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School of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Detector Development

A crucial part of the PPRC group's activity is the development of detector technologies, equipment, and subsequent production of components for the experiments that we are involved in. This underpinning work relies on a strong engineering and technical support staff core of the group who work closely with dedicated research scientists and academics. The individuals involved in this core activity (in conjunction with academics) are listed here.


It is only possible to play a leading role in detector research and development if one maintains first class facilities. In addition to having excellent staff to design and build detectors, we have excellent workshop and clean room facilities that are described in more detail elsewhere.

Current Activities

We are currently engaged in research and development for the following experiments:

  • the CERN based ATLAS experiment, where the group was involved in the design and construction of the ATLAS SCT and trigger system.
  • ATLAS SCT upgrade and the ATLAS trigger upgrade.
  • the T2K neutrino experiment.
  • Generic Monolithic Active Pixel Sensor R&D (Arachnid).
  • SuperB pixel detector R&D (based on the Arachnid programme).

Low mass rigid structures are vital for the construction of modern vertex detectors and semiconductor tracking systems. In parallel with the detector R&D activity we are continuing to develop our expertise in the use of carbon-based composite materials for light-weight low-mass support structures for sensors, where we are able to draw on the considerable knowledge base and metrology facilities available at Queen Mary, University of London in the Condensed Matter Physics group, Department for Material, and Nanoforce consortium.

Past Achievements

This section describes in brief some of the detector development work that the PPRC group has been involved in. All of these activities have resulted in state-of-the-art detectors that played a pivotal role in each of the experiments listed below.

  • ATLAS: The PPRC group played lead roles in several aspects of the design and construction of the ATLAS Silicon Tracker (SCT) system. This work included detailed thermal modelling and testing of silicon sensors, as well as critical engineering work facilitating metrology tests and transport of sensor components, and the cooling system for the SCT. The SCT is part of the heart of the LHC based ATLAS experiment that has started running.
  • H1:
  • OPAL: Members of the PPRC were involved in the construction of the silicon strip vertex detector for OPAL. This detector was one of the first generation silicon detector devices used in particle physics and performed superbly. The physics done by OPAL included precision measurements of the electroweak sector of the standard model, including the masses and widths of the W and Z0 boson.
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