Platform for Detector Technologies and Systems
The Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) adds its competences in the field of detector technologies and systems to the Helmholtz Association's new research platform bearing the same name. The platform will be subsidized as a portfolio topic with a total of 13 million euros between 2012 and 2016; thereafter, the projects will be continued within the scope of the Helmholtz Association's research program. All told, seven Helmholtz centers and two Helmholtz institutes participate in addition to other research facilities and universities from Germany and abroad. Detectors are the "eyes" with which researchers can observe unknown effects and explore extreme dimensions; thus, gaining new insights. Scientists at the HZDR are, for example, participating in large international research teams to help set up detector systems at the new accelerator complex FAIR in Darmstadt. These systems are designed to verify traces of the most elementary particles, including those that do not wander freely, which are the building blocks of our universe. The scientists want to investigate how our universe emerged from the big bang and how elements were created in the evolution of stars. But powerful detectors are also a direct benefit for humans, for example, when it comes to medicine. That's why HZDR physicists are developing together with other colleagues from Dresden's research alliance OncoRay a special camera which is capable of monitoring ion beams during the radiation therapy of cancer patients; thus, optimally controlling and directing these beams. Many centers within the Helmholtz Association focusing on materials science are developing new detector technologies and systems. The new research platform seeks to develop technologies which will advance highly integrated photon, neutron and particle detectors to the next level and, thus, optimize data transmission and data evaluation while also designing and building exemplary detector prototypes. The platform is to provide all participants access to state-of-the-art detector technologies and the actual detectors based on such technologies while also be demonstrating Germany's competence in this sector to the world.
The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology coordinates the platform. The project makes it easier for universities to participate in the research projects of the Helmholtz Association and to use the infrastructure of the Helmholtz centers. Another vital issue of the detector initiative is the education, training, and promotion of the next generation of scientists and technicians in the field of detector instrumentation.