Research for FAIR

Foam plastic for CBM detector

Foam plastic testing design for the CBM test beam at CERN proton synchrotron (PS), Photo: Institut of Nuclear Physics, Münster University.

Scientists from the Institute for Nuclear Physics at the University of Münster have found a foam plastic which could serve to produce X-ray photons in the future CBM detector at FAIR. The 500-square-meter transition ray detector (TRD), which is necessary for the future CBM experiment (Compressed Baryonic Matter) at FAIR, is being developed in Münster, Germany.


The institute in Münster is conducting research into how foam plastics could serve to create X-ray photons – as a possible alternative to the foil radiators customarily used to date. Charged particles (electrons) are shot with ultrarelativistic speed through a block of polyethylene foam of low density. If the electrons are fast enough, then X-rays, so-called transition radiation (TR), may be created on the interfaces in the foam. The properties of the transition radiation are determined by the structure of the foam.


The result: The production of transition radiation in foam foil radiators may match that of classical foil radiators. Other benefits are the mechanical stability and the more favorable purchase price. A foam foil radiator is one option for the transition ray detector in the future CBM experiment at FAIR in Darmstadt. The German Federation of Foam Plastics and Polyurethanes (FSK) has now awarded the “Innovation Prize Foam Plastics 2013” in the category “Research and Development”, which is endowed with a cash prize of 3,000 euros, to the Ph.D. student Cyrano Bergmann for his project “Creation of transition radiation in foam plastics”.

First TDR-tests with foam plastics (scientific report, PDF) 


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