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The course will cover the physics of particle detectors and particle accelerators. It will introduce the experimental techniques used in nuclear, particle physics and photon science, and describe the layout and functionality of modern experiments. History, operating principles of modern particle accelerators and applications in nuclear, sub-nuclear and medical physics will be treated as well.

Through classroom lectures, dedicated seminars held by experts and hands-on exercise sessions, the Detectors and Accelerators in Particle Physics course proposes:
- to deepen the knowledge of the interactions of elementary particles with matter;
- to analyze the functioning of the various detectors used for the detection of elementary particles in nuclear and subnuclear physics;
- to examine some current experiments of greater interest;
- to provide an introduction to the physics of particle accelerators by also presenting future projects;
- to teach how to design and simulate simple experimental using the Geant4 software library.

At the end of the course, students will be familiar with modern detection and particle acceleration methods in particle and applied physics. They will have the basis to understand the motivations and the functioning of the various parts of an experiment in high energy physics or instrumentation for the control of the beams in medical physics laboratories. This will include the ability to size and select detectors suitable for the purposes of the experiments to be examined or to be designed.
They will know how to describe measurements of ionization, position, energy, and momentum of particles, as well as particle identification and timing measurements. They will develop competence in quickly and critically acquiring information from publications other then textbooks.

A - Knowledge and understanding
OF 1) To know the fundamentals of particle detectors
OF 2) To know the fundamentals of particle accelerators
OF 3) To understand the language of the physics of particle detectors and accelerators

B - Application skills
OF 4) Ability to design, dimension and choose suitable detectors for a specific particle physics experiment
OF 5) Ability to implement a simple simulation setup with Geant4 for a particle detector
C - Autonomy of judgment
OF 6) To be able to analyze and evaluate the performance of a particle physics detectors
OF 7) To be able to analyze and evaluate the performance of a particle accelerator
D - Communication skills
OF 8) Being able to clearly communicate the operation and properties of a particle detector and of a particle accelerator, and their applicability in realistic contexts
OF 9) Being able to motivate the architectural choices behind a specific particle detector or accelerator design

E - Ability to learn
OF 8) Being able to learn alternative and more complex techniques
OF 9) Being able to implement existing techniques in an efficient, robust and reliable manner




Introduction, radiation sources, physics of particle detection
Particle interactions with matter
Particle detectors: general properties
Photon detectors
Organic and Inorganic scintillators
Cherenkov detectors: PID/TOF
Gaseous detectors
Semiconductor detector
Detector electronics
Design and simulation of detectors with Geant4 (theory and hands-on sessions)
Introduction to particle accelerators: evolution of accelerators, modern day applications, particle acceleration
Beam dynamics: Transverse Motion, lattice imperfections and off-momentum effects
Beam dynamics: Longitudinal motion, strong focusing, Synchrotron Radiation
In deep seminars on advanced topics will be scheduled during the course

Adopted texts

slides from the classroom lessons and classroom exercise sessions
Particle Data Group (Experimental Methods section), Phys. Rev. D 98, 030001 (2018) and 2019 update:
G.F. Knoll - Radiation Detection and Measurement, Wiley 2010
W.R.Leo: Techniques for Nuclear and Particle Physics Experiments, Springer
M. Livan and R. Wigmans: Calorimetry for Collider Physics, an Introduction, Springer
K. Wille, The Physics of Particle Accelerators, Oxford
Geant4 documentation (


W.Blum e L.Rolandi: Particle detection with drift chambers. Springer Verlag. K.Kleinknecht: Detectors for Particle Radiation, Cambridge C. Grupen: Particle Detectors, Cambridge A. Das and T. Ferbel, Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics, World Scientific (2nd edition) E.J.Wilson, An Introduction to Particle Accelerators, Oxford Univ. Press H. Wiedmann, Particle Accelerator Physics, Springer (3rd edition) S.Y. Lee, Accelerator Physics, World Scientific


Useful: to have followed physics laboratory courses, software programming (C/C++/python) Important: basics of statistics and probability Essential: basic notions on nuclear and sub-nuclear physics from bachelor degree in physics

Exam modes

To pass the exam it is necessary to pass a written test and an home project assigned near the end of the course.

A minimal score of 15/30 is mandatory to pass the written test and a minimal score of 18/30 for the home project.
The final grade will be given by the mean of the score of the written test and the score of the home project, incremented by 5%. Students can decide to accept the proposed vote and register it, or can ask for an additional oral exam (covering full course program) to improve it.
It is necessary to demonstrate to have acquired sufficient knowledge of both concept and applications of the concepts and methods discussed during the course.

To achieve a score of 30/30 cum laude, the student must demonstrate that he has acquired an excellent knowledge of the topics covered in the course, and to be able to master the software tools needed to develop and implement simulation of simple detector setups with Geant4.

The determination of the final grade takes into account the following elements:
1. written test 50%
It is an individual test in which the student solve simple exercises on particle interaction with matter, particle detectors, particle accelerators.
The evaluation will take into account:
- the correctness of the concepts presented;
- clarity and rigor in the discussion of the in-depth presentation;
- reasoning ability on the clarification of the questions;
- the student's aptitudes to understand the choice of detectors with regard to their characteristics and the phenomena to be observed.
2. Home project 50%
The project will be dimensioned in such a way that it requires a maximum of 1 week of work to be completed and documented (a written report of maximum 10 pages + code and dataset is required to reproduce the results reported in the report). It will consist in implementing with Geant4 a simple detector simulation setup.
The evaluation will take into account:
- Correctness of the concepts exposed;
- Clarity of presentation;
- Ability to elaborate the concepts learned in the development of original projects;
- Ability to use the Geant4 software library to solve the given problem.

Exam reservation date start Exam reservation date end Exam date
01/09/2021 16/01/2022 21/01/2022
01/09/2021 08/02/2022 11/02/2022
01/03/2022 30/06/2022 01/07/2022
01/03/2022 17/07/2022 18/07/2022
01/08/2022 01/09/2022 02/09/2022
01/08/2022 10/11/2022 11/11/2022
26/09/2022 03/01/2023 13/01/2023
Course sheet
  • Academic year: 2021/2022
  • Curriculum: Particle and Astroparticle Physics (Percorso valido anche fini del conseguimento del titolo multiplo italo-francese-svedese-ungherese) - in lingua inglese
  • Year: First year
  • Semester: Second semester
  • SSD: FIS/01
  • CFU: 6
  • Attività formative caratterizzanti
  • Ambito disciplinare: Sperimentale applicativo
  • Exercise (Hours): 36
  • Lecture (Hours): 24
  • CFU: 6
  • SSD: FIS/01