Academic Year 2022/2023 - Teacher: Giuseppe POLITI

Expected Learning Outcomes

Experimental Approach

Providing a good level of knowledge in the field of particle detectors used in nuclear and particle physics with the related electronics and data acquisition systems.

Developing capabilities to use autonomously this instrumentation in order to mount different typical experimental set up of nuclear and subnuclear physics with various techniques, with related data aquisition and following analysis

Increasing critical and judgment skills thanks to the indipendent realization of laboratory experiment requiring a continuous facing of practical experimental problems

Developping communication skill thanks to the presentation of the driven experiment and of the obtained results in a written report, and of acquired knowledge in an oral exam.

Pushing to an indipendent prosecution of studying by stimulating the research on the course items that are in continuous evolution due to the research in the field.  

Course Structure

Classes on theoretical parts (3CFU) 21 hours

Experimental sessions in laboratory with increasing degree of autonomy (3CFU)  45 hours

Should the circumstances require online teaching, appropriate modifications to what is hereby stated may be introduced, in order to achieve the main objectives of the course.

Required Prerequisites

Basic notions of general physics, modern physics, nuclear physics

Attendance of Lessons

Classes should normally be attended, see "Regolamento Didattico del Corso di Studi"

Laboratoy sessions are all mandatory

Detailed Course Content

Interaction radiation-matter

Charged particles: energy loss, range. Cherenckov effect. Transition radiation. Photon interaction: photoelectric, compton, pair production. Electromagnetic and adronic shower. neutron interactions. Simulation software for energy loss calculation. 

General characteristic of detectors

Operative modes. Energy and time resolutions. Dead time. Efficiency. Activity measurement.

Gas detector

basic principles and working regime. Ionization chamber. proportional counters. Geiger_Muller counter. Multi Wire Proportional Chamber. Microstrip Gas Chamber. Drift chamber. Resistive Plate Chamber. Gas Electron Multiplier. Time Projection Chamber. Aging of gas detectors. Ionization chamber with liquid noble elements.

Scintillator detectors

Organic and inorganic scintillators: light production mechanisms. Cherenckov light. Light collection. Scintillating fibers. Wave Length Shifter. Photodetectors.

Soild state detectors

properties of semiconductors, doping, pn junction. Silicon detector. Photodetectors. Litium dritft detector. Hiper Pure germanium detectors. Segmented and drift detectors. Pixel detectors. Radiation damages.


Characteristics and transport on analogical signals. Module for signal treatments: preamplifier, amplifier, discriminator, analog to digital converter. Integrated electronics. Characteristic and treatment of logical signals. Digitalization of signals.

Data Acquisition

Monoparametric acquistion system. Trigger systems. Multiparamentric data acquisition systems. Sofware for data acquisition and treatment.

Detection and identification methodologies

gamma spectrometry, compton soppression, doppler correction. Neutron detection and spectrometry. Energy loss measurement and particle identification. Time of flight and mass identification. Pulse shape discrimination for different detector. Momentum measurement and particle identification with magnetic deflectio. identification methods for particle physics. transition radiation detector. Calorimeters. Monte Carlo simulations of detection process.

Application of Nulcear Physics techniques

Ion Beam Analysis methodologies: RBS and PIXE. Examples of application to cultural heritage.

Radiaion detector in medical field. Scintillator and solid state detectors. Digital radiography. Computer thomography, single and double photon. 

Laboratory Experiences:

Gamma detection and high resolution spectrometry, gamma coincidence measurement, environemental radioactivity and source activity measurement.

Alpha particle detection with ionization chamber - silicon detector telescope.

Time of flight measurement of alpha particles with micoro channel plate and silicon detectors.

Detection and pulse shape discrimination of alpha and gamma radiation with signal digitizer. 

Ion beam measurement - PIXE and RBS - with singletron accelerator.

Textbook Information

1) G.F. KNOLL,  Radiation detection and Measurement, J.Wiley 1999

2) W.R. LEO, Techniques for nuclear and particle physics experiments, Springer-Verlag 1987-1994

3) Slides provided by the teacher

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1Radiation matter interaction. Main detector characteristics
2Gas detectors. Scintillation detectors.
3Solid state detectors.
4Solid state detectors.
5Front end electronics anda data acquisition
6Identification and detection methodologies
7Aplications of nuclear techniques
8Laboratory experimental sessions


Learning Assessment Procedures

Experimental session on different experiments, presentation of a final report with obtained results and data analysis on one of the experience chosen by chance.

Oral exam with discussion of report and of all the subjects studied during classes.

Exam dates on SMART-EDU and DFA website. 

Exams may take place online, depending on circumstances.

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

Non exhaustive list of examples:

Radiation matter interaction

gas detector

Scintillation detector

Solid state detector

Front end electronics and data acquistion systems

identification methodologies

Application of nuclear techniques