PPD engineering departments organize for the future

Peter Wilson

Peter Wilson, PPD Associate Head for Engineering and Support, wrote this column.

This month our division rolled out a new organization chart, completing changes to the engineering side of the division that we had started in early 2011. The realignment of groups and departments will help PPD to meet the demands and challenges of the Fermilab experimental program in the coming decade.

Our engineering departments support experiments from start to finish. They work closely with scientists from PPD, other Fermilab divisions and institutions around the world to research and develop detector technologies, design and construct detectors and detector upgrades, and operate and maintain experiments.

Fermilab’s diverse experimental program requires us to master a tremendous range of technologies. For example, our engineering departments are designing and building the NOvA and MicroBooNE detectors. Members of our technical staff helped the Dark Energy Survey collaboration build and now install one of the world’s largest digital cameras on a telescope in Chile. Other people in our division are developing upgrades to the giant CMS and ATLAS collider detectors at CERN. Another group of people works on liquid-argon technology and has helped demonstrate the scalability of the technology, which has become the technology of choice for the proposed LBNE experiment.

While the number of PPD engineering departments remains the same as in January 2011, the reorganization broke up two departments and created two new ones, with adjustments to the two remaining departments. We now have the following engineering departments in our division:

  • Detector Development and Operations Department (DDOD), led by Rick Ford: DDOD has wide-ranging expertise of particle detectors, including R&D on new detector technologies, assembly and installation of detectors and support of operating experiments. The new department comprises the technician groups of the former Mechanical Department and most groups of the former Technical Centers Department.
  • Electrical Engineering Dept (EED), led by acting head Marcus Larwill: This department, which earlier this month lost its leader, Bob DeMaat, has great expertise in the design of custom integrated circuits, analog and digital electronics for detector readout and electronics infrastructure.
  • Mechanical Engineering Dept (MED), led by Kurt Krempetz: This department focuses on mechanical design of experiments, including detector components, mechanical structures, cooling systems, cryogenics and controls. It comprises the engineering and design groups of the former Mechanical Department.
  • Alignment and Metrology Department (AMD), led by Horst Friedsam: This department is based on the Alignment and Metrology Group of the former Technical Centers Department. It has retained the expertise and responsibilities of the old group, providing alignment services to the whole laboratory.

Our engineering departments will continue to collaborate on large projects and often provide teams that involve members from two or three departments. If you have any questions, please let me know.