The new capacitor fills a gap in equipment needed to measure low levels of radioactivity where signals from front-end electronics (capacitors, FET-transistors etc.) can swamp the weak signal from a sample. Mikael Hult, JRC scientist, highlights that "for deep underground measurements, specially designed detectors made from selected radiopure materials are fundamental to guarantee accurate results and reliable measurements".
The best gamma-ray spectrometry measurements are performed underground in order to avoid the background of cosmic rays. Due to this development, low-level radioactivity measurements are becoming increasingly important in many fields, from tracing radionuclides from Fukushima around the world and detecting illegal nuclear activities to developing reference materials for food monitoring and searching for rare nuclear decays. In such cases detecting specific radionuclides is a way of searching for fingerprints from certain processes in nature or industry,
Read more in: The European Physical Journal C, High voltage capacitors for low background experiments, C. O’Shaughnessy, E. Andreotti, D. Budjáš, A. Caldwell, A. Gangapshev, K. Gusev, M. Hult,,A. Lubashevskiy, B. Majorovits, S. Schönert, A. Smolnikov, Eur. Phys. J. C (2013) 73:2445, http://dx.doi.org/10.1140/epjc/s10052-013-2445-3