Research Activities

Semiconductor detectors and nuclear physics

The Department collaborates with a Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna (Russia) on detectors for the experiment "Hypernuclei" which should contribute to a deeper understanding of nuclear forces between nucleons. The Department also intensively collaborates on the ATLAS experiment at CERN (Geneva) which was designed to study the fundamental nature of matter. Silicon avalanche photodiodes (SPAD), developed in collaboration with other employees of the Czech Technical University in Prague, are used to construct a detector for detecting single photons. These detectors are widely used in applications for their unique properties, especially picosecond time resolution and high resistance to ionizing radiation. Such application is for example laser measuring of satellite distance and shifting of continents. The detectors are used at dozens of telemetric stations worldwide. The global network of laser range finders along with special geodetic satellites provides data for space geodesy continuously. The picture shows measured vectors of motion for each monitoring station against the geocentric frame of reference. Diodes and detectors designed from them participate in several orbital and planetary missions. The system is in orbit since 2011.

Scientists of this department also developed dosimeters for doses of fast neutrons intended primarily to control personal radiation protection.

Methods for modifying the surface areas of materials

The department develops methods using electron and ion beams to modify the surface areas of materials. They are namely methods of ion implantation and IBAD (Ion Beam Assisted Deposition). These methods have a variety of options, e.g.: LE IBAD (Low Energy IBAD ions with an energy of hundreds of electron volts) and HE IBAD (High Energy IBAD ions with an energy of tens kiloelectron volt). IBAD process consists of several sub-processes or accompanying effects. The basic sub-processes are deposition of atoms (usually by sputtering or steaming using electron beam) and ion bombardment. Bombarding ions can be reflected back from the deposited atoms or atoms of original material into the vacuum chamber. In case of collision, accelerated ions may pass to deposed atoms enough energy to penetrate into the surface area of the modified material (recoil implantation). Collision cascade of accelerated ions with deposed atoms and atoms of original material may also lead to ion sputtering. In case the bombarding ions are not reflected back into the vacuum chamber, they are incorporated (implanted) in the deposited layer or the modified material. The basic processing method parameter for IBAD is the ratio of the flux density of bombarding ions a deposited atoms.

The department also participated with these methods in successful implementation of a large EU project which was carried out through cooperation of 25 organizations from many European countries and Israel. The project was a cooperation of a number of universities, research institutions and major multinational companies such as Siemens, Saint-Gobain and Edwards. The project was coordinated by a steel-making giant Arcelor.

Thermophysical properties and special cooling systems for electronics

Following the research of thermophysical properties of fluids, the Department addresses the issue of special cooling systems for electronics with a high degree of integration of elements. The research also includes complex measuring of speed of sound in gases and modification of the principle of sonar experimental equipment into apparatus to allow extra analysis of gas mixtures or even flow measurement. Data quality is compared with simulation calculations of thermodynamic properties based on Monte Carlo methods and molecular dynamics.

The department was involved in the investigation of a number of projects namely focused on detectors of elementary particles for the LHC accelerator at CERN. The department successfully participated in a programme dealing with the creation of a concept and construction of the cooling system for an internal detector within the scope of the ATLAS project. Another successful project was a fully materialized system for the TOTEM project for RP (Roman Pots)-type detectors.

Recently the department has to considerable extent contributed to implementations within the scope of the ALICE and LHCb ptojects. During the last three years the department has developed a mobile system in a uniquely modified version with whirl tubes using air as the cooling medium.

Due to a significant share of experimental work in the projects the department designs and develops automated systems for data collection including special sensorics (measuring detectors/sensors) and control systems.