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Applied nuclear physics for biomedicine, nuclear security and basic science
Date:6/2/2010

onductors from their surroundings. Part of the job can be done by segmenting the sides of the detector with metal contact strips, just as the planar surfaces are segmented. But real improvement will require better surface treatments and fabrication processes.

Another major effort will be to shape the electric fields in the detector, making the collection of charges resulting from radiation absorption more efficient. This would reduce electronic noise and improve resolution and increase the ability of the detector to localize events inside its bulk. The researchers will experiment with complex electrode schemes, including segmenting the detector's edges. On the planar surfaces, contact strips can divide the entire area into segments, or a point contact can collect all the charges at a single electrode.

"As yet we don't understand the physics of the detector surfaces well enough," Vetter says. "Luckily Berkeley Lab's Semiconductor Laboratory and UC Berkeley's Gamma-Ray Imaging Laboratory will give us the ability to explore a range of processes and treatments and evaluate the results."

More sensitive radiation detectors will benefit many practical applications, including the ability to identify quantities and kinds of radioactive materials for nuclear safeguards or to monitor nuclear reactors. They will also benefit the most basic science: the search for the theoretical constituents of dark matter and for certain kinds of radioactive decay (neutrinoless double beta decay) that would indicate that neutrinos are their own antiparticles, perhaps opening new ways to measure the mass of these elusive particles.

The new grants to NSD's Applied Nuclear Physics program will result in the hiring of two postdoctoral researchers and will support two part-time UC graduate student researchers. The projects will involve not only Vetter, Mihailescu, Lee, and Amman but other NSD and Engineering staff scientists as well. The projects will be done in
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Contact: Paul Preuss
paul_preuss@lbl.gov
510-486-6249
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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