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Pavel Rehak passed away on November 4, 2009 after a brief illness. He will be missed in the detector community, in which he pioneered far reaching new concepts and widely influenced many individuals and groups around the world. He was a Fellow of IEEE and a Fellow of APS.
Pavel obtained his first doctoral degree RN Dr (doctorate in natural sciences) at the University of Prague in 1969. He left Czechoslovakia shortly thereafter, and from 1969 until 1972 stayed at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, where he obtained his second doctoral degree, with Italo Mannelli as his thesis advisor. He spent a year at the University of Karlsruhe, and then in 1973 went to work at CERN with W. J. Willis on experiments at the CERN ISR (Intersecting Storage Ring) as a Research Associate in the Physics Department of Yale University. The experiments at the ISR were successful and led, among other results, to the discovery of direct photon production in hadron interactions. In 1976 he was employed by BNL, continued to work at CERN, and moved to BNL in 1977. At BNL, he put most of his effort into the development of innovative particle and photon detectors and their readout electronics, while continuing to participate in physics experiments.
Since 1982, his main interest was semiconductor detectors - while maintaining a prodigious output in other areas. In October 1983, in a month of very intense work, he and Emilio Gatti conceived the idea of the silicon drift detector. Emilio Gatti was on one of his regular, one month long, annual visits to BNL. Their idea went against conventional thinking at the time. All detector experts, when asked if a semiconductor position sensitive detector based on electron drift over long distances analogous to the well developed gaseous drift detectors could work, answered in the negative ("How could you move electrons along a 100 micron thick sheet of silicon over several centimeters without losing them?"). The crucial ingredient of their concept was to realize that a large, very thin sheet of silicon (e.g., of n type with p+ doping on each face) can be depleted of free carriers (electrons in this case) from a tiny n+ contact (an anode about 100 microns in diameter) anywhere at the edge of the sheet. The remaining fixed positive charges create a parabolic potential distribution, with a maximum in the median plane of the sheet. Electrons created by an ionizing particle gather at this potential maximum, and can be drifted along the sheet by applying an electric field in the desired drift direction to strip electrodes formed on the surfaces of the silicon sheet. From this basic concept, various geometrical configurations emerged. A large cylindrical drift detector 10 cm in diameter with radial drift to readout anodes around the periphery was developed for an experiment at CERN. A large drift detector system was built for the STAR experiment at RHIC, and it is one of the detector technologies included in the ALICE experiment at LHC.
The concept of depletion of large areas and charge collection over long distances by a small anode has made possible other types of devices for different applications. One is the fully depleted charge coupled device (CCD). Such a device has been developed as an efficient x-ray detector for astrophysics experiments at the Max-Planck-Institute in Munich, and it is one of the principal detectors on the X-ray Multi Mirror Mission (XMM). Another application has been in silicon detectors for x-ray spectrometry. These are now widespread in industry for trace element analysis.
Pavel has had a deep interest in physics, but most of his work was motivated by his belief that detector developments are among the main forces responsible for the progress in physics and in other natural sciences. He was truly a renaissance physicist, in that he could delve deeply into various areas of physics.
In his last decade Pavel had been working on developing new concepts for x-ray detectors for use with synchrotron radiation. In this last decade his collaboration with younger colleagues flourished, providing inspiration and leaving a deep imprint on everyone working with him.
Pavel led a very active life in many respects. A competitive swimmer in his youth, he pursued swimming with his characteristic tenacity to the end. He was an avid cyclist. Accompanied by his wife, he would ride to Montauk Point at the east end of Long Island, a round-trip of more 200 miles in one day. He was always eager to take friends sailing. Having participated in the 1968 events in Central Europe, he followed closely international politics. He maintained fluency in seven languages and had an appreciation for fine arts . Most of all he was generous, honest and caring.
Pavel will be deeply missed by his colleagues and remembered for all he did and who he was. He is survived by his wife, Margareta, his daughter, Ludmila, and his son Pavel Ludwig.
Veljko Radeka (BNL)
Please note, it is your responsibility to reserve your own accommodations. There is no public transportation to BNL. Attendees are strongly advised to make car rental arrangements prior to arrival. More...
Registered attendees are invited to attend the Tuesday night reception and an optional banquet dinner (US $60.00/pp) after the Symposium. Dinner will be at the Fifth Season in Port Jefferson, New York and will start around 6:30 pm. Directions & Parking
Last Modified: November 9, 2010