University of Surrey - Guildford

Registry > Module Catalogue
View Module List by A.O.U. and Level  Alphabetical Module Code List  Alphabetical Module Title List  Alphabetical Old Short Name List  View Menu 
2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Physics Short Name: PHYM022
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: SELLIN PJ Prof (Physics)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability
Semester 1
Assessment Pattern
Unit(s) of Assessment Weighting Towards Module Mark (%)
Closed book examination 100 %
Part-time Students: Same as for full time students

Module Overview

An in-depth discussion of detector instrumentation will be covered, designed to complement experiments in the Autumn semester laboratory classes. Topics will include the performance and use of preamplifiers, spectroscopy systems and multi-channel analysers (MCAs). Digital methods for data acquisition, including digital pulse processing, pulse shape discrimination and digital MCA systems. Instrumentation for scintillators and gas detectors, including the lasted developments in Si-PMT and GEM devices. The 2nd part of the module will cover digital signal processing and the role of noise in affecting detector performance, including Fano-limited noise, electronic noise and leakage current. Examples of current CMOS readout circuitry, ASIC designs and pixel detectors will be discussed.

Module Aims
This module explores the theory of operation and practical aspects of instrumentation for radiation detection, covering both traditional analogue instrumentation techniques plus the latest developments in digital pulse processing. Students will also critically evaluate the role of statistical processes in detector noise and electronic signal processing.


Learning Outcomes
After completing this module, the student will have acquired the following:

Module Specific Skills:
• A detailed understanding of the instrumentation chain used for the readout of semiconductor, scintillation and gas detectors
• A critical analysis of noise processes in detectors, with the influence of noise on detector performance.
• A knowledge of the functionality and system architecture of ASICs and pixel detectors at the forefront of current research.

Discipline Specific Skills:
• Technical expertise in handling radiation detectors, and applying a fundamental understanding of their operation to optimise detector performance.
• Ability to select the appropriate instrumentation chain for a given application.

Personal and Key Skills:
• Critical analysis and understanding of instrumentation and detector performance for a given experimental setup.
Module Content















Prof P J Sellin


Detector Instrumentation for Spectroscopy: Charge sensitive preamplifiers, spectroscopy amplifiers, shaping and filters, energy resolution.






Analogue signal processing: Multi-channel analysers, discriminators, logic pulses and timing measurements, TACs. Digital pulse shape analysis and applications to n/ discrimination.






Scintillator and gas detector instrumentation: the photomultiplier tube and APD, DC ion chambers, GM tubes and survey meters. Silicon detector systems for particle tracking, minimum ionising particle detection, drift detectors and position sensitive detectors. Large scale HEP detector – the ATLAS inner tracker.





Mr P Seller (RAL)


Digital signal processing: waveform digitisers, filtering, sampling theory. Applications of commercial digital pulse processors.







Electronic noise in detector circuits: Poisson statistics, Fano-limited noise, noise power spectrum and Fourier analysis.






Instrumentation for Physics applications: ASIC functionality for imaging and strip detectors. Photon counting architecture and active pixel sensors.




Methods of Teaching/Learning
This module is assessed in Paper 3 which will consist of 6 questions. Students answer 4 questions from the 6.
Selected Texts/Journals

1. “Radiation Detection and Measurement”, Knoll G.F., Edition 3 1999
2. “Semiconductor Radiation Detectors”, Lutz, G., Springer 1999
3. “Introductory Nuclear Physics”, Krane K.S., Wiley
4. “Nuclear Physics Principles and Applications”, Lilley, J., Wiley
5. “Semiconductors for Room Temperature Nuclear Detector Applications, Volume 43 of Semiconductors and Semimetals, Ed. Schlesinger, T.E. and James, R.B., Academic Press 1995
6. “Physics of Semiconductor Devices”, Sze, S.M. and Kwok, K.N., Wiley Interscience, Edition 3 2007
7. “Semiconductor Detector Systems” by Helmuth Spieler
8. “Introductory Digital Processing, second edition” by Paul A. Lynn and Wolfgang Fuerst

Last Updated

17th December 2010