Foto: Program "Matter and Technologies" ©Copyright: BengsDetector Technologies and Systems Platform

Matter > Matter and Technologies - All Topics

Foto: Silicon Photomultiplyer ©Copyright: Matthias Rietschel / HZDRThe basic components of matter and natural phenomena are either not or only to a limited extent accessible to human senses because they are incredibly small, incredibly fast, or for that matter actually invisible. This is in particular true for the observation of extreme distance, time, and energy scales investigated within the scope of the Helmholtz research sector “Matter”. That is why real “sci fi tools” are needed to trace the hidden properties of matter surrounding us: Detectors. Detectors are the “eyes” which permit scientists to monitor new effects, penetrate into new realms, and, thus, gain new and sometimes groundbreaking insights.

Highly sensitive detectors are capable of, for example, detecting and counting charged particles, neutrons, and photons (e.g. visible light, infrared radiation, or X-rays). One such detector is the Geiger-Müller counter which can detect radiation from radioactive decays. The use of detectors is, thus, not limited to fundamental research or research on the structure of matter. In fact, detectors are also employed in industry and medicine and moreover in a broad range of commercial applications.

The great variety of applications ranges from detectors for experiments on fundamental nuclear and astrophysical research at the accelerator facility of the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung (Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research) and ist Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research FAIR to applied fundamental research on nuclear transmutation and materials research with positrons at the HZDR’s electron accelerator ELBE all the way to detectors used in radiooncology in order to further increase the precision of tumor therapy using charged-particle radiation.

The HZDR participates in the Helmholtz portfolio process on the topic Detector Technologies and Systems.


  • Establishing cooperation across the Helmholtz Association for the development of new detectors and detector concepts
  • Usage and supply of HZDR infrastructure and know-how (detector laboratory, knowledge in detector construction, accelerator facilities) for the development and characterization of novel detectors
  • Applications of new detectors and detector concepts in medical applications (in collaboration with the National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology ‒ OncoRay) and technological applications (e.g. analysis of materials using positron-annihilation-energy and lifetime spectroscopy)

Press Releases

Involved HZDR institutes




  • Röder, M.; Adachi, T.; Aksyutina, Y. et al.
    Coulomb dissociation of N-20,N-21
    Physical Review C 93(2016), 065807 (10.1103/PhysRevC.93.065807)
  • Petzoldt, J.; Römer, K. E.; Enghardt, W. et al.
    Characterization of the microbunch time structure of proton pencil beams at a clinical treatment facility
    Physics in Medicine and Biology 61(2016)6, 2432-2456 (10.1088/0031-9155/61/6/2432)
  • Roemer, K.; Pausch, G.; Bemmerer, D. et al.
    Characterization of scintillator crystals for usage as prompt gamma monitors in particle therapy
    Journal of Instrumentation 10(2015), P10033 (10.1088/1748-0221/10/10/P10033)
  • Depalo, R.; Cavanna, F.; Ferraro, F. et al.
    Strengths of the resonances at 436, 479, 639, 661, and 1279 keV in the 22Ne(p,γ)23Na reaction
    Physical Review C 92(2015), 045807 (10.1103/PhysRevC.92.045807)
  • Takács, M. P.; Bemmerer, D.; Szücs, T. et al.
    Constraining big bang lithium production with recent solar neutrino data
    Physical Review D 91(2015)12, 123526 (10.1103/PhysRevD.91.123526)
  • Szücs, T.; Bemmerer, D.; Caciolli, A. et al.
    Determination of gamma-ray widths in 15N using nuclear resonance fluorescence
    Physical Review C 92(2015), 014315 (10.1103/PhysRevC.92.014315)
  • Szücs, T.; Bemmerer, D.; Reinhardt, T. P. et al.
    Cosmic-ray induced background intercomparison with actively shielded HPGe detectors at underground locations
    European Physical Journal A 51(2015), 33 (10.1140/epja/i2015-15033-0)
  • Golnik, C.; Hueso-González, F.; Müller, A. et al.
    Range assessment in particle therapy based on prompt γ-ray timing measurements
    Physics in Medicine and Biology 59(2014), 5399-5422 (10.1088/0031-9155/59/18/5399)
  • Röder, M.; Elekes, Z.; Aumann, T. et al.
    Efficiency determination of resistive plate chambers for fast quasi-monoenergetic neutrons
    European Physical Journal A 50(2014), 112 (10.1140/epja/i2014-14112-0)
  • Anders, M.; Trezzi, D.; Menegazzo, R. et al.
    First direct measurement of the 2H(α,γ)6Li cross section at Big Bang energies and the primordial lithium problem
    Physical Review Letters 113(2014), 042501 (10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.042501)
  • Anders, M.; Trezzi, D.; Bellini, A. et al.
    Neutron induced by an α-beam incident on a deuterium gas target, and the background for a study of the 2H(α,γ)6Li reaction at LUNA
    European Physical Journal A 49(2013), 28 (10.1140/epja/i2013-13028-5)