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Los Alamos/Brookhaven collaboration lands funds to start detector construction
Physicists at DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory working for six years on the design and development of a new forward silicon vertex detector upgrade (FVTX) for the Pioneering High-Energy Nuclear Interaction Experiment (PHENIX) experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) recently learned that the $5M upgrade for a construction start is in next year's budget.
The FVTX detector is designed to detect particles from heavy ion and proton-proton collisions and determine the direction from which they arrive. The detector will house roughly 6500 square centimeters of silicon strip detectors, comprising 1.1 million strips and 8640 custom integrated circuits.
Addressing the fundamental question of where the proton gets its spin, the FVTX detector upgrade will open the door to new physics studies of the so-called "perfect liquid", a new state of matter recently discovered at RHIC. FVTX is designed specifically to detect and identify heavy quarks, charm and beauty. As heavy quarks traverse the device's liquid medium, they can be used to probe the detailed characteristics of this new state of matter.
The FVTX detector work is actually part of an even larger collaborative effort between Los Alamos physicists and their colleagues from the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University, who are leading the spin physics effort at RHIC using the LANL-built muon spectrometers. The spin team's simulation efforts have determined that the FVTX detector will be able to provide improved polarization measurements for heavy quark production over what can be obtained with the existing PHENIX detectors.
As the only polarized proton-proton collider facility in the world, Brookhaven's RHIC is the flagship accelerator facility of DOE's Office of Science - Office of Nuclear Physics. The detector project is supported by the Medium Energy Program and the Heavy Ion Program in DOE's Office of Nuclear Physics.
Submitted by DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory
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