but could still be localized within 2.5 degrees 68% of the time. Localization time for a 1-second 1.0 MeV/cm2 GRB, measured on a quad-core, 1.4 GHz ARMv8 processor (Raspberry Pi 3B+), was consistently under 0.2 seconds - fast enough to permit real-time redirection of other instruments for follow-up observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number588
JournalProceedings of Science
StatePublished - Mar 18 2022
Event37th International Cosmic Ray Conference, ICRC 2021 - Virtual, Berlin, Germany
Duration: Jul 12 2021Jul 23 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NASA awards 80NSSC19K0625 and 20-APRA20-0148, NSF award CNS-1763503, Washington U.’s McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, and the Peggy and Steve Fossett Foundation. We are grateful to Washington U. technical staff including Richard Bose, Dana Braun, and Garry Simburger for contributions to the prototype detectors and the Antarctic flight of the APTlite instrument.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright owned by the author(s) under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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