AGATA: The Advanced Gamma Tracking Array
23 Oct 2023



The Advanced Gamma Tracking Array (AGATA) is a major European project to develop, build, and operate a world-leading 180-detector (4π) gamma-ray spectrometer for in-beam studies of nuclei.




With the ongoing support from the Technology Department's Daresbury Division, AGATA is a continually evolving international detector that will be hosted by all the major European nuclear-structure facilities in the coming decade and beyond.

The latest iteration of AGATA at INFN-LNL

The social and economic benefits of AGATA are set to be far-reaching, including improved medical imaging and diagnosis for the detection of disease and tumours, portable radiation monitors for bomb detection,​​​ and environmental monitoring of radioactive waste.

AGATA in operation at INFN-LNL

The scope of this engineering project was to locate the instrument at the National Institute for Nuclear Physics laboratory (INFN) in Legnaro and double its current number of high-purity germanium detectors from 45 to 90 detector capsules. 

AGATA in operation at INFN-LNL

Technology at Daresbury successfully delivered the complete mechanical package for the latest phase of AGATA, by designing and building the systems required for a 90-detector array and leading the successful installation of this unique structure at the Legnaro National Laboratory. 

Four teams from Technology at Daresbury Laboratory were involved in the project. They include the​: 

  • Project and Mechanical Engineering Group – as project lead providing project management, mechanical design, and analysis. 
  • Nuclear Physics Group – as construction lead, providing testing and commissioning, developing the new generation of electronics, and developing the detector simulation code. 
  • Electrical Engineering Group – providing control system design, installation, and commissioning. 
  • Mechanical, Metrology and Technical Engineering Group – providing survey and alignment. 

Over the past 30 years, the UK has designed the majority of large gamma-ray spectrometers in Europe and Daresbury has a long track record and global reputation for providing engineering expertise. The team at Daresbury has led the mechanical design work required to locate and exploit the AGATA array at each of the major European nuclear-structure facilities to date.​


Written by Richard Smith, group ​leader of the Projects and Mechanical Engineering ​team.