The absolute calibration of a microchannel plate (MCP) assembly using a Thomson spectrometer for laser-driven ion beams is described. In order to obtain the response of the whole detection system to the particles’ impact, a slotted solid state nuclear track detector (CR-39) was installed in front of the MCP to record the ions simultaneously on both detectors. The response of the MCP (counts/particles) was measured for 5–58 MeV carbon ions and for protons in the energy range 2–17.3 MeV. The response of the MCP detector is non-trivial when the stopping range of particles becomes larger than the thickness of the detector. Protons with energies E ≳ 10 MeV are energetic enough that they can pass through the MCP detector. Quantitative analysis of the pits formed in CR-39 and the signal generated in the MCP allowed to determine the MCP response to particles in this energy range. Moreover, a theoretical model allows to predict the response of MCP at even higher proton energies. This suggests that in this regime the MCP response is a slowly decreasing function of energy, consistently with the decrease of the deposited energy. These calibration data will enable particle spectra to be obtained in absolute terms over a broad energy range.

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