…and time flies for the ALICE detector

8 July 2008

During the last week of April, the ALICE experiment’s time-of-flight (TOF) detector was completed and installed in the experimental cavern. The TOF lies inside the huge magnet of ALICE, 3.7 m from the beamline. It will operate together with the time projection chamber, which lies inside the cylinder formed by the TOF, in identifying charged particles, such as pions, kaons and protons produced in collisions in ALICE.

The TOF detector has a total surface area of 150 m2. and is divided into 18 supermodules, each of which is further subdivided into five modules. It consists of 1638 strips of multigap resistive plate chambers, which were made at the INFN Laboratory in Bologna. Each module has been carefully checked for performance with cosmic rays before being assembled in the supermodules. Now that these modules are installed in the ALICE detector, all that remains for the team is to retest them to ensure that no damage occurred during installation and to connect and commission the electronics in the experimental cavern in preparation for start-up of the LHC.

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