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GeDet – Germanium Detector Development

The test stand GALATEA.
The research group GeDet deals with the development of germanium detectors that need to be shielded extremely against external radiation for their use in experiments. Germanium is a semiconductor which can be used as a detector material at low temperatures. Such detectors are typically operated at approximately 100 Kelvin (-173 ° C) and cooled by liquid nitrogen. Germanium detectors are used everywhere, where radioactivity is to be detected in small quantities. The sensitivity is as high that individual decay can be observed and categorized.

At the test facility GALATEA prototype germanium detectors are tested for the use in experiment. Since germanium detectors must be operated at low temperatures, a heat shield is integrated, which is mounted close to the inner wall of the tank (see picture above).

18-fold segmented germanium detector (photo: I. Abt, MPI for Physics).
For basic research on the one hand germanium detectors are interesting because the isotope germanium 76 is a candidate for the neutrinoless double beta decay, and secondly, because they can be used to hunt for dark matter. Neutrinoless double beta decay is possible only if neutrinos are their own antiparticles. Neutrinos are key particle for nuclear fission and nuclear fusion and thus for the development of matter after the Big Bang. If they are their own antiparticles, then it opens a way to explain the disappearance of antimatter. The germanium detectors are segmented. The segmentation was optimized to detect events from the background in the search for neutrinoless double beta decay.

GeDet - Expert Site

TV report [german] - Unterirdische Forschung (3Sat Nano, 20.10.2014)

3Sat Nano Sendung mit einem Bericht von Hildegart Werth über das tiefste Untergrundlabor Jinping in Sichuan, China. Tief unter dem Berg, abgeschirmt von kosmischer Strahlung wird mit Germaniumdetektoren nach Anzeichen für Dunkle Materie gesucht.

Link zur 3Sat Nano Sendung

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