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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Mathematisch-Naturwissen­schaft­liche Fakultät - Experimentelle Elementarteilchenphysik

CTA Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA)



The Cherenkov Telecope Array (CTA) is a planned next-generation ground-based gamma-ray instrument. About 100 Cherenkov telescopes on two sites in the northern and the southern hemisphere will allow for an improvement in sensitivity of a factor of 10 when compared with current installations like H.E.S.S., MAGIC or VERITAS. CTA will also extend the energy range and will grant access to photon energies above 100 TeV.


The Berlin CTA group is involved in several topics, ranging from data acquisition and control for the CTA array over Monte Carlo studies (camera trigger and data rates) to physics studies (dark matter). A 12m prototype telescope, erected by DESY Zeuthen on the Adlershof Campus, is used as a test bed for construction, operation and calibration.


  • Trigger and Monte Carlo Studies

    Ullrich Schwanke, Manuel Paz Arribas
  • Monte Carlo techniques are widely used in CTA to optimize all aspects of the future observatory. The HU group has worked in particular on (i) estimates of event and data rates, and (ii) the concept of an FPGA-based camera trigger. 
  • Array Control Software

    Michael Mayer, Ullrich Schwanke, Tim Holch

    The control of an array consisting of around 50 telescopes with many subsystems (Cherenkov cameras, drive system, CCD cameras, mirror actuators, calibration devices) is a challenging task. The HU group contributes to the design and the implementation of the central control software and explores new ways to detect and automatically handle error conditions.

  • Dark Matter Studies

    Ullrich Schwanke, Louise Oakes

  • The CTA observatory will substantially advance indirect dark matter searches with gamma-rays. Studies conducted in the Berlin group estimated the reach of searches for an annihilation signal from the Milky Way halo and addressed the impact of the altitude of the chosen CTA site.

  • Mirrow Alignment and Pointing Calibration For a 12m Prototype Telescope

    Louise Oakes, Ullrich Schwanke, Stephan Kaphle

  • The precise localization of gamma-ray sources requires detailed knowledge of the pointing direction of the Cherenkov telescopes. The HU group use the 12m prototype telescope to explore how CCD cameras can be used to determine the telescope pointing relative to know star positions.