The electromagnetic barrel calorimeter was installed in its final position in October 2005. Since then, the calorimeter is being equipped with front-end electronics. Starting in April 2006, electronics calibration runs are taken a few times per week to debug the electronics and to study the performance in the pit (stability, noise). Today, 10 out of the 32 Front End crates are being read out, amounting to about 35000 channels.
The level-1 calorimeter trigger (L1Calo) has recently passed a number of major hurdles. The various electronic modules that make up the trigger are either in full production or are about to be, and preparations in the ATLAS pit are well advanced.
On 6th August ATLAS reached a major milestone for its Distributed Data Management project - copying its first PetaByte (1015 Bytes) of data out from CERN to computing centers around the world. This achievement is part of the so-called 'Tier-0 exercise' running since 19th June, where simulated fake data is used to exercise the expected data flow within the CERN computing centre and out over the Grid to the Tier-1 computing centers as would happen during the real data taking.
Wednesday 23rd August was a memorable day for the Inner Detector community as they witnessed the transport and installation of the central part of the inner detector (ID-barrel) into the ATLAS detector.
A new phase for the ATLAS collaboration started with the first operation of a completed sub-system: the central solenoid. It was cooled down from the 17th to 23th May 2006, and the first kA was put into it the same evening as it was cold and superconductive. That makes our solenoid the very first cold and superconducting magnet to be operated in the LHC underground areas.
The ATLAS solenoid coil is about 5.3m long, has a diameter of 2.5m and is designed to deliver a magnetic field of approximately 2T for the ATLAS inner detector. The superconducting solenoid coil has been integrated inside the LAr barrel cryostat and was installed at its final position inside the cavern in November 2005. This summer - after completion of the extended barrel calorimeters and before the installation of the inner detector - the end cap calorimeters (LAr end caps and Tile extended barrels) were moved for the first time into their final position in order to create conditions as close as possible to final for the solenoid tests and for mapping the field inside the solenoid bore.
After completing the preparation of the sectors of the wheels TGC-1 (first layer of trigger chambers) and MDT (precision chambers) for the side C of ATLAS last spring, the work in building 180 has advanced quickly during the summer: all the sectors for TGC-2-C have been completed during the month of August; currently, two sectors for TGC-3-C are complete, and work is underway for three others. Similarly, assembly, integration and commissioning have progressed well also with the precision chambers, with 12 of the 16 sectors for MDT-A being complete now, and the end of this significant phase of work is only a few weeks ahead of us.
On Tuesday 26 September 2006 the ATLAS Collaboration was honoured by a very special visit to the detector in the underground cavern by Professor Stephen Hawking, the famous cosmologist holding the post of Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University (position held by Isaac Newton in the 17th century).
The first few months of 2006 saw the delivery to CERN of the final components of the ATLAS semi-conductor tracker (SCT), namely the completed SCT end-caps.
The SCT barrel was inserted in the TRT on 17 February, just missing Valentine's day. This was a change of emphasis for the two detectors. In the preceeding months there had been a lot of focus on testing their performance. The TRT had been observing cosmic rays through several sectors of the barrel. The two detectors had to be painstakingly aligned to be concentric to within a millimetre.