Time of flight detector

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A time of flight (TOF) detector is a particle detector which can discriminate between a lighter and a heavier elementary particle of same momentum using their time of flight between two scintillators. The first of the scintillators activates a clock upon being hit while the other stops the clock upon being hit. If the two masses are denoted by and and have velocities and then the time of flight difference is given by

In experimental and applied particle physics, nuclear physics, and nuclear engineering, a particle detector, also known as a radiation detector, is a device used to detect, track, and/or identify ionizing particles, such as those produced by nuclear decay, cosmic radiation, or reactions in a particle accelerator. Detectors can measure the particle energy and other attributes such as momentum, spin, charge, particle type, in addition to merely registering the presence of the particle.

Elementary particle quantum particle having no known substructure; quark, electron, photon, etc.

In particle physics, an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a subatomic particle with no sub structure, thus not composed of other particles. Particles currently thought to be elementary include the fundamental fermions, which generally are "matter particles" and "antimatter particles", as well as the fundamental bosons, which generally are "force particles" that mediate interactions among fermions. A particle containing two or more elementary particles is a composite particle.


A scintillator is a material that exhibits scintillation, the property of luminescence, when excited by ionizing radiation. Luminescent materials, when struck by an incoming particle, absorb its energy and scintillate. Sometimes, the excited state is metastable, so the relaxation back down from the excited state to lower states is delayed : the process then corresponds to either one of two phenomena, depending on the type of transition and hence the wavelength of the emitted optical photon: delayed fluorescence or phosphorescence, also called after-glow.

where is the distance between the scintillators. The approximation is in the relativistic limit at momentum and denotes the speed of light in vacuum.

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