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Detector Physics

Introduction to fundamental processes behind a wide range of modern detectors: photon, neutron, particle, ion and radiation detectors. Specific detectors used in today's particle, nuclear, atomic and molecular physics research are examined in detail. You will gain first-hand experience of detector use through laboratory exercises.

PMT array, resistive anode encoder, hadron calorimeter
Pictures of three types of detectors. Left: the bottom PMT array in the Xenon Dark Matter detector in Gran Sasso. Middle: a resistive anode encoder at the DESIREE facility in Stockholm. Right: ATLAS liquid argon electromagnetic calorimeter and scintillating hadronic calorimeter at CERN.

This course reviews the basic interactions of radiation, particles, and ions with matter and how these are exploited to design detectors and sensors to detect photons, neutrons, low energy ions as well as high energy particles.

These include photo-electric effect, Compton scattering, pair production, excitation, ionization, bremsstrahlung, Cherenkov radiation, transtion radiation, nuclear reactions, secondary emission, particle showers.

A wide range of modern detectors used in research and industry are looked at in details: charged-particle detectors, semiconductor detectors including CCD and CMOS sensors, gas detectors, scintillation detectors, proportional chambers, calorimeter, Cherenkov detectors, bolometric detectors.

You will be introduced to the detection systems based on such detectors and their applications in molecular, atomic, nuclear, particle physics, quantum optics as well as in medicine, accelerator physics and other fields.

  • Course structure

    This is a second cycle course given at half speed during daytime. This course can also be taken as a third cycle course.

    Teaching format

    The teaching and learning activities are lectures, problem solving classes, an independent literature study project, and laboratory exercises.


    The examination consists of an oral exam, a seminar presentation, and written reports on the laboratory exercises.


    Christophe Clément

    Phone: +468-553 786 58


  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Claus Grupen, Boris A. Shwartz, "Particle detectors", Second Edition, Cambridge University Press, 2008

  • Course reports

  • More information

    When can I apply?

    Registration is open from mid-March to mid-April for courses that run in the fall, and from mid-September to mid-October for courses that run in the spring.

    Please note that many courses open for late registration in mid-July for courses in the autumn term and in mid-December for courses in the spring term.

    Read our step by step guide on how to apply

  • Contact

    Course coordinator and teacher:
    Christophe Clément, phone: +468-553 786 58, e-mail:

    Course assistants:
    Sze Chun Yiu, e-mail:

    Olga Fałowska-Pietrzak, e-mail:

    Academic advisor at the Department of Physics:

    Student office: