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  • richardmitnick 9:32 am on May 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Fresh antimatter study by ALICE collaboration will help with the search for dark matter", Antideuterons-composed of an antiproton and an antineutron., , By colliding protons in the LHC ALICE scientists mimicked antideuteron production through cosmic ray collisions and could thus measure the production rate associated with this phenomenon., CERN ALICE, Detecting antideuterons in space could be an indirect signature of dark matter., , In the future these types of studies at ALICE could be extended to heavier antinuclei., , The study of light antinuclei – from creation to annihilation – will bolster future indirect dark matter searches., Various experiments are on the hunt for antideuterons in the Universe including the AMS detector on the International Space Station.   

    From ALICE at CERN: “Fresh antimatter study by ALICE collaboration will help with the search for dark matter” 

    From From ALICE at CERN

    28 May, 2020

    The study of light antinuclei – from creation to annihilation – will bolster future indirect dark matter searches.

    The ALICE collaboration has presented new results on the production rates of antideuterons based on data collected at the highest collision energy delivered so far at the Large Hadron Collider. The antideuteron is composed of an antiproton and an antineutron. The new measurements are important because the presence of antideuterons in space is a promising indirect signature of dark matter candidates. The results mark a step forward in the search for dark matter.

    Recent astrophysical and cosmological results point towards dark matter being the dominant form of matter in the universe, accounting for approximately 85% of all matter. The nature of dark matter remains a great mystery, and cracking its secrets would open a new door for physics.

    Detecting antideuterons in space could be an indirect signature of dark matter, since they could be produced during the annihilation or decay of neutralinos or sneutrinos, which are hypothetical dark matter particles.

    Various experiments are on the hunt for antideuterons in the Universe, including the AMS detector on the International Space Station.

    CERN AMS on the ISS

    However, before inferring the existence of dark matter from the detection of these nuclei, scientists must account for both their rates of production by other sources (namely, collisions between cosmic rays and nuclei in the interstellar medium) and the rates of their annihilation caused by encountering matter on their journey. In order to assert that the detected antideuteron is related to the presence of dark matter, the production and annihilation rates must be well understood.

    By colliding protons in the LHC, ALICE scientists mimicked antideuteron production through cosmic ray collisions, and could thus measure the production rate associated with this phenomenon. These measurements provide a fundamental basis for modelling antideuteron production processes in space. By comparing the amount of antideuterons detected with that of their matter counterparts (deuterons, which do not annihilate in the detector), they were able to determine, for the first time, the annihilation probability of low-energy antideuterons.

    These measurements will contribute to future antideuteron studies in the Earth’s vicinity, and help physicists determine whether they are signatures of the presence of dark matter particles, or if on the contrary they are manifestations of known phenomena.

    In the future, these types of studies at ALICE could be extended to heavier antinuclei. “The LHC and the ALICE experiment represent a unique facility to study antimatter nuclei,” says ALICE Spokesperson Luciano Musa. “This research will continue to provide a crucial reference for the interpretation of future astrophysical dark matter searches.”

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 11:38 am on April 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Major upgrades of particle detectors and electronics prepare CERN experiment to stream a data tsunami", , , CERN ALICE, , , , ,   

    From Oak Ridge National Laboratory: “Major upgrades of particle detectors and electronics prepare CERN experiment to stream a data tsunami” 


    From Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    April 29, 2020

    For a gargantuan nuclear physics experiment that will generate big data at unprecedented rates—called A Large Ion Collider Experiment, or ALICE—the University of Tennessee has worked with the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to lead a group of U.S. nuclear physicists from a suite of institutions in the design, development, mass production and delivery of a significant upgrade of novel particle detectors and state-of-the art electronics, with parts built all over the world and now undergoing installation at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

    CERN/ALICE Detector

    “This upgrade brings entirely new capabilities to the ALICE experiment,” said Thomas M. Cormier, project director of the ALICE Barrel Tracking Upgrade (BTU), which includes an electronics overhaul that is among the biggest ever undertaken by DOE’s Office of Nuclear Physics.

    ALICE’s 1,917 participants from 177 institutes and 40 nations are united in trying to better understand the nature of matter at extreme temperature and density. To that end, the LHC creates a succession of “little bangs”—samples of matter at energy densities not seen in the universe since microseconds after the Big Bang. ALICE’s detectors identify the high-energy particles and track their trajectories, interactions and decays that produce lower-energy daughter particles, daughters of daughters, and so on. The upgrades enable ALICE to more efficiently track particles at high rates, digitize their weak analog electronic signals continuously and stream the tsunami of readout data to high-performance computing (HPC) centers around the world for analysis.

    “Revising the instrumentation lets us expand the window of the science that ALICE can look at,” said Cormier, who is a physicist at ORNL and professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. “A lot of things are waiting out there to be discovered if we just have the sensitivity to see them.” Combined with upgrades to the LHC accelerator, the BTU will increase sensitivity tenfold, enabling greater differentiation of the underlying science.

    Completed ahead of schedule and under budget, the project relied on participants from DOE’s Oak Ridge (ORNL) and Lawrence Berkeley (LBNL) National Laboratories and seven universities: California at Berkeley, Creighton, Houston, Tennessee at Knoxville (UTK), Texas at Austin (UT Austin), Wayne State and Yale.

    The upgrade effort began in April 2015 and ended in November 2019, delivering a suite of advanced detectors and electronics to CERN. Researchers anticipate the completion of installations this spring.

    Considering the scale, this is no easy feat. Sited underground at the Franco-Swiss border, ALICE is heavier than the Eiffel Tower. A 52-foot-tall magnet is its front door. Behind it, nuclear physicists have rolled out one of the world’s biggest barrel instruments, housing many detectors arranged in concentric cylinders. LHC’s beam line runs through its center axis.

    Significant effort went into improving two ALICE detector systems. One is the Time Projection Chamber (TPC), a gas-filled cylindrical apparatus the size of a shuttle bus. As charged particles speed through the gas, a magnetic field bends their paths, creating curved trajectories that reveal their momenta and masses and, in turn, their identities. Each endcap of the TPC cylinder is covered with two concentric rings of novel inner and outer readout chambers that receive the ionization charge and amplify it using an innovative four-layer system of micro-pattern perforated Gaseous Electron Multiplier foils. A system of nearly a half million, millimeter-scale pads spreads across the ends of the TPC cylinder to collect the amplified charge and create an electronic image of the charged particle tracks.

    The second detector system to receive an upgrade is a seven-layer Inner Tracking System. LBNL collaborated with UT Austin to develop its middle layers, which include a strong-but-lightweight carbon-fiber frame to support seven layers of staves holding 24,000 silicon-pixel sensors for high-precision particle tracking. Each pixel is 30 × 30 micrometers squared—finer than an average human hair. This detector will have a total of 12.5 billion pixels—making it the largest “digital camera” ever built.

    Processing the biggest of data

    The upgrade dramatically increased the number of events per second that ALICE can sample and read out. Kenneth Read, manager of BTU’s electronics upgrade, led a huge undertaking in design, fabrication and assembly of electronics hardware. Read, an experimental nuclear physicist with expertise in high performance computing, holds joint appointments at ORNL and UTK.

    Ultimately, Read’s team delivered 3,276 circuit boards (plus 426 spares) for readout of the half a million TPC channels. The electronics upgrade makes it possible to digitize and distribute 5 million samples per second per channel.

    “Non-stop data output totaling 3 terabytes per second will flow from the Time Projection Chamber, 24/7, during data taking,” Read explained. “Historically, many experiments have dealt with megabyte per second, or even gigabyte per second, data rates. Real-time processing of streaming scientific data at 3 terabytes per second is approaching unique in the world. This is a big data problem of immense proportions.”

    That data provides a snapshot of the quantum system known as the quark–gluon plasma—the matter of the very early universe first discovered at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory and subsequently studied at both RHIC and the ALICE detector at the LHC.


    Such a plasma is produced here on Earth when a powerful collider, such as the LHC, accelerates heavy ions, each containing many protons and neutrons, and collides these heavy ions with so much energy that their protons and neutrons “melt” into their elementary building blocks—quarks and gluons—in a plasma more than 100,000 times hotter than our sun’s core. This exploding “soup” of liberated quarks and gluons forms particles that decay into myriad other particles. The detector array identifies and maps them so nuclear scientists can reconstruct what happened and gain understanding of the collective phenomena.

    Capturing that plethora of particle collision events required a team of institutes to develop a custom-tailored chip that could digitize and read out the biggest of data. Enter “SAMPA.” At the heart of ALICE’s massive electronics upgrade, this chip began as the PhD thesis project of Hugo Hernandez, then at the University of Sao Paolo.

    SAMPA chips and other electronic components were shipped to Zollner Electronics in Silicon Valley for assembly onto printed circuit boards fabricated by electronics manufacturing giant TTM Technologies. The team of ORNL PhD-level electrical engineers making critical contributions throughout the electronics upgrade—lead designer Charles Britton with N. Dianne Bull Ezell, Lloyd Clonts, Bruce Warmack and Daniel Simpson—also developed a high-throughput station to test the boards right at the assembly factory. Whereas it traditionally took 1 hour to diagnose and debug a complex board, the ORNL team’s automated process did it in a mere 6 minutes.

    “It used to be, you’d order a thousand widgets, receive them at Oak Ridge and test them,” Read reminisced. “You’d send the bad ones back to the factory and the good ones on to CERN.” The ORNL test stations allowed the assembly factory to ship passing boards directly to CERN in small “just-in-time” batches for quicker installation than possible when waiting on large lots.

    The researchers will calibrate the BTU using cosmic rays. Then, the upgraded equipment will be ready for the high-luminosity LHC Run-3, anticipated in 2021. Several runs of various collision data sets are planned—lead-on-lead, proton-on-lead and proton-on-proton—to illuminate emergent features of the quark-gluon plasma.

    Even one year of collected raw data will be far too big to archive. The readout system winnows the streaming data to petabyte scale by processing it on the fly with hardware acceleration using field-programmable gate arrays and graphics processing units (GPUs)—considered a best practice. The reduced data is distributed over high-speed networks to HPC centers around the world, including ORNL’s Compute and Data Environment for Science, for further processing. As experiments get larger, physicists build the case for also using centralized resources, such as the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility’s Summit supercomputer for GPU-accelerated data processing.

    “Other large experiments at the LHC using different particle detectors—notably ATLAS and CMS—will confront some of the same data challenges as ALICE in 2027 and beyond,” said ALICE researcher Constantin Loizides of ORNL.



    “The world-leading capabilities of the BTU electronics will likely benefit future physics experiments like the planned electron–ion collider, a top priority for U.S. nuclear physics.”

    See the full article here .

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    ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.


  • richardmitnick 8:41 am on March 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Plasma polarised by spin-orbit effect", , , CERN ALICE, , , , , ,   

    From CERN Courier: “Plasma polarised by spin-orbit effect” 

    From CERN Courier

    23 March 2020

    A report from the ALICE experiment

    Fig. 1. The spin alignment of (spin-1) K*0 mesons (red circles) can be characterised by deviations from ρ00 = 1/3, which is estimated here versus their transverse momenta, pT. The same variable was estimated for (spin-0) K0S mesons (magenta stars), and K*0 mesons produced in proton–proton collisions with negligible angular momentum (hollow orange circles), as systematic tests. Credit: CERN

    Spin-orbit coupling causes fine structure in atomic physics and shell structure in nuclear physics, and is a key ingredient in the field of spintronics in materials sciences. It is also expected to affect the development of the quickly rotating quark–gluon plasma (QGP) created in non-central collisions of lead nuclei at LHC energies. As such plasmas are created by the collisions of lead nuclei that almost miss each other, they have very high angular momenta of the order of 107ħ – equivalent to the order of 1021 revolutions per second. While the extreme magnetic fields generated by spectating nucleons (of the order of 1014 T, CERN Courier Jan/Feb 2020 p17) quickly decay as the spectator nucleons pass by, the plasma’s angular momentum is sustained throughout the evolution of the system as it is a conserved quantity. These extreme angular momenta are expected to lead to spin-orbit interactions that polarise the quarks in the plasma along the direction of the angular momentum of the plasma’s rotation. This should in turn cause the spins of vector (spin-1) mesons to align if hadronisation proceeds via the recombination of partons or by fragmentation. To study this effect, the ALICE collaboration recently measured the spin alignment of the decay products of neutral K* and φ vector mesons produced in non-central Pb–Pb collisions.

    Spin alignment can be studied by measuring the angular distribution of the decay products of the vector mesons. It is quantified by the probability ρ00 of finding a vector meson in a spin state 0 with respect to the direction of the angular momentum of the rotating QGP, which is approximately perpendicular to the plane of the beam direction and the impact parameter of the two colliding nuclei. In the absence of spin-alignment effects, the probability of finding a vector meson in any of the three spin states (–1, 0, 1) should be equal, with ρ00 = 1/3.

    The ALICE collaboration measured the angular distributions of neutral K* and φ vector mesons via their hadronic decays to Kπ and KK pairs, respectively. ρ00 was found to deviate from 1/3 for low-pT and mid-central collisions at a level of 3σ (figure 1). The corresponding results for φ mesons show a deviation of ρ00 values from 1/3 at a level of 2σ. The observed pT dependence of ρ00 is expected if quark polarisation via spin-orbit coupling is subsequently transferred to the vector mesons by hadronisation, via the recombination of a quark and an anti-quark from the quark–gluon plasma. The data are also consistent with the initial angular momentum of the hot and dense matter being highest for mid-central collisions and decreasing towards zero for central and peripheral collisions.

    The results are surprising, however, as corresponding quark-polarisation values obtained from studies with Λ hyperons are compatible with zero. A number of systematic tests have been carried out to verify these surprising results. K0S mesons do indeed yield ρ00 = 1/3, indicating no spin alignment, as must be true for a spin-zero particle. For proton–proton collisions, the absence of initial angular momentum also leads to ρ00 = 1/3, consistent with the observed neutral K* spin alignment being the result of spin-orbit coupling.

    The present measurements are a step towards experimentally establishing possible spin-orbit interactions in the relativistic-QCD matter of the quark–gluon plasma. In the future, higher statistics measurements in Run 3 will significantly improve the precision, and studies with the charged K*, which has a magnetic moment seven times larger than neutral K*, may even allow a direct observation of the effect of the strong magnetic fields initially experienced by the quark–gluon plasma.
    Further reading

    ALICE Collaboration 2019 arXiv:1910.14408.

    ALICE Collaboration 2019 arXiv:1909.01281.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 11:24 am on September 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How to Get a Particle Detector on a Plane", , CERN ALICE, , , , ,   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “How to Get a Particle Detector on a Plane” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    September 19, 2019
    Glenn Roberts Jr.
    (510) 486-5582

    Berkeley Lab researchers have been assembling components for an upgrade of the ALICE particle collider experiment’s detector array at CERN laboratory. Learn about their work and how it could help to unravel the inner workings of an exotic state of matter known as the quark-gluon plasma in this short video. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    You may have observed airplane passengers accompanied by pets or even musical instruments on flights. But have you ever been seated next to a particle detector?

    For more than a year, a small team at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has been working to assemble, test, and transport detector pieces for an upgrade of the ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) detector array at CERN laboratory in Europe.

    CERN/ALICE Detector

    Detector panels ride as ‘passengers’

    The Berkeley Lab team’s solution to ensuring that each of these carefully assembled, delicate pieces gets from Point A to Point B intact: treat them as travel companions.

    ALICE, a nuclear physics experiment, is designed to collide high-energy lead ions with one another and with protons to explore an exotic state of superhot matter known as quark-gluon plasma that is thought to have existed in the early universe.

    Berkeley Lab’s Nicole Apadula inspects a detector stave that was built for the ALICE inner tracking system detector upgrade at CERN laboratory. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    Berkeley Lab is one of five sites around the globe that is building detector panels (called “staves”) for the upgrade project, which will improve the performance of the ALICE detector’s inner tracking system – including its resolution to take snapshots of particle collisions, its durability, and data-collection speed.

    Nuclear physics researchers at Berkeley Lab take turns in transporting four long detector staves at a time in a custom-built clear container equipped with a shoulder strap. When loaded, the meter-long container weighs about 25 pounds. The staves are stacked with sequences of silicon chips and related circuitry and power components.

    Each stave the Berkeley Lab team is responsible for has eight sensor modules, and each module is equipped with 14 sensors, for a total of 112 sensors per stave.

    This seat is taken

    “We ended up buying seats on commercial flights for them because there is no other reliable way to get them there,” said Leo Greiner, a staff scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Nuclear Science Division who leads the team working on the ALICE detector upgrade components.

    The team had used mechanical models of the detector modules to see how they would hold up in an airplane’s cargo hold, and they didn’t fare well: The units were visibly damaged, with some parts breaking off.

    “It was pretty clear the transportation couldn’t happen in the way we originally envisioned,” Greiner said. So he researched the best way to get the staves inside the cabin – a more protected environment. The rules for purchasing a seat for the staves are similar to those for expensive musical instruments that musicians want to hand-carry onto the plane, he said.

    The clear, Berkeley Lab-built carrying case is designed for ease of airport security inspections, and airport X-ray scans are not a problem as the detector components are designed to withstand far more intense radiation.

    Nicole Apadula holds a custom-built carrying case designed for four detector staves. The case is hand-carried aboard commercial flights to ensure safe transport of the detector components to CERN laboratory in Europe. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    Once aboard the plane, researchers request a seatbelt extension to safely buckle the carrying case into the adjoining seat. Their usual route is to fly to Newark or Washington, D.C., from the San Francisco Bay Area, and then to connect to an international flight to Geneva, Switzerland. The round trip usually involves two full days of travel and two days at CERN to check for any damage to the components.

    Members of the Berkeley Lab team have completed about 14 of these trips over the past year, with the last trip scheduled for mid-October.

    Science outreach made easy

    The unusual carry-ons are quite a conversation starter, Greiner said.

    “It’s the most fantastic outreach I’ve ever done,” he said. “Everyone has questions.”

    Nikki Apadula, a project scientist in the Nuclear Science Division and a member of the ALICE team who has participated in the detector excursions, said, “I spent an entire trip to Newark using the back of the seat to explain what particles do in the detector.”

    Apadula said that the tall travel containers can be cumbersome at times. “The fact that these things are a meter long – it’s just awkward. It’s almost as tall as me.”

    Other members of the Berkeley Lab’s ALICE detector upgrade team, including research assistants Erica Zhang and Winston DeGraw, who both began working on the project as undergrads, have been the most frequent flyers on the detector trips.

    Assembling the staves

    The Berkeley Lab team is contributing 60 detector staves for the middle layers of ALICE’s upgraded outer-barrel detector – the largest contribution by a U.S. lab.

    The completed detector will have seven concentric layers that will hold a total of 24,000 silicon sensors for detecting particle interactions. It is scheduled for installation in March 2020, and will be operational in early 2021.

    Berkeley Lab’s Erica Zhang conducts measurements of a detector stave during assembly. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    Detector assembly at Berkeley Lab was conducted in a specially constructed plastic-walled clean room environment. Researchers carefully measured and glued eight detector modules to each stave, with accuracy typically measured in tens of microns, or tens of millionths of a meter.

    The staves feature tubes that allow cool water to circulate along their length and prevent overheating, and all of the materials – down to the glue that affixes the detector modules – must be tested to ensure they can withstand the detector environment.

    Each stave features a wedge-shaped carbon-fiber support along its length, and aluminum electrical components rather than copper to provide better tracking resolution to capture the particle interactions while withstanding the barrage of radiation produced in particle collisions. In the early stages of the project the Berkeley Lab team used powerful charged-particle beams at Berkeley Lab’s 88-Inch Cyclotron to test the durability of the detector materials, Greiner noted.

    LBNL 88 inch cyclotron

    Next-gen detector design

    The detectors in the upgrade are based on a monolithic pixel detector technology – an earlier generation of this type of detector was used for the STAR (Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC) detector at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector

    Berkeley Lab has particular expertise in this type of detector, Greiner noted, and contributed to early R&D.

    The ALICE upgrade detectors are designed for a longer lifespan, can process signals about 10 times faster than earlier detectors, and have an individual pixel size of about 30 microns. The improved resolution will allow researchers to better differentiate particles produced in the initial lead nuclei collisions from those that branch out from the particle decays that follow these initial interactions.

    “The technology has really matured,” Greiner said. “They can take data more quickly, don’t die as quickly, and dissipate less power.”

    Other assembly sites for the new detectors are in China, England, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Korea. The ALICE collaboration numbers about 1,500 scientists from over 100 physics institutes in 30 nations. Berkeley Lab participation in ALICE is supported by the U.S. DOE Office of Science’s Office of Nuclear Physics.

    These silicon chip components are prepared for placement on a detector stave. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    See the full article here .


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    Bringing Science Solutions to the World
    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.

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  • richardmitnick 7:59 am on July 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Bottomonium particles don’t go with the flow", , , CERN ALICE, , , ,   

    From CERN: “Bottomonium particles don’t go with the flow” 

    Cern New Bloc

    Cern New Particle Event

    From CERN

    16 July, 2019
    Ana Lopes

    The first measurement, by the ALICE [below] collaboration, of an elliptic-shaped flow for bottomonium particles could help shed light on the early universe.

    A few millionths of a second after the Big Bang, the universe was so dense and hot that the quarks and gluons that make up protons, neutrons and other hadrons existed freely in what is known as the quark–gluon plasma. The ALICE experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) can recreate this plasma in high-energy collisions of beams of heavy ions of lead. However, ALICE, as well as any other collision experiments that can recreate the plasma, cannot observe this state of matter directly. The presence and properties of the plasma can only be deduced from the signatures it leaves on the particles that are produced in the collisions.

    In a new article, presented at the ongoing European Physical Society conference on High-Energy Physics, the ALICE collaboration reports the first measurement of one such signature – the elliptic flow – for upsilon particles produced in lead–lead LHC collisions.

    The upsilon is a bottomonium particle, consisting of a bottom (often also called beauty) quark and its antiquark. Bottomonia and their charm-quark counterparts, charmonium particles, are excellent probes of the quark–gluon plasma. They are created in the initial stages of a heavy-ion collision and therefore experience the entire evolution of the plasma, from the moment it is produced to the moment it cools down and gives way to a state in which hadrons can form.

    One indication that the quark–gluon plasma forms is the collective motion, or flow, of the produced particles. This flow is generated by the expansion of the hot plasma after the collision, and its magnitude depends on several factors, including: the particle type and mass; how central, or “head on”, the collision is; and the momenta of the particles at right angles to the collision line. One type of flow, called elliptic flow, results from the initial elliptic shape of non-central collisions.

    In their new study, the ALICE team determined the elliptic flow of the upsilons by observing the pairs of muons (heavier cousins of the electron) into which they transform, or “decay”. They found that the magnitude of the upsilon elliptic flow for a range of momenta and collision centralities is small, making the upsilons the first hadrons that don’t seem to exhibit a significant elliptic flow.

    The results are consistent with the prediction that the upsilons are largely split up into their constituent quarks in the early stages of their interaction with the plasma, and they pave the way to higher-precision measurements using data from ALICE’s upgraded detector, which will be able to record ten times more upsilons. Such data should also cast light on the curious case of the J/psi flow. This lighter charmonium particle has a larger flow and is believed to re-form after being split up by the plasma.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 3:55 pm on March 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , CERN ALICE, , , ,   

    From ALICE at CERN: “The subterranean ballet of ALICE” 

    From From ALICE at CERN

    19 March, 2019
    Corinne Pralavorio

    During the long shutdown of CERN’s accelerators, the ALICE experiment at the LHC is removing and refurbishing or replacing the majority of its detectors.

    CERN ALICE Time Projection Chamber (Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN)

    The experiment caverns of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are staging a dazzling performance during Long Shutdown 2 (LS2). The resplendent sub-detectors, released from their underground homes, are performing a fascinating ballet. At the end of February, ALICE removed the two trackers, the inner tracker system and the time projection chamber, from the detector. At the very start of the long shutdown, on 3 December 2018, the teams began disconnecting the dozens of sub-detectors. And finally, on 25 February, the two trackers were ready to be removed.

    The trackers are located around the collision points and are used to reconstruct the tracks of the particles produced in the collisions. The data they generate are essential for identifying the particles and understanding what happened during the collision. ALICE’s inner tracker is a 1.5-metre-long tube, 1 metre in diameter. It will be replaced with a new, much more precise detector closer to the collision point, formed of seven pixel layers and containing a total of 12.5 billion pixels. The current detector is still in the cavern and could spend its retirement as a museum piece in an exhibition above ground.

    CERN ALICE internal tracker system (Image: Maximilien Brice/ Julien Ordan CERN)

    The time projection chamber is an imposing cylinder, measuring 5.1 metres in length and 5.6 metres in diameter, weighing an enormous 15 tonnes. The huge sub-detector was nonetheless hoisted out in just four hours, to be transferred to a building where it will undergo a complete metamorphosis. The current detector is based on multiwire proportional chamber technology. To increase the detector’s acquisition speed by a factor of 100, the readout system will be equipped with much faster components called gas electron multipliers (GEMs), and the electronics will be completely replaced. The teams have started the renovation work, which should take around 11 months.

    At present, the removal process is continuing in the cavern. Most of the calorimeters have been removed for refurbishment. Around 50 people are hard at work at the experiment.

    After the removal of the two trackers, ALICE’s heart is now empty. (Image: Julien Ordan/CERN)

    To find out more about the major work in progress at ALICE, see these articles on the website and in the CERN Courier.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 3:42 pm on February 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Building a billion pixel detector for the Large Hadron Collider, , , CERN ALICE, , , , , STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory   

    From Science and Technology Facilities Council: “Building a billion pixel detector for the Large Hadron Collider” 

    From Science and Technology Facilities Council

    13 February 2019

    Wendy Ellison
    STFC Communications
    Daresbury Laboratory
    Sci-Tech Daresbury
    WA4 4AD
    Tel: 01925 603232

    Scientists, engineers and technicians at Daresbury Laboratory are playing a key role in building ground-breaking new technologies that will enable a major upgrade of the ALICE experiment, one of the four main detectors at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

    STFC Daresbury Laboratory-Hub for Pioneering Research

    CERN/ALICE Detector

    Gary Markey and Terry Lee, mechanical technicians at Daresbury Laboratory, building the staves that are now on their way to ALICE at CERN.
    (Credit: STFC)

    University of Liverpool Physicist, Dr Giacomo Contin, prepares the staves for shipment from Daresbury to CERN.
    (Credit: STFC)

    Weighing more than the Eiffel Tower and sitting in a vast cavern 56m below the ground, ALICE acts like a giant microscope that is used to observe and study a state of matter that was last present in the universe just billionths of a second after the Big Bang. The LHC is used to create this matter, which has a temperature around 400,000 times that of the sun, by accelerating and then colliding heavy nuclei of lead. Research at ALICE allows us to reconstruct and provide new insights into the physics of the early universe when, 13.8 billion years ago, in the moments after the Big Bang, the Universe consisted of a primordial soup of particles called Quark-Gluon Plasma.

    Quark-Gluon Plasma from BNL RHIC

    ‘Perfect liquid’ quark-gluon plasma is the most vortical fluid from phys.org

    The ALICE upgrade is a significant international project, and the team at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool, has been developing and building ground-breaking new technologies as part of a new Inner Tracking System. Extremely thin and highly-pixelated sensors, together with ultra-light support structures will boost the tracking performance of ALICE by a factor of a hundred. It will be the thinnest, most pixelated tracker at the LHC, capable of identifying and measuring the energy of particles created by the LHC’s collisions at lower energies than any of the other LHC experiments.

    The Daresbury-Liverpool team is building 30 staves of this new generation of sensor, each containing millions of pixels. The staves, which frame and support the sensors, are now being carefully transported to CERN in batches every six weeks until the end of September, where they will be tested before being installed, officially making ALICE a billion pixel detector.

    Dr Roy Lemmon, physicist and lead for the ALICE upgrade project at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, which is located at Sci-Tech Daresbury, said: “This project highlights the skills and significant role of the UK’s researchers in the development of new generations of technology for, in this case, ALICE, part of the world’s largest science experiment. It’s very exciting to be part of something that will not only help solve our science challenges, but which could also impact our lives in a really positive way, such as through improvements in medical imaging, through the development of new technologies.”

    “The ALICE upgrade is taking place during the scheduled two-year shutdown for the LHC. The newly-upgraded experiment will start taking data in 2021.

    Further information about ALICE at the CERN website.

    Further information about Daresbury Laboratory at the STFC website.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    STFC Hartree Centre

    Helping build a globally competitive, knowledge-based UK economy

    We are a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world. Our strength comes from our distinct but interrelated functions:

    Universities: we support university-based research, innovation and skills development in astronomy, particle physics, nuclear physics, and space science
    Scientific Facilities: we provide access to world-leading, large-scale facilities across a range of physical and life sciences, enabling research, innovation and skills training in these areas
    National Campuses: we work with partners to build National Science and Innovation Campuses based around our National Laboratories to promote academic and industrial collaboration and translation of our research to market through direct interaction with industry
    Inspiring and Involving: we help ensure a future pipeline of skilled and enthusiastic young people by using the excitement of our sciences to encourage wider take-up of STEM subjects in school and future life (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)

    We support an academic community of around 1,700 in particle physics, nuclear physics, and astronomy including space science, who work at more than 50 universities and research institutes in the UK, Europe, Japan and the United States, including a rolling cohort of more than 900 PhD students.

    STFC-funded universities produce physics postgraduates with outstanding high-end scientific, analytic and technical skills who on graduation enjoy almost full employment. Roughly half of our PhD students continue in research, sustaining national capability and creating the bedrock of the UK’s scientific excellence. The remainder – much valued for their numerical, problem solving and project management skills – choose equally important industrial, commercial or government careers.

    Our large-scale scientific facilities in the UK and Europe are used by more than 3,500 users each year, carrying out more than 2,000 experiments and generating around 900 publications. The facilities provide a range of research techniques using neutrons, muons, lasers and x-rays, and high performance computing and complex analysis of large data sets.

    They are used by scientists across a huge variety of science disciplines ranging from the physical and heritage sciences to medicine, biosciences, the environment, energy, and more. These facilities provide a massive productivity boost for UK science, as well as unique capabilities for UK industry.

    Our two Campuses are based around our Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at Harwell in Oxfordshire, and our Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire – each of which offers a different cluster of technological expertise that underpins and ties together diverse research fields.

    The combination of access to world-class research facilities and scientists, office and laboratory space, business support, and an environment which encourages innovation has proven a compelling combination, attracting start-ups, SMEs and large blue chips such as IBM and Unilever.

    We think our science is awesome – and we know students, teachers and parents think so too. That’s why we run an extensive Public Engagement and science communication programme, ranging from loans to schools of Moon Rocks, funding support for academics to inspire more young people, embedding public engagement in our funded grant programme, and running a series of lectures, travelling exhibitions and visits to our sites across the year.

    Ninety per cent of physics undergraduates say that they were attracted to the course by our sciences, and applications for physics courses are up – despite an overall decline in university enrolment.

  • richardmitnick 3:17 pm on January 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 'New' ALICE coming to life during LS2, , CERN ALICE, , High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC), Novel Muon Forward Tracker (MFT), , ,   

    From ALICE at CERN: “‘New’ ALICE coming to life during LS2” 

    CERN New Masthead

    From From ALICE at CERN

    21 January 2019
    Virginia Greco

    With the conclusion of Run 2, ALICE has entered a new phase, during which a major upgrade of its detector, data-taking and data-processing systems will be implemented.

    At 6 a.m. on December 3, 2018, the LHC expert team switched off the engine of the biggest particle accelerator in the world, which will rest for the next two years before entering a new phase of operation. Starting in March 2021, in fact, the LHC will deliver collisions at increased luminosity, allowing the experiments to collect much more data in less time and, thus, to study rare phenomena.

    The higher luminosity will certainly benefit ALICE, the LHC experiment dedicated to the study of the strong interaction and of the Quark-Gluon-Plasma (QGP), a state of matter which prevailed in the first instants of the universe and is recreated in droplets at the LHC by colliding lead ions. During Run 3, indeed, the interaction rate of lead ions will be increased to reach about 50 kHz, i.e. an instantaneous luminosity of L= 6×1027 cm-2s-1. This will allow ALICE to accumulate more than 10nb-1 of Pb-Pb collisions. Data samples of pp and p-Pb collisions will also be collected to measure the same observables in different interaction systems.

    To exploit the extraordinary scientific potential of Run 3 and subsequent High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) operations and to be able to study rare processes, the ALICE collaboration is currently implementing a major upgrade of its detector, data-taking and data-processing systems.

    The current Inner Tracking System (ITS), which is located at the heart of the detector, will be replaced by a brand-new one composed of seven layers of silicon pixel detectors. A compact pixel sensor chip (ALPIDE), based on the Monolithic Active Pixel Sensors (MAPS) technology, has been developed for this upgrade. The new ITS will improve dramatically the resolution of the detector and its ability to reconstruct the particle trajectories and identify secondary vertices.

    Inner half-layers of the upgraded ITS. [Credit: Antoine Junique]

    A novel Muon Forward Tracker (MFT), implementing the same custom ALPIDE chip, will also be installed in the forward region of the detector. Thanks to its excellent spatial resolution, not only will ALICE be more sensitive to several measurements, but also it will be able to access new ones that are currently beyond reach. A new Fast Interaction Trigger (FIT) detector will also replace three current forward detectors, with the aim of providing the minimum-bias trigger and excellent time resolution for identifying decay vertices.

    The increased collision rate also requires a major upgrade of the ALICE TPC. The current detector is limited by its read-out chambers, which are based on multi-wire proportional chamber (MWPC) technology. Thus, they will be replaced with multi-stage gas electron multiplier (GEM) chambers, the development of which has required intense R&D activities. The TPC upgrade will increase the read-out rate of the detector by about two orders of magnitude, while preserving its excellent tracking and particle identification capabilities.

    The readout of the TPC and muon-chambers will be performed by the newly designed SAMPA chip, which is a 32-channel front-end analogue-to-digital converter with integrated digital signal processor.

    The new common online-offline (O2) system will transfer data from the detector directly to computers either continuously or with minimal trigger requirements. A new computing facility for the O2system is being installed at the experimental site.

    Whereas the machine will sleep, this long shut down period will be nothing but quiet for all the engineers and physicists who will work on a tight schedule to make the ALICE experiment ready for the next challenges.

    Assembly of one of the gas electron multiplier chambers of the upgraded TPC detector in cleanroom. [Credit: CERN]

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

    Cern Courier

    CERN/ATLAS detector


    CERN/ALICE Detector

    CERN/CMS Detector




    CERN map

    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

    Quantum Diaries

  • richardmitnick 1:44 pm on October 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: “We have developed new and powerful tools to investigate the properties of the small droplet of QGP (early universe) that we create in the experiments”, , CERN ALICE, , , , The state of the Early Universe: The beginning was fluid, The transport properties of the Quark-Gluon Plasma will determine the final shape of the cloud of produced particles after the collision so this is our way of approaching the moment of QGP creation it, We want to know what happened in the beginning of the collision and first few moments afterwards, Working with the LHC replacing the lead-ions usually used for collisions with Xenon-ions   

    From Niels Bohr Institute: “The state of the Early Universe: The beginning was fluid” 

    University of Copenhagen

    Niels Bohr Institute bloc

    From Niels Bohr Institute

    04 October 2018

    You Zhou, Postdoc
    Experimental Particle Physics
    Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen
    Email: you.zhou@nbi.ku.dk
    Phone: +45 35 33 12 82

    Scientists from the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, and their colleagues from the international ALICE collaboration recently collided Xenon nuclei, in order to gain new insights into the properties of the Quark-Gluon Plasma (the QGP) – the matter that the universe consisted of up to a microsecond after the Big Bang.

    The QGP, as the name suggests, is a special state consisting of the fundamental particles, the quarks, and the particles that bind the quarks together, the gluons. The result was obtained using the ALICE experiment at the 27 km long superconducting Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. The result is now published in Physics Letters B.

    Fig. 1 [Left] An event from the first Xenon-Xenon collision at the Large Hadron Collider at the top energy of the Large Hadron Collider (5.44 TeV ) registered by ALICE [credit: ALICE]. Every colored track (The blue lines) corresponds to the trajectory of a charged particle produced in a single collision; [Right] formation of anisotropic flow in relativistic heavy-ion collisions due to the geometry of the hot and dense overlap zone (shown in red color).

    The beginning was a liquid state of affairs

    The particle physicists at the Niels Bohr Institute have obtained new results, working with the LHC, replacing the lead-ions, usually used for collisions, with Xenon-ions. Xenon is a “smaller” atom with fewer nucleons in its nucleus. When colliding ions, the scientists create a fireball that recreates the initial conditions of the universe at temperatures in excess of several thousand billion degrees. In contrast to the Universe, the lifetime of the droplets of QGP produced in the laboratory is ultra short, a fraction of a second (In technical terms, only about 10-22 seconds). Under these conditions the density of quarks and gluons is very large and a special state of matter is formed in which quarks and gluons are quasi-free (dubbed the strongly interacting QGP). The experiments reveal that the primordial matter, the instant before atoms formed, behaves like a liquid that can be described in terms of hydrodynamics.

    How to approach “the moment of creation”

    “One of the challenges we are facing is that, in heavy ion collisions, only the information of the final state of the many particles which are detected by the experiments are directly available – but we want to know what happened in the beginning of the collision and first few moments afterwards”, You Zhou, Postdoc in the research group Experimental Subatomic Physics at the Niels Bohr Institute, explains. “We have developed new and powerful tools to investigate the properties of the small droplet of QGP (early universe) that we create in the experiments”. They rely on studying the spatial distribution of the many thousands of particles that emerge from the collisions when the quarks and gluons have been trapped into the particles that the Universe consists of today. This reflects not only the initial geometry of the collision, but is sensitive to the properties of the QGP. It can be viewed as a hydrodynamical flow.” The transport properties of the Quark-Gluon Plasma will determine the final shape of the cloud of produced particles, after the collision, so this is our way of approaching the moment of QGP creation itself”, You Zhou says.

    Two main ingredients in the soup: Geometry and viscosity

    The degree of anisotropic particle distribution – the fact that there are more particles in certain directions – reflects three main pieces of information: The first is, as mentioned, the initial geometry of the collision. The second is the conditions prevailing inside the colliding nucleons. The third is the shear viscosity of the Quark-Gluon Plasma itself. Shear viscosity expresses the liquid’s resistance to flow, a key physical property of the matter created. “It is one of the most important parameters to define the properties of the Quark-Gluon Plasma”, You Zhou explains, “ because it tells us how strongly the gluons bind the quarks together “.

    The Xenon experiments yield vital information to challenge theories and models

    “With the new Xenon collisions, we have put very tight constraints on the theoretical models that describe the outcome. No matter the initial conditions, Lead or Xenon, the theory must be able to describe them simultaneously. If certain properties of the viscosity of the quark gluon plasma are claimed, the model has to describe both sets of data at the same time, says You Zhou. The possibilities of gaining more insight into the actual properties of the “primordial soup” are thus enhanced significantly with the new experiments. The team plans to collide other nuclear systems to further constrain the physics, but this will require significant development of new LHC beams.

    Science is not a lonesome affair, far from it

    “This is a collaborative effort within the large international ALICE Collaboration, consisting of more than 1800 researchers from 41 countries and 178 institutes”. You Zhou emphasised.

    See the full article here .


    Stem Education Coalition

    Niels Bohr Institute Campus

    The Niels Bohr Institute (Danish: Niels Bohr Institutet) is a research institute of the University of Copenhagen. The research of the institute spans astronomy, geophysics, nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum mechanics and biophysics.

    The Institute was founded in 1921, as the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of Copenhagen, by the Danish theoretical physicist Niels Bohr, who had been on the staff of the University of Copenhagen since 1914, and who had been lobbying for its creation since his appointment as professor in 1916. On the 80th anniversary of Niels Bohr’s birth – October 7, 1965 – the Institute officially became The Niels Bohr Institute.[1] Much of its original funding came from the charitable foundation of the Carlsberg brewery, and later from the Rockefeller Foundation.[2]

    During the 1920s, and 1930s, the Institute was the center of the developing disciplines of atomic physics and quantum physics. Physicists from across Europe (and sometimes further abroad) often visited the Institute to confer with Bohr on new theories and discoveries. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is named after work done at the Institute during this time.

    On January 1, 1993 the institute was fused with the Astronomic Observatory, the Ørsted Laboratory and the Geophysical Institute. The new resulting institute retained the name Niels Bohr Institute.

    The University of Copenhagen (UCPH) (Danish: Københavns Universitet) is the oldest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479 as a studium generale, it is the second oldest institution for higher education in Scandinavia after Uppsala University (1477). The university has 23,473 undergraduate students, 17,398 postgraduate students, 2,968 doctoral students and over 9,000 employees. The university has four campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the headquarters located in central Copenhagen. Most courses are taught in Danish; however, many courses are also offered in English and a few in German. The university has several thousands of foreign students, about half of whom come from Nordic countries.

    The university is a member of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), along with University of Cambridge, Yale University, The Australian National University, and UC Berkeley, amongst others. The 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities ranks the University of Copenhagen as the best university in Scandinavia and 30th in the world, the 2016-2017 Times Higher Education World University Rankings as 120th in the world, and the 2016-2017 QS World University Rankings as 68th in the world. The university has had 9 alumni become Nobel laureates and has produced one Turing Award recipient

  • richardmitnick 2:32 pm on September 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CERN ALICE, , , , , , ,   

    From ALICE at CERN: “What the LHC upgrade brings to CERN” 

    CERN New Masthead

    From From ALICE at CERN

    25 September 2018
    Rashmi Raniwala
    Sudhir Raniwala

    Six years after discovery, Higgs boson validates a prediction. Soon, an upgrade to Large Hadron Collider will allow CERN scientists to produce more of these particles for testing Standard Model of physics.

    FNAL magnets such as this one, which is mounted on a test stand at Fermilab, for the High-Luminosity LHC Photo Reidar Hahn

    Six years after the Higgs boson was discovered at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC), particle physicists announced last week that they have observed how the elusive particle decays.

    CERN CMS Higgs Event

    CERN ATLAS Higgs Event

    The finding, presented by ATLAS and CMS collaborations, observed the Higgs boson decaying to fundamental particles known as bottom quarks.

    In 2012, the Nobel-winning discovery of the Higgs boson validated the Standard Model of physics, which also predicts that about 60% of the time a Higgs boson will decay to a pair of bottom quarks.

    The Standard Model of elementary particles (more schematic depiction), with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics from Symmetry Magazine

    According to CERN, “testing this prediction is crucial because the result will either lend support to the Standard Model — which is built upon the idea that the Higgs field endows quarks and other fundamental particles with mass — or rock its foundations and point to new physics”.

    The Higgs boson was detected by studying collisions of particles at different energies. But they last only for one zeptosecond, which is 0.000000000000000000001 seconds, so detecting and studying their properties requires an incredible amount of energy and advanced detectors. CERN announced earlier this year that it is getting a massive upgrade, which will be completed by 2026.

    Why study particles?

    Particle physics probes nature at extreme scales, to understand the fundamental constituents of matter. Just like grammar and vocabulary guide (and constrain) our communication, particles communicate with each other in accordance with certain rules which are embedded in what are known as the ‘four fundamental interactions’. The particles and three of these interactions are successfully described by a unified approach known as the Standard Model. The SM is a framework that required the existence of a particle called the Higgs boson, and one of the major aims of the LHC was to search for the Higgs boson.

    How are such tiny particles studied?

    Protons are collected in bunches, accelerated to nearly the speed of light and made to collide. Many particles emerge from such a collision, termed as an event. The emergent particles exhibit an apparently random pattern but follow underlying laws that govern part of their behaviour. Studying the patterns in the emission of these particles help us understand the properties and structure of particles.

    Initially, the LHC provided collisions at unprecedented energies allowing us to focus on studying new territories. But, it is now time to increase the discovery potential of the LHC by recording a larger number of events.

    No image credit or caption

    So, what will an upgrade mean?

    After discovering the Higgs boson, it is imperative to study the properties of the newly discovered particle and its effect on all other particles. This requires a large number of Higgs bosons. The SM has its shortcomings, and there are alternative models that fill these gaps. The validity of these and other models that provide an alternative to SM can be tested by experimenting to check their predictions. Some of these predictions, including signals for “dark matter”, “supersymmetric particles” and other deep mysteries of nature are very rare, and hence difficult to observe, further necessitating the need of a High Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC).

    Imagine trying to find a rare variety of diamond amongst a very large number of apparently similar looking pieces. The time taken to find the coveted diamond will depend on the number of pieces provided per unit time for inspection, and the time taken in inspection. To complete this task faster, we need to increase the number of pieces provided and inspect faster. In the process, some new pieces of diamond, hitherto unobserved and unknown, may be discovered, changing our perspective about rare varieties of diamonds.

    Once upgraded, the rate of collisions will increase and so will the probability of most rare events. In addition, discerning the properties of the Higgs boson will require their copious supply. After the upgrade, the total number of Higgs bosons produced in one year may be about 5 times the number produced currently; and in the same duration, the total data recorded may be more than 20 times.

    With the proposed luminosity (a measure of the number of protons crossing per unit area per unit time) of the HL-LHC, the experiments will be able to record about 25 times more data in the same period as for LHC running. The beam in the LHC has about 2,800 bunches, each of which contains about 115 billion protons. The HL- LHC will have about 170 billion protons in each bunch, contributing to an increase in luminosity by a factor of 1.5.

    How will it be upgraded?

    The protons are kept together in the bunch using strong magnetic fields of special kinds, formed using quadrupole magnets. Focusing the bunch into a smaller size requires stronger fields, and therefore greater currents, necessitating the use of superconducting cables. Newer technologies and new material (Niobium-tin) will be used to produce the required strong magnetic fields that are 1.5 times the present fields (8-12 tesla).

    The creation of long coils for such fields is being tested. New equipment will be installed over 1.2 km of the 27-km LHC ring close to the two major experiments (ATLAS and CMS), for focusing and squeezing the bunches just before they cross.

    CERN crab cavities that will be used in the HL-LHC

    FNAL Crab cavities for the HL-LHC

    Hundred-metre cables of superconducting material (superconducting links) with the capacity to carry up to 100,000 amperes will be used to connect the power converters to the accelerator. The LHC gets the protons from an accelerator chain, which will also need to be upgraded to meet the requirements of the high luminosity.

    Since the length of each bunch is a few cm, to increase the number of collisions a slight tilt is being produced in the bunches just before the collisions to increase the effective area of overlap. This is being done using ‘crab cavities’.

    The experimental particle physics community in India has actively participated in the experiments ALICE and CMS. The HL-LHC will require an upgrade of these too. Both the design and the fabrication of the new detectors, and the ensuing data analysis will have a significant contribution from the Indian scientists.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

    Cern Courier

    CERN/ATLAS detector


    CERN/CMS Detector




    CERN map

    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

    Quantum Diaries

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