A Brewster route to Cherenkov detectors

Xiao Lin, Hao Hu, Sajan Easo, Yi Yang, Yichen Shen, Kezhen Yin, Michele Piero Blago, Ido Kaminer, Baile Zhang, Hongsheng Chen, John Joannopoulos, Marin Soljačić, Yu Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Cherenkov detectors enable a valuable tool to identify high-energy particles. However, their sensitivity and momentum coverage are limited by the refractive index of host materials. Especially, identifying particles with energy above multiple gigaelectronvolts requires host materials with a near-unity refractive index, which are limited to bulky gas chambers. Overcoming this fundamental material limit is important for future particle detectors yet remains a long-standing challenge. Here, we propose a different paradigm for Cherenkov detectors that utilizes the broadband angular filter made from stacks of variable one-dimensional photonic crystals. Owing to the Brewster effect, the angular filter is transparent only to Cherenkov photons from a precise incident angle. Particle identification is achieved by mapping each Cherenkov angle to the peak-intensity position of transmitted photons in the detection plane. Such angular filtering effect, although decreases the photon number collected in the detection plane, enables the realization of a non-dispersive pseudo refractive index over the entire visible spectrum. Moreover, the pseudo refractive index can be flexibly designed to different values close to unity. Our angular-selective Brewster paradigm offers a feasible solution to implement compact and highly sensitive Cherenkov detectors especially in beam lines with a small angular divergence using regular dielectrics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5554
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'A Brewster route to Cherenkov detectors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this