The African LaBr3:Ce array (ALBA) will consist of 23 large-volume LaBr3:Ce detectors. These detectors are characterised by good energy resolution, an excellent time response and a high efficiency for γ-ray detection. These properties make these crystals highly suitable for experiments with high-energy γ rays and high count rates. ALBA can be used as a stand-alone γ-ray spectrometer, coupled to the K600 spectrometer or to silicon-detector arrays for particle identification and with high-resolution gamma-ray detectors such as the HPGe Clover detectors already present at iThemba LABS. This unique experimental setup will allow for a new generation of studies where the γ-decay probability has been too low to be investigated with the arrays currently available worldwide.
The first six detectors of ALBA arrived at the end of 2017 and they have already been used in several experiments to investigate the gamma strength function and giant-resonance response in nuclei. The remaining detectors are now being delivered and the array is estimated to be completed by the end of 2020. A new frame structure and scattering chamber has been built to couple the full ALBA configuration with the K600 spectrometer. The first commissioning experiment for ALBA is planned for 2021.
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