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HPGe Detector, Part I: Repair » thorium_noise_0v

With no bias voltage applied (but with the detector at LN2 temperature), a forest of pulses appears on the ‘scope trace when a bottle of thorium nitrate is brought near. This is the photovoltaic effect in the germanium, and a useful preliminary test of the crystal, preamplifier, and signal chain before the somewhat risky procedure of turning on HV bias.


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