1Signal Generation in Radiation Detectors

Understanding pulse formation mechanisms in radiation detectors is necessary for the design and optimization of pulse processing systems that aim to extract different information such as energy, timing, position, or the type of incident particles from detector pulses. In this chapter, after a brief introduction on the different types of radiation detectors, the pulse formation mechanisms in the most common types of radiation detectors are reviewed, and the characteristics of detectors’ pulses are discussed.

1.1 Detector Types

A radiation detector is a device used to detect radiation such as those produced by nuclear decay, cosmic radiation, or reactions in a particle accelerator. In addition to detecting the presence of radiation, modern detectors are also used to measure other attributes such as the energy spectrum, the relative timing between events, and the position of radiation interaction with the detector. In general, there are two types of radiation detectors: passive and active detectors. Passive detectors do not require an external source of energy and accumulate information on incident particles over the entire course of their exposure. Examples of passive radiation detectors are thermoluminescent and nuclear track detectors. Active detectors require an external energy source and produce output signals that can be used to extract information about radiation in real time. Among active detectors, gaseous, semiconductor, and scintillation ...

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