Elementary Particle Physics
A new generation of particle detectors
Researchers from LMU Munich make decisive contributions to the future of the ATLAS experiment.
The installation of the greatest weight, figuratively and literally, are the approximately ten-meter-high 'New Small Wheels' (NSW), in whose construction the group of Prof. Otmar Biebel at the Chair of Elementary Particle Physics is also involved. With new detector technologies, such as small-strip thin-gap chambers and large-scale Micromegas as developed also here at LMU Munich, the NSWs are better able to deal with the harsh conditions in the vicinity of the LHC particle beam and improve the reconstruction of muons, the heavier siblings of the electrons.
"The particular challenge", says Biebel, "is to be able to design and build Micromegas detectors in sizes of two to three square meters that are capable of accurately measuring the tracks of thousands of particles down to a tenth of a millimeter." To achieve this resolution, the large detector modules weighing up to 80 kilograms must be manufactured and installed to a precision of a few hundredths of a millimeter.
After the first Micromegas modules already delivered to CERN, Biebel and his group will produce a total of 32 units for the NSWs in the coming months, take part in the installation onto the already existing support structures at CERN (see picture) and thereby make a decisive contribution to the future of the ATLAS experiment.
In addition to the application in particle physics at the ATLAS experiment, Micromegas detectors also have an interesting range of applications in other areas. There exists already a fruitful collaboration with the Laboratory for Detector Development at the Chair of Medical Physics at LMU Munich.