Meeting the demands of a more powerful LHC

Kevin Burkett

Kevin Burkett, acting head of the CMS Center, wrote this column.

We are now past the halfway point of the LHC’s long shutdown, during which scientists and engineers have been upgrading the collider to smash proton beams at double the energy of its first run. While there is still plenty of work left to do, the LHC accelerator complex is on track to return in early 2015 with proton-proton collisions at close to the LHC design energy of 14 TeV, and the CMS experiment will be ready to record the events. Members of CMS recently gathered at CERN to develop detailed plans for recommissioning the experiment after the restart of the accelerator, leading to exciting possibilities for physics with the high-energy data we expect to record in 2015.

Back here at Fermilab, lab personnel and other members of CMS have been taking advantage of the Fermilab Test Beam Facility. The facility’s unique capabilities attract both national and international collaborators to test their new detector designs in a controlled environment. The current experiments at the Test Beam Facility are an important step in the development of the upgraded detectors needed to deal with the higher luminosity expected from the LHC in the future.

One group of CMS collaborators is focused on an upgrade of the forward pixel detector, part of the system responsible for measuring the trajectories of particles as they emerge from the proton-proton collision. The group works with CMS colleagues from other countries on a high-rate beam test to study electronics for upgrades planned for late 2016 and beyond.

Other groups from CMS perform studies critical to the upgrade of the calorimetry system, which measures the energy of particles. These groups evaluate prototypes of detector electronics that will be used in a near-term upgrade of the calorimeter, as well as study new materials and innovative designs for a future upgrade of the forward calorimetry system.

The studies at Fermilab’s Test Beam Facility today will ensure that the CMS detector continues to perform well in the future, producing exciting physics for many years to come, and that Fermilab personnel will have a leading role in the effort.