Interaction position resolution simulations and in-beam measurements of the AGATA HPGe detectors
One of my favourite papers so far. Not only did this give me the opportunity to work with a very interesting germanium detector array, AGATA, but it also gave me the opportunity to test my supervising wings as I was co-supervisor for a masters student, Ali Al-Adili, when he did his Masters thesis on Monte Carlo simulations of AGATA. Ali spent one year looking for a good nuclear reaction for this experiment. In the end, unfortunately, this beam could not be delivered so we had one month to find another reaction. This could not be delivered either due to problems with the accelerator so one day before the experiment we had to switch again. Finally, there was a last minute swithch to the beam we used. So the one year work had to be redone in one month, then had to be redone in one day, then hade to be redone in one hour. That is how physics can be sometimes. But we still got some very nice results.
Since the beamtime was scheduled simultaniously to the European Conference on Nuclear Physics, where I presented some preliminary results from my dysprosium data, I had to do some travel between Bochum and Legnaro. And I got both a conference contribution and nice AGATA data in one week. Great!
AGATA is based on γ-ray tracking, which means that every interaction point in the germanium crystals is identified with its energy and position. Then these interactions points are used in a disentangle process to recreate each individual γ ray and its path through the detector array. Sounds easy? It is not! There are many people who have worked many hard hours to build this array and all the complicated electronics behind it. But they have done a great job and the array works! The question we had to answer during this experiment, however, was if it works good enough. The requirement for the disentangle algorithms to work satisfactory is that the interaction points can be identified with a precision of at least five millimeters. Fortunately, our experiment in Legnaro showed that this was the case.