Research and development of new detectors

CP3 interest in the field of development of new detectors is twofold: On one side to fulfill the commitments that our group have with present experiments, including major foreseen upgrades. On the other side in the development of new measurement techniques that will be used in future experiments.
Members of CP3 are involved in the development of three fields/technologies:

  • A) Semiconductor detectors, mainly for tracking devices. Activities in this area covers mainly the system integration issues in CMS upgrade forward tracker and NA62 GTK spectrometer. Using UCL cyclotrons, radiation effects to both semiconductor sensors and their associated electronics can be studied. These irradiations are part of the European program AIDA. to irradiate sensors and their associated electronics. Finally, the development on new monolithic pixel detectors with SOI technology. This technology is one of the candidates for tracking devices in future linear colliders.

  • B) Utrafast timing techniques of the order of 10 ps. Research is focused in the synchronization of detector systems that can be separated by hundreds of meters, as is the case on forward detectors in colliders. These techniques could be used also in other applications as Life Sciences and Atomic Physics.

  • C) Development of high granularity hadronic calorimeter based on RPCs. These calorimeters will play an essential role in the particle flow method that most likely will be the paradigm in the new generation of particle physics experiments. These detectors also find application in the study of the interior of large geological structures, for example active volcanoes, via the absorption of cosmic rays.

    Collaboration and Networks:

    UCL-CP3 participates actively in various collaborations in the field of particle detector development:

    • CALICE: Calorimetry for ILC.
    • SOIPIX: Monolithic pixel sensor development in SOI technology.
    • AIDA2020: European project grouping the principal actors in detector development in Europe.


Device simulation of semiconductors sensors

Development of simulation tools at device level for semiconductor sensors. We are interested both in the simulation of static characteristics as for instance coupling capacitances, electric fields, etc, but also dynamic characteristics as signal developed in different sensors when particles are passing through.

Tools used to made this simulations are based in comercial software as TCAD or Silvaco and programs developed by ourselves. This work profits from the close collaboration with DICE (FSA/UCL).

External collaborators: Denis Flandre (UCLouvain - EPL).

GasToF: ultra fast timing detector

GasToF (Gas Time-of-Flight) detector is a Cherenkov detector developed for very precise (with ~10 ps resolution) flight time measurements of very forward protons at the LHC. Such an excellent time resolution allows, using z-by-timing technique, for precise measurements of the event vertex z-coordinate and the background reduction. This detector is essential for selecting exclusive and semi-exclusive processes at the LHC, and can also be applied for the particle ID at future experiments.

External collaborators: CMS PPS project, M. Albrow (Fermilab), M. Khakzad (Tehran), J. Varela (Lisbon), and E. Schnys (Photonis) and J. Howorth (Photek Ltd).

Imaging with cosmic-ray muons

The general goal of this project is to develop muon-based radiography or tomography (“muography”), an innovative multidisciplinary approach to study large-scale natural or man-made structures, establishing a strong synergy between particle physics and other disciplines, such as geology and archaeology.
Muography is an imaging technique that relies on the measurement of the absorption of muons produced by the interactions of cosmic rays with the atmosphere.
Applications span from geophysics (the study of the interior of mountains and the remote quasi-online monitoring of active volcanoes) to archaeology and mining.

We are part of the EU-funded H2020 network INTENSE where we coordinate the Muography work package, which brings together particle physicists, geophysicists, archaeologists, civil engineers and private companies for the development and exploitation of this imaging method.

We are using the local facilities at CP3 for the development of high-resolution portable detectors.
We also participate to the MURAVES collaboration, now merged into the MIVAS collaboration, through algorithmic and data-analysis aspects like the implementation of time-of-flight capabilities, the analysis of control data for the optimization of the reconstruction algorithms, and the understanding of physics and instrumental backgrounds by data-driven and simulation techniques.

External collaborators: UGent; INTENSE Research & Innovation Staff Exchange network (Japan, Switzerland, Italy, France, Hungary); MIVAS Collaboration (France and Italy) including CNRS (France), INFN (Italy), INGV(Italy).

LARA: LAser for Radiation Analysis

LARA: LAser for Radiation Analysis

LARA is a general purpose laser testbench devoted to study the radiation susceptibility of semiconductor devices.
The systems consists in a high precission step motors (~0.1 um), a 1060 nm pulsed laser (PiLAS) with associated optics to obtain beam spots f ~5-6 um, and a set of photodetectors to measure both integrated and pulse-by-pulse optical power.

LARA will have two main applications:
1. Test of semiconductor sensors (pixel, microstrips, etc).
2. Study of single event effects (SEE) in semiconductor components.

A set of standard measurement equipment will be available to perform measurements for both type of applications.

External collaborators: Denis Flandre (UCLouvain - EPL).

Neutron irradiations with UCL cyclotron

Metrology and instrumentation of CYCLONE-110 T2 irradiation line to test semiconductor sensors and electronics under neutron fluences (max Formula: 0 neq/cm2).

External collaborators: Michael Moll (CERN).

Semi-Digital Hadronic Calorimeter

A key element of future experiments with linear colliders (ILC, CLIC), will be the ability to exploit the particle flow algorithms. They are based on the possibility to follow all the particles produced by e+e- collisions in the various sub-detectors to measure the energy.

Thus, the calorimeters, which until now were used to measure the particle energy will be required to have a tracking capability. In this perspective, we participate with other European and Belgian groups in the development and the construction of a hadron calorimeter with a large granularity as with short-term goal to build a 1m3 prototype.

The calorimeter is based on GRPC detectors used as sensitive medium. Then we participate in data analysis and in test beam particles at CERN. This project will also study the hadronic showers and compare the results
obtained with phenomenological models. The outcome of this comparison should significantly improve our understanding of this phenomenon.

External collaborators: Imad Laktineh (IPNL - Lyon) M.C Fouz (CIEMAT) J.C. Brient (LLR - Ecole Polytechnique).

The CMS silicon strip tracker upgrade

Development of the "phase II" upgrade for the CMS silicon strip stracker.

More precisely, we are involved in the development of the uTCA-based DAQ system and in the test/validation of the first prototype modules. We take active part to the various test-beam campaigns (CERN, DESY, ...)

This activity will potentially make use of the cyclotron of UCL, the probe stations and the SYCOC setup (SYstem de mesure de COllection de Charge) to test the response to laser light, radioactive sources and beams.

The final goal is to take a leading role in the construction of part of the CMS Phase-II tracker.

External collaborators: CRC and CMS collaboration.

TRAPPISTe: Tracking for Particle Physics Instrumentation in SOI Technology

The TRAPPISTe series of sensors tries to use SOI technology to build a monolithic pixel sensor. SOI wafers consist of a thin top silicon active layer, a middle insulating buried oxide layer and a thick handle wafer. Due to the insulating layer, SOI technology allows for more compact layout and lower parasitics compared to traditional bulk CMOS processes.

The TRAPPISTe-1 sensor was designed and fabricated at UCL’s WINFAB facility at the Ecole Polytechnique de Louvain. WINFAB provides a 2m Fully Depleted SOI process with the following characteristics:

• 100nm top active layer, 400nm buried oxide layer, 450um handle wafer
• substrate: 15-25 Ωcm, p-type
• four types of transistors with different threshold voltages: low Vt, standard Vt, high Vt, graded.

The first fabrication of the TRAPPISTe-1 chip was delivered in January 2010. Unfortunately, the process was complicated by a contamination resulting in a voltage shift of all the transistors. A second run of the TRAPPISTe-1 chip is currently being produced.

The TRAPPISTe-2 project has just begun with the SOIPIX collaboration and will use OKI Semiconductor 0.2um technology to build a pixel sensor and test structures. The OKI technology provides the following:

• active layer thickness 50nm, BOX thickness 200nm, handle wafer thickness 250-350um
• substrate resistivity of 700 Ωcm, n-type
• 4 metal layers
• buried p-well (BPW) to suppress back gate effect

TRAPPISTe-2 chips have been delivered by OKI in the beginning of 2011. To test the TRAPPISTe chip, a readout board and a laser test station are being developed. The readout board consists of a daughter board and main board. The daughter board is a small board used for mounting and bonding the TRAPPISTe chip. Several daughter boards have been designed to accommodate the TRAPPISTe-1 and TRAPPISTe-2 chips. The daughter boards plug into the main board which contains DACs to set the appropriate bias voltages and an ADC controlled by an FPGA to read the detector output. A laser test station is being commissioned to test the charge collection of the device.

The TRAPPISTe project has been presented at the following conferences:
- iWoRiD 2009
- IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium 2009
- Vienna Conference on Instrumentation 2010

TRAPPISTe group has also joined the SOIPIX collaboration and was presented at the SOIPIX Collaboration Meeting 2010. SOIPIX is an international research collaboration developing detector applications in SOI technology. More information on the TRAPPISTe project can be found at:

External collaborators: Denis Flandre (UCLouvain - EPL) Elena Martin (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona).

Past projects

Hide past projects.

Radiation Hard on chip readout electronics

Development of radiation hard on chip electronics to be used in future experiments at colliders or in space.


Cryogenic detectors development for very high radiation environment.

External collaborators: RD39 collaboration.

Silicon strip detectors telescope

Construction of an multiple-plane of silicon strips modules (detectors and readout) as an instrument for particles tracks reconstruction and prototype modules testing.


SYCOC stands for "SYstem de mesure de COllection de Charge". This system is intended to measure charge collection efficiency of semiconductor detectors with both a laser and radiactive sources. This installation is used in the characterization of semiconductor detectors in order to study its radiation hardness. This project is done in collaboration with RD50 team at CERN.

External collaborators: Michael Moll (CERN).



A Letter of Intent for MATHUSLA: a dedicated displaced vertex detector above ATLAS or CMS
Curtin, David and others
[Full text] Scientific Committee Paper
CERN-LHCC-2018-025 ; LHCC-I-031

24th July.
A portable muon telescope based on small and gas-tight Resistive Plate Chambers
Wuyckens, Sophie and Giammanco, Andrea and Demin, Pavel and Cortina Gil, Eduardo
[Abstract] [PDF] Proceedings of the "Cosmic-Ray Muography" meeting of the Royal Society, 14-15 May 2018 at the Kavli Royal Society Centre, Chicheley Hall, Newport Pagnell (UK). Submitted to Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A.
Contribution to proceedings. 18th June.


The Phase-2 Upgrade of the CMS Tracker
CMS collaboration
[Full text] CERN-LHCC-2017-009 ; CMS-TDR-014
Refereed paper. 13th December.


SOIPIX R&D programme and applications
Cortina Gil, Eduardo and Soung-Yee, Lawrence
[Full text] 2nd International Summer School on Intelligent Signal Processing for Frontier Research and Industry
Refereed paper. Contribution to proceedings. 24th August.
Construction and commissioning of a technological prototype of a high-granularity semi-digital hadronic calorimeter
Baulieu, G. and Bedjidian, M. and Belkadhi, K. and Berenguer, J. and Boudry, V. and others
[Abstract] [PDF] [Journal] Submitted to JINST
Refereed paper. 18th June.


High granularity Semi-Digital Hadronic Calorimeter using GRPCs
Sameh Mannai, K. Manai, Y. Haddad and Eduardo Cortina Gil
[Journal] [Full text] Published in Nuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research. Section A: Vol. 718, no.--, p. 91–94 (2013)
Contribution to proceedings. 29th January.
Track segments in hadronic showers in a highly granular scintillator-steel hadron calorimeter
The CALICE collaboration, Eduardo Cortina Gil and Sameh Mannai
[Abstract] [PDF] [Journal] [Full text] Published in Journal of Instrumentation Vol. 8, no.09, p. P09001 (2013)
Refereed paper. 29th January.


Charge sensitive amplifier study in 2um FD SOI CMOS
L. Soung Yee, E. Martin, E. Cortina, C. Renaux, D. Flandre
[Journal] [Full text] Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE International SOI Conference, 3-6 Oct. 2011, in Tempe, AZ, USA.
Contribution to proceedings. 5th December.
TRAPPISTe pixel sensor with 2 μm SOI technology
E. Martin, L. Soung Yee, E. Cortina, C. Renaux, D. Flandre
[Journal] [Full text] Proceedings of the 11th International Workshop on Radiation Imaging Detectors (IWORID)
Contribution to proceedings. 8th July.
Proton-Nucleus Collisions at the LHC: Scientific Opportunities and Requirements
Salgado, C. A. and others
[Abstract] [PDF] [Journal] Published in J. Phys. G: Nucl. Part. Phys. 39 (2012) 015010.
Refereed paper. 25th May.
Performance of Glass Resistive Plate Chambers for a high granularity semi-digital calorimeter
Bedjidian, M. and others
[Abstract] [PDF] [Journal] Published in "Journal of Instrumentation"- Vol. 6, p. P02001 (2011)
Refereed paper. 14th March.


Petal Integration for the CMS Tracker End Caps
T. Bergauer, et al.
[Full text] CMS NOTE-2008/028. Public CMS note (internally peer-reviewed) about the construction of the CMS forward tracker.
Public experimental note. 22nd December.


Hector, a fast simulator for the transport of particles in beamlines
J. de Favereau, X. Rouby, K. Piotrzkowski
[Abstract] [PDF] [Journal] [Full text] Published in JINST2:P09005,2007
Refereed paper. 14th May.
Recent developments of CERN RD39 Cryogenic Tracking detectors Collaboration
X. Rouby for the RD39 Collaboration
[Journal] [Full text] Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Radiation Effects on Semiconductor Materials Detectors and Devices (Florence), NIM A 583 (2007) 99-103
Contribution to proceedings. 19th March.


GASTOF: Ultra-fast ToF forward detector for exclusive processes at the LHC
L. Bonnet, T. Pierzchala, K. Piotrzkowski, P. Rodeghiero
[Abstract] [PDF] Presented at "Physics at LHC 2006", Krakow. Published in Acta Physica Polonica B38 (2007) 477-482
Contribution to proceedings. 8th December.
Cryogenic detector modules and edgeless silicon sensors
X. Rouby, V. Eremin, S. Grohmann, J. Härkönen, Z. Li, P. Luukka, O. Militaru, T. Niinikoski, G.Nüssle, B. Perea Solano, K. Piotrzkowski, E. Tuovinen, E. Verbitskaya
[Journal] [Full text] Proceedings of the RD05 Conference, October 2005. Nucl. Inst. & Meth. A570 (2007) 308-311
Contribution to proceedings. 23rd October.

[UCLouvain] - [SST] [IRMP] - [SC]
Contact : Jérôme de Favereau
Job opportunities Post-doctoral positions in BSM phenomenology at colliders and in astrophysics
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