How to get a particle detector on a plane | 5/23/2019 | Staff
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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.

Detector - Panels - 'passengers

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 - Physics - Experiment - Ions - Protons

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 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.

Physics - Researchers - Berkeley - Lab - Turns

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.

Seats - Flights - Way - Leo - Greiner

"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...
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