and particle physics
, calorimetry refers to the detection or particles, and measurement of their properties, particularly energy
. There are a wide variety of types, but they all have in common the feature that the process is destructive
to the particle itself in the sense that once passed through a calorimetric
device, the particle
cannot go on to be detected by a secondary
Calorimetric particle detection
was pioneered shortly after WWII, as scintillation counter
s came into use. The combination of use of certain crystal
s with the new invention of the photomultiplier tube
made possible a new age of measurement
of particle properties, accellerating experimental particle physics
to new heights.
As the 'energy frontier' of particle physics was pushed higher and higher by new generations of particle accellerator
s, these 'shower counter
s' or 'calorimeter
s' as they are now called gradually became more and more the cornerstone of experiment
s. The old method of examining the curvature of a particle's bubble chamber
track became harder as energies increased. (Curvature is inversely proportional
, and momentums were getting huge.) To a great extent, the high accuracy of these devices has satiated the need for new ways to measure the energy/momentum four-vector
s of particles.
Moreover, as the energy frontier marches forward, the physics processes of interest became more and more rare, and it became necessary to trigger the equipment when the 'signature' of a particular process was detected. The new technology of the developing field of Calorimetry provided the much needed equipment. Also, the information of interest became not what a bubble chamber photograph
would tell you, but rather, measurements of more global event characteristics, such as 'missing' energy and the production of certain patterns of particle jet
s. The cool thing about these scintillator
s is that they provide this information
ly, making instrument triggering
more functional than ever.
Recently, almost every graduate student
who has written a thesis
in experimental particle physics
has had to examine calorimeter data
. This new paradigm
has been the key to many new discoveries in this field.