Physics and astronomy

Particle Physics Detector Technology

Module code: 880F3
Level 7 (Masters)
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Workshop
Assessment modes: Open examination, Coursework

The module explores the technical manner in which some of the scientific questions in the fields of experimental particle physics, including high energy physics, neutrino physics etc., are being addressed. The student is introduced to many of the experimental techniques that are used to study the particle phenomena. The focus is on the demands those scientific requirements place on the detector technology and current state-of-the-art technologies.

This module will provide you with:

  • an introduction to some of the basic concepts of particle physics
  • an overview of some of the topical cutting edge questions in the field
  • an understanding of some key types of experiments
  • a detailed understanding of the underlying detector technologies.

Topics covered include:

  1. Intro to particle structure
    1. particles and forces, masses and lifetimes
    2. coupling strengths and interactions
    3. cross sections and decays
  2. Accelerators
    1. principles of acceleration
    2. kinematics, center of mass
    3. fixed target experiments, colliders
  3. Reactors
    1. nuclear fission reactors, fission reactions, types of reactors
    2. neutron sources, absorption and moderation, neutron reactions
    3. nuclear fusion, solar and fusion reactors
  4. Detectors
    1. gaseous
    2. liquid (scintillator, cerenkov, bubble chamber)
    3. solid-state
    4. scintillation
    5. calorimeters, tracking detectors
    6. particle identification
  5. Monte Carlo modelling
    1. physics

Module learning outcomes

  • By the end of the courses, a successful student should be able to: Demonstrate a basic understanding of the standard model of particle physics and the observable phenomena from particle interactions Discuss some key classes of experiments and answer quantitative questions regarding their design Critically evaluate different detector technologies Perform basic simulations of detector behaviour