From FNAL: “Turning up the luminosity: Fermilab contributes important CMS upgrades”

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FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

April 19, 2018
Sarah Lawhun

Fermilab is developing and testing a revolutionary particle detector concept, one that will enable the CMS detector at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider to handle 10 times the number of particle collisions currently being produced at the European machine — a virtual avalanche. This upgrade will make the LHC the world’s highest-energy proton smasher in the next decades.

CERN CMS

CERN CMS Higgs Event

CERN CMS pre-Higgs Event

At the LHC, two beams of protons are accelerated to nearly the speed of light around the collider’s 18-mile ring in opposite directions, colliding inside one of four detectors, including one called CMS. The protons smash together in the detector’s core, producing a plethora of subatomic particles that fly off in all directions.

The detector — a gigantic, barrel-shaped device that could surround a whale if the instrument were hollow — is packed with layers of detectors that surround the collision site. Think of it as a superhigh-tech onion — a 14,000-ton onion equipped with billions of sensors in its core, buried 100 meters underground. These layers collect data from the particles emerging from the collisions, tracking their paths as they shoot away from the center.

Higher luminosity for the Higgs

In the late 2020s, CERN will turn up the LHC’s beam luminosity, or the number of protons packed into its beams, resulting in showers of even more particles.

This increased abundance will give scientists more opportunities to reveal new particles and processes, helping us refine our understanding of how the universe works.

The CMS and ATLAS co-discovered the Higgs boson in 2012, a discovery that led to a Nobel Prize. Now, both experiments are working to learn more about the Higgs and how it behaves — and in the process to maybe reveal something unexpected.

CERN/ATLAS detector

“There’s the possibility of not only making very precise measurements of phenomena that will allow us to test our assumptions about the Standard Model, but also gaining an increased scope for new physics that might be just beyond where we’re reaching now,” said Ron Lipton, a Fermilab scientist on the CMS experiment who is coordinating the detector project at national level.

Of course, the LHC’s high luminosity won’t do much good if the detector isn’t equipped to handle it.

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CMS tracker for HL-LHC

CERN CMS Tracker for HL-LHC

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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. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.


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FNAL Short-Baseline Near Detector under construction

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Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL

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