Detector Research and Development

Almost all modern particle physics experiments make use of silicon sensors to detect and track charged particles. In such solid-state devices, energy deposited by a high-energy particle interacting with the sensor material is detected as a small electric charge. Silicon allows the fabrication of very small sensitive elements (less than 100μm in length and/or width) with correspondingly precise position information.

The Bristol group are actively researching and developing new solid-state and other particle detector technologies, for use both in future particle physics experiments and in other fields. Potential applications range from the innermost detectors at the proposed International Linear Collider (ILC), through upgrades to the LHC experiments to medical physics and homeland security. Some of our current projects are described below.


Diamond is superior to silicon as a detector material in terms of speed and radiation tolerance. We are working with academic and industrial partners to develop artifically-grown diamond detectors for particle physics and dosimetry applications.


Tracking detectors for the proposed ILC will need a minimum of material, and Bristol is collaborating in the PLUME project which is using novel materials such as foams to make the supporting elements for thin silicon sensors.

A foam support
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