Gamma-Ray Detectors

The UCD Space Science group has developed expertise in gamma-ray detector design, characterisation and space qualification in collaboration with and funded by ESA, SFI and the EU. The group has a dedicated detector laboratory, clean room and required gamma-ray sources to support this development programme and a number of long standing international collaborations. In addition to design, the group has many years of experience analysing data from ESA and NASA missions with gamma-ray detectors such as INTEGRAL and Fermi to understand high energy sources, in particular gamma-ray bursts and terrestrial gamma flashes. 

The group’s established heritage is in the following research areas:

  • In-house development and production of gamma-ray detectors using fast scintillators
  • Simulations of detector response and localisation capabilities
  • The use of silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) for scintillator readout
  • Demonstration of  gamma-ray detectors in high altitude balloon flights
  • Miniaturisation of the Gamma-ray Module  (GMOD) for the CubeSat EIRSAT-1
  • Development of readout boards and microcontroller firmware to operate and read data from miniaturised detectors
  • Quantifying radiation damage effects on SiPMs using a high energy proton beam
  • Design of a detector system capable of localising astrophysical sources in orbit
  • Calorimeter development for a Compton Telescope demonstrator
  • Space qualification of a gamma-ray detector

The aim of this strand is to further develop detector systems for the detection of astrophysical objects in orbit using local expertise and facilities. The group further intends to collaborate on aspects of common interest with colleagues in UCD working with the Centre for Physics in Health and Medicine and colleagues in Particle Physics and on ceramics with colleagues in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. Over the next years, the research focus will be on using novel scintillator materials, development of advanced readout solutions with improved timing performance, detector design and modelling for new space-borne experiments.


Gamma-ray detector and silicon photomultipliers undergoing radiation testing at the Paul Scherrer Institute.