Interaction of Radiation with Matter

Academic year
Subject Area
Física Médica
Language of Instruction
Other Languages of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

Not applicable.

Teaching Methods

Lectures using blackboard and the presentation of slides and computer animations, - the discussion of matters should always include reference and analysis of experimental observations most significant, which are being discussed. -The lessons should always be open to discussion, involving the students. -Preparation of problems for the application of material taught, to be discussed by the students. Study of typical cases. -Development projects with wider scope and greater depth than the sample problems. -Discussion of issues and recent observations on the edge of present knowledge.

Learning Outcomes

Main learning outcomes:
Acquire deep knowledge of the processes of interaction of radiation with matter. Detailed knowledge of the different types of radiation detectors and their operation.

Other learning outcomes:
Development of simulation and modelling skills, using generic software as well as  development of small specific programs
Development of analytical and synthesis reasoning skills, problem-solving and critical analysis of data and results.
Development of learning autonomy, creativity and laboratory skills.

Work Placement(s)



Interaction of charged particles with matter.
Scattering of particles by i) electrons ii) atomic nuclei
dE/dx equation in the Bohr approximation.
Bether-Bloch equation.
dE/dx for composite materials. Particle range. Bragg curve.
Statistical fluctuations in energy loss. Straggling. Deposition of energy in thin layers. Landau distribution.
dE/dx for electrons and positrons.
Multiple scattering of particles. Molière distribution. Production of delta rays.
Interaction of photons with matter.
Photoelectric effect. Calculation of cross-section.
Compton effect. Klein-Nishina cross-section. Compton edge.
Cross-section for bremsstrahlung and pair production.
Interaction of neutrons with matter.
Gaseous detectors.
Semiconductor detectors.
Liquid, organic, inorganic and cryogenic detectors.
Signal formation in radiation detectors. Energy and position resolution.
Neutron detectors.
Simulation of a radiation detector.

Head Lecturer(s)

Maria Isabel Silva Ferreira Lopes

Assessment Methods

Continuous assessment
Mini Tests: 20.0%
Resolution Problems: 20.0%
Synthesis work: 20.0%
Frequency: 40.0%

Final assessment
Resolution Problems: 20.0%
Synthesis work: 20.0%
Exam: 60.0%


“Techniques for Nuclear and Particle Physics Experiments: a how to approach”, W. Leo, Springer, 1994.
“Principles of Radiation Interaction in Matter and Detection”, Claude Leroy and Pier-Giorgio Rancoita, World Scientific, 2004.
Complementary bibliography
High Energy Astrophysics: volume 1, Malcolm S. Longair, Cambridge Press, 2004