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).

The lecture is now fixed on Wednesdays, 14:00 - ~15:30, in room INF 227 / SR 1.404.
The journal club takes place on Fridays, 12:30 - 13:30, in room INF 226 / Golden Box


Übungsgruppenverwaltung PhÜ (here)


  • April 19, 2017: Introduction (slides)
  • SPECIAL DATE!!! April 27 at 16:00, 2017, in room INF226 K1 (golden box): Interaction of particles and matter - 1 (ionization, electrons) (slides)
  • May 3, 2017: Interaction of particles and matter - 2 (photons, Cherenkov effect, transition radiation) (slides)
  • May 10, 2017: Gas detectors - 1 (slides)
  • May 17, 2017: Gas detectors - 2 (slides)
  • May 24, 2017: Semiconductor detectors - 1 (slides)
  • May 31, 2017: Semiconductor detectors - 2 (slides)
  • June 7, 2017: The lecture is replaced by the journal club
  • June 14, 2017: Semiconductor detectors - 3 (slides)
  • June 21, 2017: Scintillation counters (slides by Ralf Averbeck)
  • June 28, 2017: Electromagnetic calorimeters (slides)
  • July 5, 2017: Momentum measurement (see the slides by Johanna Stachel here)
  • July 12, 2017: Hadron calorimeters (slides)
  • July 19, 2017: ALICE (slides) and PANDA (slides by Lars Schmitt)

  • Journal Club:

    The journal club NEW 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 14:00 to 15:30, in room INF 227 / SR 1.404. The journal club takes place on Friday, in INF 226 / Golden Box, at 12:30. 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.

    Thesis opportunities:

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