Abstract The short wavelength component of a BaF 2 scintillator has been successfully coupled to a tetrakis(dimethylamino)ethylene (TMAE) photocathode and a low-pressure wire chamber. An energy resolution of 28.5% fwhm has been measured for protons losing about 18 MeV in the crystal. A timing resolution of 540 ps fwhm has been measured for 350 MeV α-particles. We foresee a new generation of calorimeters with good spatial, temporal, and energy resolution, able to work at high rates. Other possible applications are also discussed.