In accelerator systems, beam lines are generally equipped with diagnostic elements, such as Faraday cups and beam profile monitors (BPM), to optimize beam transport. These diagnostic elements, or at least commercial ones, are designed to only work with continuous beams, and their typical maximum sensitivity is about few tens of pA. Thus, in the case of diagnosis of rare isotope beams in accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS), Faraday cups and BPMs are not suitable on the high-energy side of the tandem accelerator, after energy-mass-charge analysis. For example, in 14C AMS, even for a modern sample, the expected counting rate is a few tens of Hz; in these conditions, a commercial BPM cannot be used. On the other hand, checking the shape and the position of the rare isotope beam hitting the detector can be important in order to better identify signals in the detector itself, thus also helping in reducing the measurement background.
This paper presents a prototype BPM especially designed for low-intensity beams. The BPM is based on a multiwire proportional chamber characterized by 2 grids of anode wires, oriented perpendicular to each other in order to measure both the x and the y coordinates of the particle impact point. Details about the design and the electronics of the device are given, and the first test measurements are discussed.