Master Student Projects

Projects for Master students in the Nikhef Detector R&D group

This is an overview with all available Master student projects in the Nikhef Detector R&D group.

If you have your own research proposal, need more detailed information on the (availability) of individual proposals or would like to discuss about other available projects in the group you are always welcome to contact either the contact person for the project and/or the Nikhef Detector R&D group leader:

Niels van Bakel [e-mail:, Tel 020-5922255, Nikhef room H045

For an overview of the theses written in the Nikhef Detector R&D group you can look at the ArticlesAndTalks

1) Could one identify very high energy (~ TeV) particles in Silicon voxel detectors?

Supervisors: Erik Heijne (staff) and Els Koffeman (staff)

Research description:

Could one identify very high energy (~TeV) particles in silicon voxel detectors ? A study in practice and in theory of energy transfers in a highly segmented silicon detectors. Beam testing at CERN will be a part of the work, besides theory and analysis of the data. Some prior experience with ROOT is required.

See details

2) XAMS Dark Matter R&D Setup

Supervisors: Matteo Alfonsi (Postdoc) and Rolf Schon (PhD)

Research description:

The Amsterdam Dark Matter group is constructing an R&D xenon detector at Nikhef. The detector is a dual-phase xenon time-projection chamber and will be filled with about 4kg of ultra-pure liquid xenon. We plan to use this detector for the development of new detection techniques (such as utilizing the GridPix chip) and to improve the understanding of the response of liquid xenon to various forms of radiation. The results could be directly used in the XENON experiment, the world’s most sensitive direct detection dark matter experiment at the Gran Sasso underground laboratory. The xenon liquifaction and purification equipment is almost complete and will be tested shortly. We have an opening for an MSc student to help us finish the xenon plant and then, together with engineers and technicians at Nikhef, design, build and test the time-projection chamber. We are looking for someone who is interested in working in a laboratory on high-tech equipment, building the detector in a small group, taking data and analyzing the data him/herself.

3) Spectroscopic X-ray imaging with detectors of the Medipix family

Supervisors: Enrico Jr. Schioppa (PhD) and Els Koffeman (staff)

Research description A: Effect of per-pixel calibration on energy resolution

Although all pixels are designed to be exact copies of each other, it is impossible that they are all manufactured the same way. Mismatches are unavoidable.
In order to ensure the best performance from a spectroscopic detector, it is important that the energy response of the pixels is as more homogeneous as possible. A pixel equalization procedure is therefore crucial.

A first pixel matrix equalization procedure is already available in the software package used to operate Medipix chips. However, this is not enough. To maximize the homogeneity of the matrix response, a per-pixel energy calibration is necessary. Such a calibration can be performed by exploiting the (almost) monochromatic radiation emitted as fluorescences from pure metal samples excited by a primary X-ray field.

In the project the student will get familiar with this technique and will study how an energy calibration driven equalization of the pixel matrix is able to optimize the performance of the detector.

Research description B: Operation of the CT setup

X-ray computerized tomography (X-CT) is the technique that allows to reconstruct the 3D structure of the inner part of a body imaged with X-rays. The principle of CT reconstruction is relatively simple: if an object is (X-ray) imaged from different points of view, a proper mathematical treatment of the collection of 2D images allows to estimate the 3D structure of the original object.

At Nikhef an X-ray CT setup for micro-imaging with Medipix based detectors has been recently built in order to study how these techniques can benefit from the spectroscopic capabilities of such devices.

In this project the student will get familiar with the operation of the CT setup and the detector data acquisition system for X-ray images, contributing to the collection of CT data for further analysis.

See: details

4) Single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array for applications in charged particle detectors

Supervisors: Not decided yet and will be discussed with the student and TU-Delft

Research description:

In this project we would like to test a single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) array for applications in charged particle detectors. First we would like to test the SPAD at Nikhef with Fe-55 and/or Sr-90 radioactive sources. For our applications it is of interest to reduce the dark count rate (DCR), therefore lowering the bias voltage and measuring the detection efficiency. In a second phase we would like to test two SPAD arrays in a beam-telescope set-up at CERN in order to determine more accurately the efficiency as function of bias voltage and to study the performance of the SPAD in a particle beam environment. This project will probably be in collaboration with TU-Delft.

5) Proton Radiography for Proton Beam Therapy

Supervisors: Jan Visser (staff)

Research description:

In the near future a Proton Beam Therapy centre will be built in Groningen. We have started to collaborate with KVI and the UMCG in Groningen to improve the quality of the data on which the treatment plan is based. The idea of Proton Beam Therapy is to stop the protons in the tumour where they will deposit the major part of their energy, thereby destroying the tumour.
Currently, only the X-ray Computed Tomography data is used to determine the area that needs to be irradiated with protons to destroy the tumour. However, this data is not ideal to calculate the proton beam stopping power distribution as it is based on X-ray attenuation, which is a completely different physical process compared to the stopping of protons.
Therefore, we want to implement Proton Beam Computed Tomography, by shooting fast protons through the patient. To improve the information about where the protons are going to stop in the patient, we use a detector system that can track the beam both before and after the patient and at the same time will determine how much energy is dissipated in the patient.

See: details

6) Measuring a particle track in 1 μl of gas

Supervisors: Fred Hartjes (staff)

Research description:

At Nikhef we have built the micro-volume gaseous detector Gossipo to reconstruct tracks of charged particles. The detector consists of a 16 x 16 matrix pixel chip with a 0.8 mm2 sensitive area. The ionization that is created in the 1.3 mm high gas layer is collected by the pixel chip to reconstruct the trajectory of the particle. The combination of ultra-low diffusion gas, a very fine pixel pitch (55 μm) and a high resolution drift time measurement is expected to yield a resolution that has never achieved before with this type of detector.

July 2013 we have organised a testbeam experiment at DESY (Hamburg) to measure its performance. A master student may contribute to one or more of the open questions.

See: details

7) Master student project on the study of edgeless sensors

Supervisors: Martin van Beuzekom (staff)

Research description:

In this project we have different types of silicon sensors to be tested both at Nikhef with various set-ups such as a laser set-up and X-ray set-up, and at test beam experiments e.g. at DESY. We need to obtain information about the performance of the edge pixels relative to the pixels in the centre of the matrix. Therefore we need to reconstruct the effective volume of the pixels and the electric field configuration. Results from the measurements will be used to adapt the model of the sensor in a device simulation package (TCAD)

See: details

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
PDFpdf Gossipo-2_project.pdf manage 251.3 K 2013-08-22 - 18:24 FredHartjes Fred Hartjes posted this project
PDFpdf Proton_Radiography_Master_Project.pdf manage 115.7 K 2013-07-24 - 07:01 JanVisser  
PDFpdf enrico-internship_project_proposal.pdf manage 84.5 K 2013-01-11 - 09:57 NielsVanBakel CT Imaging
PDFpdf erik-Heijne-NIKHEF-Master-Si-1.pdf manage 77.0 K 2012-06-15 - 14:35 NielsVanBakel  
PDFpdf slim-edge_master_project.pdf manage 136.8 K 2013-07-24 - 07:00 JanVisser  
Topic revision: r10 - 2013-09-01 - NielsVanBakel
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