US CMS Collaborators Receive Approval for Massive Detector Upgrade – Mellon College of Science

The rapid increase in data poses many challenges. The experiment will go from seeing about 60 proton-proton collisions each time the LHC beams cross to about 200. This jump in collision rate means that scientists not only need more bandwidth in their electronics, but also new components that help them make the most of this increase in data. For example, a new timing detector will mark particles emerging from collisions with an accuracy of around 30 picoseconds, giving scientists the ability to better determine the trajectories of particles and better understand how they interact with each other.

“We’re not just replacing old parts; “We are pushing the limits,” Nahn said. “The HL-LHC will be a testing ground for new detection technologies.”

The U.S.-funded work will be carried out by scientists, engineers and technicians from Fermilab and 45 universities located in 23 states. Much of the work will be done by the students, who make up a considerable fraction of the experiment.

At Carnegie Mellon, graduate and undergraduate students will help build the detector modules on the eighth floor of Wean Hall. Starting later this year and continuing through 2026, Carnegie University will begin the production phase by building 12 modules daily and shipping them to Fermilab for further assembly into larger components.

“This is a great opportunity for students,” said Robin Erbacher, a professor at the University of California, Davis and chair of the US CMS collaborative board. “We don’t build detectors every day.”

The global CMS collaboration, comprising 6,000 scientists from 57 countries, has been planning detector upgrades since the early 2000s. In 2016, the US-funded CMS institutions, which represent about a third of the collaboration, began the approval process with US funding agencies for their planned contributions.

“This has been in the works for a long time,” Erbacher said.

During the upgrade project approval process, experts reviewed physical objectives, technical design reports, construction schedules, and the cost of proposed detector components. The DOE approval, known as Critical Decision 3 and announced on January 11, allows US-funded CMS collaborators to move into full production of the proposed upgrades.

US CMS collaborators will complete and submit their contributions to CERN between 2026 and 2027. Commissioning of the high-luminosity LHC is planned for 2029.

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