Ruprecht Karls Universität Heidelberg

The physics of particle detectors

The course focuses on the physics of particle detectors. There is a variety of particle detectors, which exploit different aspects of the interaction of particles with matter to measure various properties of the particles themselves: their momentum, their energy, their velocity, their identity, etc. The working principles of gas detectors, silicon detectors, scintillators, calorimeters, and other detectors will be discussed. We will also see how many different detectors are combined into the modern high-energy physics experiments to cover wide-scope physics programmes.

The ALICE Time Projection Chamber (left), Monolithic Active Pixel Sensors (center), and lead tungstate crystals used in the CMS ECAL (right).

July 20: Announcements

  1. HighRR course on analogue signal processing, September 12-16 link

  2. Master Seminar WS 2016/7: "Particle tracking and identification at high rates" (info)

  3. Bachelor and master thesis topics are always available with me and my group:
    • we build GEM chambers for the largest ever GEM TPC!
    • we analyse data from ALICE at the LHC!
    • we do phenomenology work in collaboration with the theory department in Heidelberg!
    Just contact me :-) :


  • April 20, 2016: introduction
  • April 27, 2016: Interaction of particles and matter - 1 (ionization, electrons) Slides_Stachel2015_2 + Extra_sma2016
  • May 4, 2016: Interaction of particles and matter - 2 (photons, Cherenkov effect, transition radiation) Main slides as last week + Extra_sma2016
  • May 12, 13:00-14:00: Gas detectors - 1 Slides
  • May 18, 2016: Gas detectors - 2 Slides_Stachel2015_3 (from page 22)
  • May 25, 2016: Gas detectors - 3 (slides as above, from page 42 to the end)
  • June 1, 2016: Semiconductor detectors - 1 Slides_Stachel2015_4
  • June 8, 2016: Semiconductor detectors - 2 Fermi level (plus slides as above, from page 33)
  • June 15, 2016: Semiconductor detectors - 3 (slides as above, from page 56 to the end)
  • June 22, 2016: Scintillation counters Slides_Stachel2015_5
  • June 29, 2016: Momentum measurement and particle identification Slides_Stachel2015_6 and Slides_Stachel2015_7
  • July 6, 2016: Electromagnetic calorimeters Slides_Stachel2015_8
  • July 20, 2016: Hadron calorimeters Slides_Stachel2015_9

  • Journal Club:

    The journal club homepage can be reached here.


    master and bachelor students in physics




    The course includes the lectures and a journal club. The lectures take place on Wednesdays, from 9:15 to 11:00, in INF 227, SR 2.403. The journal club will take place on Friday, in INF 226, 01.106 (time to be discussed in the group). We strongly encourage participation to the journal club: we learn to critically read and discuss scientific papers about detectors and experiments, and learn a lot more in the discussions, beyond the reading of the papers.
    Lectures: Silvia Masciocchi
    Journal Club: Peter Glaessel, Dirk Wiedner, Silvia Masciocchi

    Journal club special:

    within the journal club, we will organize a few visits to laboratories in Heidelberg where new detectors are being developed and built, and a visit to the GSI research center in Darmstadt.

    EDV Abteilung