Teaching and Education


Many of our staff members do give lectures at various universities. Below please find a summary of those:
Name Title of the lecture University
Prof. Dr. K. Kirch Nuclear and Particle Physics with Applications ETH Zurich
  Physik II ETH Zurich
Dr. M. Spira Colloquia in Elementary Particle Physics PSI
  The Standard Model of Strong and Electroweak Interactions ETH Zurich
  Phänomenologie der Physik jenseits des Standardmodells ETH Zurich

Opportunities for Students

The Laboratory of Particle Physics offers various opportunities to students for practical training, semester projects and postgraduate theses. This page is constantly updated and gives an overview of these possibilities.

Practical Training

Particle Physics Practical Course

Thanks to the collaboration with the PSI laboratory, it is possible to offer students of the University Zurich , ETH Zürich and University of Heidelberg the unique opportunity to experiment with real beams (primarily pions and muons) using the world's most intense proton beam. The students learn how to build a small, real experiment, including apparatus design, construction as well as data-taking and the final statistical analysis."

Semester Projects

Thermometrie des klimatisierten nEDM Experiments

  • Kalibration von Thermometern mittels existierenden Versuchsaufbau
  • Anbringen des kalibrierten Thermometer am und um das Experiment
  • Messungen von Temperaturgradienten -> erstellen einer 3D Temperaturkarte

Messung der Strahlungsfestigkeit von CFK

Kupferbeschichtetes Kohlefaserplastik ist ein innovatives Material um leichte, nicht magnetische Vakuumkammern zu bauen. Häufig werden Vakuumkammern in einem Strahlenbelasteten Umfeld eingesetzt.
  • Bestrahlung von CFK-Proben (Neutronen, Protonen)
  • Messung Durchstossfestigkeit in Abhängigkeit der Bestrahlungsdauer
  • Analyse der Daten (Matlab / Origin)

Postgraduate Theses (Master's)

Charakterisierung von Bornitrit Keramik als Isolatorring des nEDM Experiments

  • Testversuche bzgl. elektrischer und Vakuum relevanter Charakteristika
  • Tests zur Kompatibilität mit Hg-Magnetometer
  • Neutronreflektometriemessung zur Bestimmung des optischen Potentials
  • Freude am Experimentieren
  • Motivation kleine Steuerungs- und Analyseprogramme zu programmieren (Kenntnisse in Labview u. Matlab /Origin)
  • Selbständiges Arbeiten

Verbesserung der Detektion-Effizienz durch Verkleinerung der Entleerungszeit der UCN aus der nEDM Kammer durch Optimierung der Flächenstruktur des Isolatorrings

  • Monte Carlo Optimierung der Entleerungszeit mit komplexeren Flächenstrukturen
  • Untersuchung des Einflusses einer komplexeren Flächenstruktur auf Hochspannungseigenschaften und Leckströme
  • Testversuche bzgl. Hochspannungseigenschaften und Leckströme mit Prototypen, projektbedingt auch mit neuem Isolatorring
  • Grundlagenwissen über Experimentieren (zB. Elektronik)
  • Numerische C/C++ Programmierung
Contact: Zsigmond Geza

Semester or Master projects

Development of detectors with fibers coupled with SiPM

The silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) is a recent and established evolution of the avalanche photodiode (APD). This device is particularly appropriate for the use in scintillation light because of its high sensitivity, high quantum efficiency, and insensitivity to magnetic field (up to 4 T). Excellent time and energy resolution in addition to small size are crucial for applications at high rate and single photon production.

Applications of fibers coupled with SiPM as stand-alone beam monitoring or vertex detector and timing detector coupled to tracker detector are envisaged.

An active target for the MEG experiment based on very thin scintillating fibres readout by SiPM is considered. The tool should provide a continuous muon beam monitoring, at the highest DC intensity on the world. An absolute normalization of the collected data sample can be extracted. The detector can be used to provide also a very precise measurement of the muon decay vertex, looking at the emerging positron from the muon decay, with an improvement on the positron momentum and angular variable resolutions. A particle identification between positrons and muons can be performed using the different energy deposit of the particles into the detector. For more information about the MEG experiment and its upgrade please refer to the link: http://meg.web.psi.ch.

A cylindrical time of flight detector (ToF) for the Mu3e experiment to complement the central silicon tracking system is proposed. The main purpose of the ToF system is to measure very precisely the arrival time of particles in order to allow for the matching with hits detected in the silicon detectors. This will help to reject pile-up events (accidental backgrounds) and allow for a charge (direction of propagation) measurement for recurling tracks. A detailed R&D program is ongoing to prove the feasibility of the ToF detector and to help optimizing its design. For more information about the Mu3e experiment please refer to the link: http://www.psi.ch/mu3e.

The main challenges of the proposed projects can be identified into (i) the stringent request in terms of material thicknesses, that should be kept as low as possible, to reduce the multiple scattering to a minimum compatible with the required performance (i.e. detection efficiency and time resolution) and (ii) the high rate environment. Activities on the construction of prototypes, test beam, data analysis and Monte Carlo simulation are expected to be covered.
Contact: Angela Papa

Feasibility study of a high-performance LaBr3(Ce) calorimeter

Charged Lepton Flavor Violation (cLFV) can reveal the structure of new physics up to the energy scale of 103 TeV, i.e. well outside the LHC searches reach. The observation of cLFV phenomena such as μ → eγ, μ → eee, μ → e conversion relies on development of detector performance in terms of energy, time and position resolution for gamma rays and positrons or electrons in the energy range 10 ÷ 100 MeV (see for instance the MEG experiment or the Mu3e experiment).

LaBr3(Ce) is a very attractive candidate as a detector medium for the energy range of interest in cLFV searches, thanks to its ultra high light yield (LY) (1.65 times more than the NaI(Tl)), fast emission, possibility of internal energy scale monitoring by means of intrinsic La radioactivity. These properties together with its high density, result in a good candidate as a crystal for a compact calorimeter able to provide simultaneously very high energy and timing performances.

A cylindrical of 3” ×3” crystal was used to study the energy and timing performances of such as detector at relative high energy using nuclear reactions from a Cockcroft-Walton accelerator and a neutron generator. This project includes the measurements with the present detector and Monte Carlo simulation for a prototype of calorimeter consisting of a 4 × 4 (6 × 6) array made with smaller crystals 1.5 × 1.5 × 8 inch coupled to SiPM.

The LaBr3(Ce) is a relative recent scintillator which offers the highest light output together with a very fast time response leading to a strong candidate for future cLFV search. The small crystal size is a present limit on the investigation of the full characteristics of this kind of medium in the field of the high energy physics. The large interest of the scientific community is stimulating the production towards bigger crystal confirming that higher detector performances go in parallel with novel technologies.
Contact: Angela Papa

Searching for hard X-ray polarization in Solar Flares using POLAR instrument on TG2

POLAR instrument is one of the first dedicated hard X-ray polarimeters constructed to measure polarization in the hard X-rays emitted by Solar Flares (SF) and Gamma Ray Bursts (GRB). Detailed mechanisms of either GRB or SFs are not fully understood and precise analysis of the polarization observables could provide new light on the emission processes. Since September 2016 POLAR instrument is flying in space onboard of the Chinese Space Laboratory TG2 and delivers its exceptional data to the ground research centers. With its wide field of view and large area POLAR could already detected several SFs and dozens of GRBs. The PSI POLAR Space Data Center collects all its data and identifies events suitable for further analysis. Main tasks of this activity are software developments for pre-processing of the events with spectral and polarization extraction algorithms construction. It also includes computer modeling using advanced Monte Carlo simulations.
Contact: Wojtek Hajdas

Preparing for Jupiter exploration with Monte Carlo optimization of RADEM particle monitor

JUICE is one of the large class satellite missions of the European Space Agency organized in frame of the Cosmic Vision program. Its goal is to study emergence of the habitable worlds around giant planet moons and detailed studies of Jupiter as a gas giant. Mission preparation requires years-long studies and preparation for the launch planned in the year of 2022. One of the most important hazards to be faced in the Jupiter system is very high level of particle radiation. Paul Scherer Institut, in frame of large international collaboration, develops Radiation Hard Electron Monitor RADEM for precise measurements of the Jupiter radiation environment. First tests of the instrument with at PSI particle facilities aim to verify quality of RADEM for its operation in space. Experimental data require careful verification with the computer model predictions. Main tasks of this activity are particle transport computations with the RADEM mass model and comparison of the experimental and theory predicted data.
Contact: Wojtek Hajdas

Data analysis from particle and radiation monitors for Space Weather research

Exploration of Space Weather (SW) effects on satellites systems and Earth infrastructure greatly relies on dedicated space missions and quality of their instruments. More new satellites are sent to perform crucial SW observations and provide alert signals around the clock. The Paul Scherrer Institute participates in these activities by developing new space particles detectors and analyzing radiation data from satellite observations. Analysis of data from space relies on the fleet of flying missions encompassing ESA, NASA and GESSA operated satellites. Hardware activities encompass new space radiation environment monitors based on modern detector technologies and advanced miniaturized readout systems. Proper implementation of detection systems in space depends on careful instrument characterization on-ground with realistic particle exposures and computer modeling. Main tasks of this activity cover data analysis from electron and proton calibration of space radiation monitors including Monte Carlo modeling and cross-comparisons studies with experimental data.
Contact: Wojtek Hajdas
General E-mail contact: Klaus Kirch