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Academic year
Didactic period
Primo Semestre

Training objectives

The main goal of the course consists in providing the students with the basic tools to perform experimental research in high-energy physics.
At the end of the course the student will acquire advanced knowledge of particle detection techniques, data analysis and simulation. During the course, the student will be able to acquire abilities such as the capability of measuring physics observables in the framework of subnuclear physics, writing simulation programs, analyzing data and presenting them in the form of a scientific paper.


A good knowledge of classical physics and of the topics treated in the undergraduate laboratory courses (statistical analysis, C programming language, electronics and radiation-matter interaction). Basic knowledge of nuclear physics and elementary particles physics is advised.

Course programme

The course is divided in 3 modules. The main topics are listed below:

1. The ROOT analysis framework [12 hours]
- Installation of the ROOT framework
- General properties
- Definition of canvas and pads
- Definition of histograms and graphs
- Pre-defined and user-defined functions
- Histograms and graphs fitting
- Input/output
- Hands-on session

2. Monte Carlo Methods [8 hours]
- Definition of probability
- Discrete and continuous random variables
- Examples of random variables
- Central limit theorem
- Random and pseudo-random numbers
- Practical examples of random number generators
- Acceptance/rejection and transformation methods
- Hands-on session

4. Laboratory experiments [40 hours]
- Introduction
- How to write a laboratory report or scientific paper
- Measurement of the muon lifetime
- Spectroscopy with scintillators
- Measurement of solid-state photodetectors properties
- Measurement of photomultiplier tubes quantum efficiency
- Compton scattering

Didactic methods

The course consists of theoretical lectures, hands-on sessions with personal computers and laboratory classes. The theoretical lectures will take place partly using the blackboard and partly through the projections of slides. The latter will be provided to the student as complementary material.
During laboratory experiments students will be grouped. At the end of the experiment
each group shall prepare a report, structured as scientific paper, which describes goals, methodology, experimental setup, data analysis and conclusions.

Learning assessment procedures

The lecturer will evaluate each laboratory report and the contribution of the individual student to the laboratory activities.
The final examination consists in an oral test: topics described in the course and the laboratory reports will be discussed, to verify the knowledge acquired by the student and the ability of linking the different topics described during the lectures.
The final mark will be based on the evaluation of the single reports together with the oral exam evaluation.

Reference texts

Lecture notes.

Specific topics can be studied in detail in the following texts:
G. Knoll, “Radiation detection and measurement”, John Wiley & Sons
C. Grupen, “Particle Detectors”, Cambridge University Press
G. Cowan, “Statistical data analysis”, Oxford Science Publications
C. Patrignani et al., “The Review of Particle Physics”, Particle Data Group