DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6014-4.ch012


In this chapter, some applications of micropattern detectors are described. Their main application is tracking of charged particles in high-energy physics. However, currently there are a lot of research and developments going on, which may open new exciting fields of applications, for example in dark matter search, medical applications, homeland security, etc. The authors start with the traditional applications, which are in high-energy physics and astrophysics. Later, the focus shifts to promising developments oriented towards new applications. These innovative applications include: imaging of charged particles and energetic photons with unprecedented high 2-D spatial resolution (e.g. in mammography), time projection chambers capable operating in a high flux of particles (e.g. ALICE upgraded TPC), and visualization of ultraviolet and visible photons. Finally, a short description of the international collaboration RD51 established at CERN is given in order to promote the development of micropattern detectors and their applications.
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1. Introduction

The main practical importance of any new detector of charged particles and photons is how large you can make it. This was one of the key factors leading the tremendous success of the MWPC. After its invention by Georges Charpak they were almost immediately adopted in many large-scale high energy physics experiments and later in astrophysical experiments, as well as in some biological and medical instruments (Nappi, 2013).

Using the same criteria one can evaluate the significance of any micropattern detector.

The first impressive implementation of a large area micropattern detector, an MSGC, was in the D20 neutron spectrometer at ILL Grenoble (Clergeau, 2001). It consisted of an array of 48 sealed MSGCs with an active area of 8x15cm2 each, see Figure 1. Despite many technical challenges (one of them was exploiting sealed mode instead of traditional gas flow mode), the MSGCs operated successfully for about one year.

Figure 1.

Photograph the ILL neutron spectrometer consisting from an array of 48 sealed MSGCs with an active area of 8x15cm2 each (from: Grenoble).

Other applications of micropattern detectors (MSGC, GEM and MICROMEGAS) are as tracking devices in several high energy physics experiments and in x-ray detectors in some astrophysical experiments. These are traditional fields of application of gaseous detectors.

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