WS2014_15 Physics of Detectors

Physics of Particle Detectors

Aim of the Course:

The course aims to provide a detailed picture of the state of art of particle detectors in Physics.

During the course, detection techniques used in the leading experiments will be reviewed and presented in a comprehensive way. Technology used in already running experiments in nuclear and particle physics and the most innovative and cutting edge solutions will be shown.

Evolution of the detection techniques can not be understood without an historical perspective. Available radiation sources (natural sources and cosmic rays in the beginning and accelerator and collider facilities nowadays) set strong constraints on the design and specifications of the detectors used in experiments.

The size and scale of the variables that are measured require ingenious techniques to gather the useful information about the microscopic structure of the Universe.

The technology will be presented in a coherent way, sorting the different techniques by properties of the radiation-matter interactions, excited media and geometry.

The tiny excitation produced by particles crossing certain medium is amplified within the same medium or externally with specially designed devices or electronics. Then, the signals are digitised and recorded by a certain acquisition system. All the stages of the detection and the most important processes involved will be shown with real examples.

Perspective for the development of new technologies will be also given.

From practical point of view, laboratory will consist in improve the working skills with equipment used in particle physics and in run some proposed experiments which will be monitored by experienced staff.

Finally, an exercise will be proposed to create and present a design of a new experiment of particle physics using the obtained knowledge from the course and recommended literature. Different aspects such as aims, used technology, geometry and feasibility will be of utmost importance. A good detector is the one which matches the requirements of the experiment offering the best performance at the lowest complexity and price.


  • Particle Data Group
  • General physical concepts
  • Measurement and Detection of Radiation, Nicholas Tsoulfanidis, Taylor & Francis, USA.
  • Techniques for Nuclear and Particle Physics Experiments, William R. Leo, Springer.
  • Radiation Detection and Measurement, Fourth Edition,Glenn F. Knoll, Wiley.