Our collider detectors:
tuned and taking data
and George Ginter
George Ginther, DZero, and Phil Schlabach, CDF, wrote this week's column.
On June 13, accelerator operators dumped the remains of the store of protons and antiprotons in the Tevatron, signaling the beginning of Fermilab's three-month shutdown of its accelerator complex.
The shutdown meant an opportunity to carry out maintenance and make improvements for the long-term benefit of Fermilab's research program. It also provided the CDF and DZero collaborations the opportunity to fine-tune our collider detectors in preparation for nearly continuous data taking for extended periods of time.
To facilitate our shutdown work, thousands of tons of steel had to be carefully repositioned to provide access to the normally inaccessible interior regions of the detectors. This allowed us, for example, to gain access to and replace parts of the DZero luminosity monitors buried deep inside the DZero detector.
While the CDF and DZero detectors were open, we repaired and recovered defective sub-detector readout channels, when feasible. We also tested detector and personnel safety systems and upgraded the CDF building emergency generator. Much of this work is routine, but even the routine tasks required careful planning and preparation to be completed safely and efficiently.
We completed a long list of tasks in a safe and timely manner thanks to the dedicated work of many technicians, engineers, physicists and other personnel from the Particle Physics Division, with assistance from the Accelerator and Computing Division, universities and other laboratories, as well as contractors. Planning, training, focus, coordination, cooperation and patience were key ingredients for the successful shutdown work.
By Sept. 9, the two collision halls were secured and on Tuesday, Sept. 15, the Accelerator Division delivered the first post-shutdown collisions at the centers of the CDF and DZero detectors. Our detectors performed well and we've had a good week of data taking since, with the Tevatron collider returning to routine operation.
We eagerly anticipate receiving record amounts of collision data, which could double the current size of our data samples during the next two years. Our rapidly increasing data sets will speed up our exploration of the microcosm, advancing our ongoing quest for rare and unusual phenomena.