Experimental Methods in Nuclear and Particle Physics

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Objectives:The goal of the course is to convey an understanding of how detectors in particle physics, heavy-ion physics and astroparticle physic work.

Content:The course teaches the physics of particle detectors and presents various subdetectors used in particle physics accelerator experiments such as the LHC. The first part covers the energy loss of charged particles in matter (Bethe-Bloch equation, Cherenkov effect, bremsstrahlung), interactions of photons in matter, drift and diffusion of electrons and ions in matter in electric and magnetic fields. Important quantities such as radiation length, interaction length, critical energy, efficiency and resolution are introduced. The second part discusses specific subdetectors that are used to measure ionization, particle positions, vertices, momentum, electromagnetic energy, hadronic energy, timing and particle type. It further discusses trigger systems and data acquisition. The course is accompanied by three tutorials on statistics and one tutorial on the LHC.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student will know

  • all basic interaction processes of electrons, heavy charged particles and photons in matter and electromagnetic fields
  • which experimental technique is best for measuring a specific particle property
  • how the main detectors at the LHC work, which is important for a thesis in experimental particle or heavy-ion physics


The student is able to

  • assist in the detector design used for measuring some particle property in particle physics, nuclear physics or astroparticle physics
  • conduct a technical master thesis in particle physics, nuclear physics or astroparticle physics
  • set up his own test in a laboratory at IFT

General competence

The student

  • will have sufficient background to read detector papers and understand how most detectors in particle physics, nuclear physics or astroparticle physics work



Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Basic knowledge of minimum 60 ECTS in physics. Basic knowledge of classical electromagnetism, particle kinematics.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
PHYS115, PHYS241
Access to the Course

Students have to be enrolled at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences in Bergen


Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Obligatory homework by each student, 10 sheets


Forms of Assessment

The forms of assessment are:

Oral examination (45 minutes), 100% of total grade

Grading Scale
The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.
Course Evaluation

Students will evaluate teaching in line with the University of Bergen and

the Institute's quality assurance system