CERN Accelerating science

High Energy Physics

The world of High Energy Physics

What is the universe made of?   How did it start?

High Energy Particle Physics (HEP) seeks the answers to these primordial questions by exploring the elementary constituents of matter and energy, probing the interactions between them, and exploring the basic nature of space and time. Powerful accelerators enable experiments to probe deeply into matter and are used to create new particles. In the heart of particle physics experiments short lived particles have to be identified with high demands on spatial resolution and timing: imaging detectors are the gigantic microscopes that allow their recognition.

Why imaging detectors?

Efficient primary and secondary vertex reconstructions of unprecedented accuracy are crucial for many physics analyses; hence, imaging vertex  detectors realized with pixels in monolithic or hybrid technologies, have become key elements in HEP experiments.

What is requested to imaging detectors?

In the forthcoming phase of  research, the design and development of vertex imaging detectors  will be even more important than it was in the past owing to the harsh environmental conditions and the challenging requests imposed by the physicists' needs for:  improved spatial and time resolution, innovative functions, acquisition speed, radiation tolerance, minimal power consumption, robustness and reliability, minimal material and more. Hence, future experiments will require complex imaging detectors in which the high precision elements are integrated into innovative  apparatuses with a strong interdependence between the detection technologies, mechanics and electronics.

Which technologies can be adopted in imaging detectors?

In this panorama, microelectronics and very deep-submicron technologies, that have been key to the success of tracking systems in the past, will  play an even more important role to  provide viable solutions to the compelling requests of achieving high-density detectors suited to efficiently reconstructed physics events at high luminosity and high pile-up, or in the presence of very high backgrounds. Equally, a new generation of silicon detectors, where the geometry of the sensors is comprehensively  simulated and tested to ensure that very high fields can be applied across the sensitive area, will ensure excellent performances at the extreme conditions  awaiting the imaging vertex detectors positioned close to the interaction point  in future experiments.

The progress in the microelectronics industry, photolithography and printed circuit technology paved the road to the production of Micro Pattern Gaseous Detectors that now achieve unprecedented spatial resolution, high-rate capability, radiation hardness, high time resolutions and good counting rate. GEM, MicroMega and some designs resulting from their evolution, have proven to be established technologies that meet the requirements as imaging detection plane for TPC and RICH detectors; meanwhile a vigorous R&D is on-going to prove the explotation of MPGDs as vertex detectors and imaging calorimeter active sampling medium.