NFYK16009U Particle Detectors and Accelerators

Volume 2018/2019

MSc Programme in Physics
MSc Programme in Physics w. minor subject


The purpose of this course is to learn how subatomic particles are produced with accelerators and detected in modern experiments and how the experimental data are analyzed.  This will involve almost all previously learned physics.
The course will conclude with a visit to a physics laboratory where accelerators and particle detectors are in daily focus.

This course is central for any later course or master/PhD project in experimental subatomic physics and also recommended for students specializing in X-ray physics, neutron physics and medical physics or other fields using energetic subatomic particles.

In the laboratory, students will operate particle detectors such as scintillator counters and gaseous tracking detectors, using cosmic rays and radioactive sources, in order to measure physical quantities.

In the class-room they will make calculations of the expected performance of various detectors and accelerators.

Learning Outcome

Skills: After the course the students

  • can make a new design or evaluate an existing design of a particle detector system or an accelerator for a given purpose using analytical methods.
  • can make more precise simulations of detector performance and analyze the data using tools based on the C++ language.
  • can make a simple read-out trigger system using NIM electronics and modern FPGA techniques.
  • can combine knowledge from many different disciplines to obtain a practical result.

Knowledge: The students will know about:

  • Principles of particle accelerators.
  • Theory of particle passage through matter.
  • Concepts of data analysis and simulation.
  • Various software tools based on C++.
  • All types of different particle detectors, their principle of operation, advantages and limitations.
  • Basic concepts of electronics and read-out.

This course will provide competence for further studies within experimental particle, nuclear, X-ray, neutron, medical physics or other physics using particle detection and also strengthen general programming, electronics and other “engineering” competences.

Lecture notes will be available for sale at Polyteknisk Boghandel, Biocenter.

Laboratory instructions will be uploaded to the course homepage

Lectures, computer exercises, laboratory exercises and one excursion.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Colloquia
  • 1
  • Exam
  • 0,5
  • Excursions
  • 36
  • Lectures
  • 33
  • Practical exercises
  • 20
  • Preparation
  • 74,5
  • Project work
  • 33
  • Theory exercises
  • 8
  • Total
  • 206,0
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 min
Continuous assessment
The continuous part of the evaluation consists of theoretical and experimental exercises during the course and counts for 20% of the final grade.
The oral exam Count for 80% of the final grade. The students will be provided, three days before the exam, with a publication about a recently proposed experiment, and a set of questions regarding the publication. The answer to these questions will constitute the basis of a 15 minutes presentation the students will give on the subject, on the day of the exam. The presentation will be followed by questions on the material presented and on the general subjects of the course.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
More internal examiners

Same as regular exam. Students who have not passed the continuous part of the evaluation should contact the teacher before the re-exam in order to finish any missing exercises.

Criteria for exam assesment

see learning outcome