Updates tagged: “detector operation”

How to run a particle detector

If you are interested in particle physics, you probably hear a lot about the huge amount of data that is recorded by experiments like ATLAS. But where does this data come from? Roughly speaking: first you have to plan, build and maintain an experiment and in the end you need people to analyse the data you’ve recorded. But what happens in between? What happens in the day-to-day life of people in the ATLAS control room, who are responsible for keeping all that great data coming?

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ATLAS kicks off a new year at 13 TeV

Geneva, 23 May 2017. A new season of record-breaking kicked off today, as the ATLAS Experiment began recording first data for physics of 2017. This will be the LHC’s third year colliding beams at an energy of 13 tera electron volts (TeV), allowing the ATLAS Experiment to continue to push the limits of physics.

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Beams return to the ATLAS Experiment

With the year’s first proton beams now circulating in the Large Hadron Collider, physicists have today recorded “beam splashes” in the ATLAS experiment

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Counting collisions

Whether searching for signs of new physics, or making precise measurements of known interactions, it is essential to know the total number of proton-proton collisions that the LHC delivers in ATLAS. This parameter, known as “luminosity”, is a vital part of ATLAS analysis.

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A busy day in the life of high energy physicist

My work involves analyzing data to try to understand how nature works at the most fundamental level, by searching for new particles and ways in which they interact. Specifically, I am looking at the top quark, which is the heaviest fundamental particle known to exist, with a mass of about 180 times that of a proton.

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An insider view of the "marten affair"

Friday morning, 29 April 2016: what was expected to be a productive shift turned out to be very different.

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Spring awakening for the ATLAS experiment

This morning the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) circulated the first proton-proton beams of 2016 around its 27 kilometre circumference. The beams were met with great enthusiasm in the ATLAS Control Centre as they passed through the ATLAS experiment.

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One week to do it all – Days 4-7: Diffractive data taking

On Thursday morning the first fill reached “Stable Beam”. We had prepared a sequence to move the ALFA detectors so, with the push of a bottom, they were all moved to exactly the right position for loss maps. The fill had 42 bunches (as opposed to the 3 bunches used in elastic data taking), so the trigger rates were much higher than before.

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One week to do it all – Day 3: Preparing for Stable Beam

Tuesday at 23:55 I called the ATLAS shift leader and told them to stop the elastic physics run and ramp down the inner detector as the elastic program was over. But that’s when the problems started. For some reason, the inner detector could not ramp down and ATLAS requested – for the safety of the inner detector – that the LHC team touch nothing until the problem was solved. While this actually gave us more time taking data for elastic physics, LHC operators and representatives from the other experiments in the CERN Control Centre were really not too happy about the situation.

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One week to do it all – Day 2: Elastic data-taking

No time to waste after the alignment. We had moved the detectors to about 2.8 mm from the beam, but the rates of particles passing the detectors indicated a very high background (mainly particles from the beam halo) so we decided to move the detectors out to about 3.5 mm. Now it was time for data taking. Since the detectors were so close to the beam, the LHC could not declare “Stable Beam”. Therefore ATLAS was prepared to manually override the normal safety feature, which only allows the tracking detectors to be powered fully once the LHC declares “Stable Beam”.

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