At the core of the mammoth detector assemblies and snugly surrounding the beam pipes are arrays of silicon sensors, which provide detailed patterns of interactions to micron-level precision, with subnanosecond timing and low mass. Research and development to improve the characteristics and develop better silicon detectors with the use of new technologies continue as we upgrade the existing detectors for better performance and develop designs for experiments at future generations of accelerators.
Fermilab has enormous, decades-long experience in building silicon detectors. Thanks to an exceptional, cooperative team with levels of experience and capabilities that lead the world, we were able to quickly put together a design for a tracking system that could be used for muon tomography — using muons to see inside solid objects, similar to how we use X-rays. The system won an R&D 100 Award.