Better track leads to new particles

December 7, 2006
Better track leads to new particles
A simulated collision in the ATLAS detector. Credit: NWO

In particle accelerators new particles often arise as a result of collisions between elementary particles. However the track left by these particles is often difficult to trace. Dutch researcher Thijs Cornelissen developed an algorithm to reconstruct the particle tracks and that is being used in a European research institute for particle physics. His method provides greater insights into the origin of particles that arise as a result of collisions.

Last year, Cornelissen contributed to the development of the ATLAS detector of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the new particle accelerator of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva. Material is made up of very small particles, which are too small to be seen with a microscope. These particles can, however, be studied using particle accelerators. A particle accelerator accelerates particles up to extremely high energies after which they collide releasing new particles. The particles produced pass through various components of the accelerator and the detector, before the detector makes a reconstruction of their track.

The detector measures the exact positions of a particle that passes through it. Using this collection of points, computer calculations can be performed to determine the track of the particle. The tracks are deflected by the presence of a magnetic field within the detector. This deflection is used to calculate the impulse of the particle.

The particle track is influenced by the material in the detector, such as the copper and aluminium found in the cables and magnets. The particles lose some of their energy when they pass through a layer of material, and this alters the deflection of the track. Multiple scattering of the particles also affects the direction of the track. In his PhD thesis, Cornelissen describes an algorithm that tries to correct for these material effects so as to achieve the best possible resolution on the track construction. This reconstruction is vitally important for determining which particles arose from the collision.

Cornelissen's algorithm has been tested with simulated data and has been applied to real data obtained by prototypes of the detectors that will be used in ATLAS. For example, tracks of cosmic particles can also be accurately detected and reconstructed. That is particularly important for the start of the LHC and the real measurements of the ATLAS experiment, which are planned to take place before the end of 2007.

Source: NWO

Explore further: Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

Related Stories

Keeping a sharp eye on the environment from space

December 8, 2016

On Nov. 19, 2016, America's most advanced weather satellite rocketed into orbit carrying six new, state—of-the-art instruments, dramatically enhanced observation capabilities, and some crucial NIST calibrations.

Fusion energy—a time of transition and potential

November 30, 2016

For centuries, humans have dreamed of harnessing the power of the sun to energize our lives here on Earth. But we want to go beyond collecting solar energy, and one day generate our own from a mini-sun. If we're able to solve ...

Recommended for you

Electron highway inside crystal

December 8, 2016

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their ...

Researchers improve qubit lifetime for quantum computers

December 8, 2016

An international team of scientists has succeeded in making further improvements to the lifetime of superconducting quantum circuits. An important prerequisite for the realization of high-performance quantum computers is ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.