LArIAT begins taking data

Jason St. John, LArIAT run coordinator, explains how the project collects data. Photo: Hanae Armitage

On June 27 Fermilab’s LArIAT project collected its first diagnostic data.

Currently, LArIAT, which stands for Liquid-Argon TPC in a Test beam, is taking only beam characterization data, meaning that researchers carefully track and analyze the different patterns of particles that are produced by the beamline used in their experiment. The LArIAT team hopes that by the end of this first data-taking period, the beam will be acutely tuned to their needs — having a low energy range and producing a variety of particles, including electrons, protons, positrons, muons, pions and a few kaons.

So far, the team is making great progress.

“We made simulations of what we could expect from the beamline, and amazingly, when we got the first raw data — without even removing background noise — the distribution of energy of particles that we produced were overlapping one to one with our simulation,” said Flavio Cavanna, one of LArIAT’s co-spokespersons.

A week later, Cavanna and fellow co-spokesperson Jennifer Raaf presented their nice new results at an LBNE collaboration meeting.

While they continue to take beamline data, LArIAT is also preparing for the future as, ultimately, a calibration and verification system for Fermilab’s neutrino projects. The idea is to shoot known particles at a liquid-argon time projection chamber — a type of detector — to see how well the project’s computer algorithms can reconstruct and identify specific interaction events.

“In neutrino experiments we mostly have to infer what’s going in based on what we see coming out of the interaction,” Raaf said. “But in a test beam, we send in charged particles, and, since we know what’s going in, we can see how well the data matches up with what we expect to see based on the particle we send in.”

The LArIAT team is working diligently to line up the remaining pieces of the project in hopes of taking full data by the beginning of next year.

Hanae Armitage