Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013
“News on Fermilab’s NOvA experiment has largely focused on the assembly of the enormous blocks that make up the football-field-sized particle detector in Minnesota. But elsewhere in the NOvA collaboration, engineers have been diligently plugging away at a more hidden-away part of the detector, a component without which the giant device would never be able to intelligibly reveal what it sees.
The NOvA data concentrator module collects and organizes all the particle interaction information generated inside the detector. Engineers are completing the design and testing of the system. Photo: Reidar Hahn
This crucial component is the circuitry and computer code that make up NOvA’s data concentrator modules, or DCMs. Now, after several years of design work and many months of testing and prototyping, engineers are completing the system. Nearly all that remains is for the modules to be installed onto the NOvA detector blocks as they, too, are installed.
‘Many people worked hard to develop a DCM system we expect to run very smoothly,’ said Fermilab’s Ron Rechenmacher, who led one of the DCM hardware-software integration efforts.
The NOvA DCM is a key component of the detector’s data acquisition system, which is responsible for collecting and organizing all the particle interaction information generated inside NOvA’s two detectors. When a particle interacts inside the detector, its energy is transmitted through the detector’s fiber optic system as light signals, which get converted to digital signals by electronics boards, travel through the DCMs and eventually make their way to the larger data acquisition system. The electronics boards and DCM together convert the signals into language that experimenters can later analyze.
NOvA’s DCM system comprises about 180 modules. Each of these custom modules, about the size of a briefcase, attaches to the detector. One hundred sixty-eight of them are assigned to NOvA’s far detector in Minnesota, and a dozen or so belong to the smaller near detector at Fermilab.”
See the full article here.
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics.
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