The Superconducting Tunnel Junctions offer several unique advantages fo the detection of nuclear particles. One of these is the possibility to measure the particle energy with high resolution. Basically the idea is that particle interactions break Cooper pairs and excite quasi-particles above the superconducting energy gap. These can be collected with a superconducting tunnel junction. Because of the small value of the energy gap (10-3 times that of semiconductors), the number of excited charges is roughly 10-3 times larger, resulting in better energy resolution.
The aims of the proposed research work are to extend these technologica developments to the realisation and characterization of new special detector configurations, suitable for use with both the quasi- particle trapping mechanism, and with thermal coupling between the detector and the substrate. Based on the extensive experience in the physics of the Josephson effect of the Naples group, attention will be devoted also to the geometrical effects in the performance of STJ detectors, as well as to investigations into the possibility of using the Josephson effect as a fast detection mechanism for discrimination experiments.
My goals are to integrate my Training in performing experiments on STJs under exposure to nuclear radiations obtained at Oxford University, under HCM contracts (EC nos.CT920195 and CT941220), with the work programme of the Naples group, as well as to achieve a deeper knowledge and a wider competence in the field of superconductivity.