NPL News Now

January 9, 2017
Liquid Radiator Calorimeter Prototype Test for ATLAS at the CERN SPS

Two modules of a novel liquid radiator calorimeter were tested successfully using 30 and 150 A*GeV Pb-nuclei test beams at the Super Proton Synchrotron at CERN during the first two weeks of December. Liquid radiator calorimeters can be operated under very high radiation doses and NPL aims to develop technology for a new radiation hard Zero Degree Calorimeter for the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. The prototype modules use a two-step wavelength shifter system for light transport and Silicon Photomultipiers (SiPMs) for readout.
The prototypes were tested for their energy response and its dependence on the the impact position of the Pb-beam. The calorimeter prototypes were designed and built at NPL by graduate student Mike Phipps, undergraduate students Chad Lantz, Daniel Li, Anthony Oh, Aymen Shamoon, Joseph Bryant, technician John Blackburn and senior research engineer Eric Thorsland. Detector assembly at CERN and setup of beam instrumentation and the readout was carried out by Eric Thorsland and graduate students Mike Phipps and Yakov Kulinich and postdoctoral researcher Vincent Andrieux. The test beam data taking with the UIUC-NPL group was joined by Bian Cole from Columbia University, Peter Steinberg of Brookhaven National Laboratory and Zvi Citron from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Tel Aviv.

January 9, 2017
Successful ATLAS Heavy Ion Run

During a four week period in November and December ATLAS successfully took proton-lead collisions at 5 and 8 TeV collision energies. Extraordinary work was done by postdoc Martin Rybar who is the ATLAS Heavy Ion Trigger Co-coordinator and oversaw the allocations and monitoring of the 1500 triggers available for use in heavy ion collisions throughout the run. Graduate students Akshat Puri and Virginia Bailey were present during the run to validate the data and its reconstruction. This data will be analyzed for years to come. The next ATLAS heavy ion running will be in 2018 with lead-lead collisions.

January 5, 2017
Dr. En-Chuan Huang receives 2016 Outstanding Dissertation Award

Dr. En-Chuan Huang, a former NPL graduate student, is the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Dissertation Award sponsored by the OCPA (International Organization of Chinese Physicists and Astronomers). Click here for link to article.

December 12, 2016
nEDM Annual Review

The neutron EDM experiment is currently in the third year of a four year “Critical Component Demonstration”. In this phase, we have been building some of the important internal parts for the experiment, such as the dilution refrigerator. We have our annual review coming up on Dec. 12 in Washington when a group of reviewers and agency representatives will assess progress. In addition to reviewing progress over the past year and plans for the next one, one of our main tasks has been to prepare a more detailed plan for the Large Scale Integration, Assembly and Commissioning and Data Taking phases of the experiment extending into 2021 and beyond. In the next stage, Large Scale Integration, which we hope to start in 2018, we will begin assembling the critical parts from the current stage, together with acquiring the big ticket items like the helium liquefier, the neutron beamline and magnetic shield house.

December 07, 2016
Upgrades to the Liquid Xenon Test System Completed

The liquid xenon apparatus is designed for testing cryogenics and electronics for nEXO experiment. It went through an upgrade in summer 2016 to move the external heat exchanger into the main vacuum chamber, and connect it directly to the cryo-cooler. The upgrade was designed by undergraduate Pan Ji with help from the NPL technical staff. The tight spacing between the components made the construction particularly tricky, but nothing is impossible for the ingenious staff at NPL. The chamber has been sealed, leak checked and moved back to Loomis today. We expect to liquid xenon and test the efficiency of the heat exchanger in early 2017.

November 28, 2016
Prototype Calorimeters shipped to Brookhaven National Lab

Last week 16 prototype calorimeters were shipped to Brookhaven National Lab. They were built and machined at the NPL. At Brookhaven they will be outfitted with lightguides and electronics and then will be tested in a beam at Fermilab in January. These are prototypes for the sPHENIX Experiment which is a large new experiment being built at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven. We look forward to taking data with these calorimeters soon.

November 10, 2016
CERN Finance Review Committee to meet for COMPASS collaboration

CERN, Geneva Switzerland. The Finance Review Committee, FRC, for the COMPASS collaboration at the Super Proton Synchrotron at CERN meet on November 10th. The committee approved an extension of the Memorandum of Understanding between COMPASS institutions and the host laboratory to December 31st, 2020. This will make it possible to extend COMPASS data taking into 2018 and COMPASS data analysis through the end of the decade. The FRC judged COMPASS finances to be sound. COMPASS co-spokesperson Dr. Oleg Denisov from the INFN in Turin, Italy, also presented the significant progress the collaboration has made in publishing results, in the acquisition of additional data samples and the completion of several instrumentation upgrade projects in COMPASS. (1) Two UIUC efforts were briefly discussed: Drift chamber DC5 has completed a front end electronics upgrade and operates reliably with good particle detection efficiencies. (2) An exploratory project on NCSCA's Blue Waters super computer has demonstrated that COMPASS raw data and Monte Carlo data analysis can be carried out on Blue Waters efficiently. Dr. Caroline Riedl, who has been the leader of the COMPASS computing effort on Blue Waters has submitted a large scale proposal to the Peta Scale Computing Program of the NSF.

November 7, 2016
nEDM Heat Flush Test at Harvard

In the nEDM experiment, we have to move 3He from one place to another during each measurement. To do this we create a “wind” of phonons (like sound waves) using a heater. The wind actually blows the 3He atoms from warmer to colder regions. In Ike Silvera’s lab at Harvard, we test the effect by measuring the increase in pressure due to the higher 3He concentration in the cold region. After seeing the effect for the first time in our last run in August, we are now trying to improve the signal-to-noise ratio and improve our understanding of the timescales for this “heat flush” effect.