Physics of the detection process

Some elements are unstable. To get to a stable state, their atomic core needs either to get rid of matter or charge. It emits alpha particles to reduce mass or beta particles to reduce charge. Often this shoot-out of particles is accompanied by high-energetic electromagnetic waves called gamma radiation. The whole process is called radioactivity. 

Fortunately, materials exist, that are sensitive for such radiation. Our detector is made of such material. If gamma radiation hits the detector, a quantum-mechanical reaction occurs. It starts to emit light, but this light is still very weak. 

Because the light is weak, it needs to become much stronger. This is done with a so-called photomultiplier (PMT). Whenever light is seen by the PMT it uses a clever electronic amplification setup to generate a whole avalanche of electrons. The PMT thus generates electronic signals that we can interprete.

A tiny piece of electronics called the multi-channel analyzer (MCA) acquires the signals from the photomultiplier. The MCA itself has rather powerful processor power. It looks into each signal and filters out their area. The area is  proportional to the energy of the original gamma radiation and gives us now a fingerprint of the radiation. From the energies, the MCA calculates the energy spectrum of the radiation (right picture). Here, the example of cesium 137Cs is shown. 

The MCA is connected to a miniaturized computer board. The innoRIID user software runs on this computer and allows that the user can interact with the MCA. Display, sound, keys and all other periphery is attached to it. 

Scientific work conducted by innoRIID

Of course, things are not as easy as described above. This explanation gives only a glimpse onto the physical complexity of the detection process. To be constantly at the edge of science, innoRIID developers and engineers are taking vital part in the international research regarding the fields of detection physics, but also artificial intelligence, machine learning , novel radiation detectors, sparsification, deconvolution techniques and embedded system development. Below, you can find a publication list. All members of the research & development team at innoRIID have worked for other companies in the field before, so this list is in fact incomplete. It only regards to those works performed under the auspices of innoRIID GmbH. For further publications of our team, please follow the references in the papers.


If you would like to get in touch with us regarding a research cooperation, please send an email to: m.neuer(at)

International publications

  1. M. J. Neuer, Spectral identification of a Sr-90 source in the presence of masking nuclides using Maximum-Likelihood deconvolution, Nuclear Instruments and Methods A, Vol. 728, p. 73-80, 2013, ➠DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2013.06.013
  2. M. J. Neuer, E. Jacobs, A cognitive filter to automatically determine scintillator detector materials and to control their spectroscopic resolution during temperature changes, IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, Vol. 61, No. 3, June 2014, ➠, ➠DOI: 10.1109/TNS.2014.2313877
  3. E. Jacobs, C. Henke, M. J. Neuer, A cognitive filter to stabilize peak positions and widths of a scintillation detector, IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference, 2014, Seattle, USA, ➠
  4. M. J. Neuer,  N. Teofilov, Y. Kong, E. Jacobs, Evolutionary ensembles that learn spectroscopic characteristics of scintillation and CZT detectors, IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference 2014, Seattle, USA, ➠
  5. M. J. Neuer, E. Jacobs, Model-based analytical Maximum-Likelihood deconvolution for CZT detectors, IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference 2015, San Diego, USA
  6. M. J. Neuer, E. Jacobs, N. Link, F. Lueck, C. Henke, Cognitive R-Tree for stabilizing temperature and load induced gain shifts of scintillation detectors, IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference 2015, San Diego, USA
  7. M. J. Neuer, C. Henke, E. Jacobs, Forecasting the direction of incoming radiation based on fusion of gyroscopic and spectroscopic data, preprint on archivx, 2015, ➠