This paper presents the characteristics of a new generation of composite ge
rmanium detectors: the Clover detector. Its development was based on simula
tion calculations performed with the code GEANT3. An extensive study of its
main characteristics involving the photopeak detection efficiency, the ene
rgy resolution and the timing performed with sources and in-beam experiment
s have been measured. A simple Doppler broadening correction procedure is p
roposed to improve the in-beam energy resolution of the Clover detector. An
other important property, the sensitivity to the linear polarisation of ga
mma-rays has been measured. The performances obtained with the associated E
GO suppression shield are also reported. All these results compare very wel
l with the initial simulation calculations. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.
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