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This paper provides a collection of data relevant to the use of various types of semiconductor detector in nuclear spectroscopy and gives examples of the use of detectors in specific experimental applications. Basic data on absorption of various kinds of radiation in germanium and silicon are given, and these are related to the characteristics of different types of semiconductor detectors. A brief outline of the optimization procedure for the detector-amplifier system to obtain good energy resolution follows. Included in a brief review of applications of detectors are examples in the fields of a-particle spectrometry, high-energy particle reactions, and low-temperature nuclear alignment studies.