EDIT symposium at Fermilab: training the next generation of particle detector experts

In March, Fermilab hosted the fifth EDIT Symposium. EDIT stands for Excellence in Detector and Instrumentation Technologies. Past editions include EDIT at CERN in Switzerland in 2011, at Fermilab in 2012, at KEK in Japan in 2013 and at the National Laboratory of Frascati, INFN, in Italy in 2015. This symposium gives 50 graduate students and postdocs — most studying the field of particle physics — from all over the world the opportunity to experience hands-on instrumentation training and engagement with world-leading experts.

For two weeks, every morning began with a lecture on a particular instrumentation technology or topic by university and laboratory scientists. Video recordings of the lectures as well as the corresponding slide decks are available online.

This was then followed by a full day of hands-on lab activities rotating between four distinct tracks, which included photo detection at Lab 6, cryostats at PAB, silicon sensors at SiDet and test beam experiments at the Fermilab Test Beam Facility.

At the test beam, the team of instructors included Jason St. John, Jessica Metcalfe, Mandy Rominsky, Ewa Skup and Adam Watts. Divided into groups of six, the students spent one day at MTest working with Cherenkov detectors and multiwire proportional chambers, and the other day learning how to build a trigger and delay signals, as well as how to work with a time-of-flight detector at the MCenter beamline.

The neutrino team included Dan Baxter, David Caratelli, Amy Cottle, Kirsty Duffy, Carlos Escobar, Alan Hahn, Cat James, Ernesto Kemp, Hugh Lippincott, Sarah Lockwitz, Evan Niner, Jonathan Paley, Aria Soha, Dylan Temples and Matt Toups. Groups of three students would study photon collection systems in a liquid-argon environment using the TallBo test stand, as well as perform energy calibrations and particle ID in a liquid xenon time projection chamber called Xelda. They would also study gas discharge properties and how to monitor the purity of the LAr cryostats.

The photo detector team included David Christian, Anna Pla-Dalmau, Jim Freeman, Don Lincoln and Rick Tesarek. Students would learn about scintillator chemistry and fabrication, as well as optical properties of wavelength shifters. They learned all about photomultipliers, scintillation counters and how to excite scintillators with radioactive sources. Students compared single-photon signals, line shape, gain and linearity of traditional photomultipliers with silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs). This track was completed by instructions on signal propagation, transmission lines, triggering and detector calibration methods.

The SiDet team included Maral Alyari, Zoltan Gecse, Michelle Jonas, Donna Kubik, Ron Lipton, Petra Merkel and Hannsjoerg Weber. Students had the opportunity to observe a silicon test structure being wire bonded. They also had the chance to study various available silicon wafers and test structures on probe stations and under microscopes. They then measured current-voltage (IV) and capacitance-voltage (CV) behavior of different test structures. This was complemented by signal line shape measurements using a laser test stand. Finally, all observations could be compared to TCAD simulations of their silicon test structures.

The two-week-long symposium was finished off with presentations by industry representatives, as well as tours of DZero and the neutrino campus.

The students returned home with a whole new toolkit in their possession. Much of the feedback we received included that it had been the best school they had ever been to and that the interaction with detector experts, as well as the opportunity to play around with state-of-the-art equipment, was priceless. The Local Organizing Committee, led by Erik Ramberg, looks forward to seeing the growth of the next generation of detector experts.

Petra Merkel is the Fermilab detector R&D coordinator and one of the members of the EDIT 2018 Local Organizing Committee.