Berkeley Lab

Semiconductor Detector Laboratory

The Semiconductor Detector Laboratory (SDL) and its staff have a long history of accomplishments in the development and production of radiation detectors and the support of LBNL’s scientific mission. In the early 1960’s, lithium-drifted Si detectors were one of the main focuses of the SDL, and such detectors were produced extensively for Nuclear Science Division (NSD) experiments. Lithium-drifted Ge detectors were also produced, which was then followed by the development of high-purity Ge (HPGe) crystal growth in the early 1970’s and the eventual development of new detector technologies based on the material. Position-sensitive Si and HPGe detectors were developed, and the first Si and HPGe drift detectors were made in the SDL. The shaped-field point-contact HPGe detector, and the amorphous semiconductor passivation and electrical contact technologies were also invented and developed in the SDL. In the mid 1990’s the detector work was expanded to CdZnTe, which led to the highly successful coplanar-grid technology.

Today the SDL is run by staff in NSD’s Applied Nuclear Physics group and the Engineering Division. The facility and its staff have all the equipment and expertise necessary to develop and manufacture unique detectors and detection systems based on Si, HPGe, and CdZnTe. The lab derives its support from programs funded by DHS, NASA, as well as DOE Office of Science. The current focus of these programs is gamma-ray tracking, imaging, and high-resolution spectroscopy for applications in the areas of nuclear physics, astrophysics, nuclear nonproliferation, and homeland security.