PHY2405S Experimental Particle Physics



Usually this course is attended by High Energy Physics students, though students with interests in accelerators and instrumentation are encouraged to attend. I will cover the use of accelerators in medicine, ion implantation and the construction of free electron lasers; from terahertz to X-rays. I'll also cover subjects such as low noise electronics and pulse shaping, and the use of ionization sensitive detectors in medical imaging and observational cosmology. 

In general this course is a survey of the techniques of modern experimental high energy physics; accelerators, detectors, and data analysis. The emphasis is on how new technologies have allowed us to probe new areas of particle physics.  The system aspects of experiments are covered via an examination of some modern particle physics experiments. The basics of charged particle dynamics are discussed in the context of the operation of the synchrotron accelerator. The limitations on energy and luminosity are discussed from the point of view of accelerator technology, and also from the point of view of experiments. Current accelerators and the limitations on future accelerators are discussed.   The physics and technology of gas ionization, solid state, and scintillation detectors is covered, and their practical application is looked at in measurements such as the discovery of B-B oscillations and the top quark. 

The physics of calorimeter is discussed in detail, and the practical realization of these devices is discussed in the context of present experiments, such as ATLAS. Innovative devices such as ring imagining Cerenkov counters are examined, using the BaBar experiment on CP violation as an example.  Triggering, data acquisition, and electronics are discussed at an elementary level.  The discussion of data analysis covers computer simulation of experiments, computational techniques, statistics, and the interpretation of experimental results.

Office Hours


I will normally be available before lectures in MP814A, as well as by appointment at other times.  I can be reached at Pekka.Sinervo@UToronto.Ca or  (416) 971-4884.

Lecture Schedule


The following is the PHY2405S lecture schedule for January-April 2013.   All lectures will be in MP912.

Monday lectures will be 10:10 to 11:00 AM
Wednesday lectures will be 11:10-12:00 AM. 


The three extended lectures on Wednesday (marked with asterisk below) will
be 10:10-12:00 – maybe with a break in between.


Wed, Jan 9

Lecture 1


Wed, Jan 16

Lecture 2

Accelerator Concepts (2 meetings)

Mon,  Jan 21



Wed, Jan 23

Lecture 3

RF Cavities (2 meetings)

Mon, Jan 28



Wed, Jan 30*

Lecture 4

Orbit Stability (Extended)

Mon, Feb 4

Lecture 5

Orbit Stability/Synchotron Oscillations (2 meetings)

Wed, Feb 6

Lecture 5


Mon, Feb 11

Lecture 6

Phase Stability (2 meetings)

Wed, Feb 13

Lecture 7

Phase Stability/Luminosity


Reading Week – February 19-22



Mon, Feb 25

Lecture 8


Wed, Feb 28

Lecture 11

Limits to Accelerators

Mon, Mar 4

Lecture 12

Particle Interactions with Matter

Wed, Mar 6


Particle Interactions with Matter

Mon, Mar 11

Lecture 15

Introduction to Gaseous Tracking Detectors

Wed, Mar 13

Lecture 16

Practical Trackers

Mon, Mar 18

Lecture 17

Semiconductor Tracking Detectors

Wed, Mar 20*

Lecture 19

EM and hadronic showers (2 meetings)

Mon, Mar 25

Lecture 20

Hadronic and EM calorimeters

Wed, Mar 27

No lecture


Mon, Apr 1

No lecture


Wed, Apr 3*

Lecture 21

Particle identification (Extended)


The numbering of the lectures preserves Bob Orr's lecture naming structure! 

Problem Sets


There will be three problem sets in the course, each worth 25% of the course grade.

Problem Set 1 is due Feb 11th. 

Problem Set 2 is due Mar 18th.

Problem Set 3 is due Apr 10th.



A report is the last assignment for the course, and will count for 25% of the course grade.  This should be about a recent HEP detector of your choosing, whether it is a collider detector or a fixed-target detector, and should be an overview of the sub-detector components, the technologies used for each component, and a brief summary of the observed performance. 

The report should be approximately 10 -12 pages of text, with references, tables, figures outside this page limit.  It should be fully referenced and be written in a style appropriate for submission to the journal of Nuclear Instruments and Methods.   Alternatively, it could be a 30 minute presentation to the rest of the class, scheduled sometime in mid to late April.

Please discuss with me by the middle of the course what topic you have chosen to cover, as I will be able to provide some references and/or ideas for sources of information for the report.

The report is due April 30.  I'm happy to look at a draft version (this could be a very rough draft) to give you feedback on overall scope, detail and any other issues.


Updated  11 March 2013