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- The ALICE TPC, a large 3-dimensional tracking device with fast readout for ultra-high multiplicity events (2010)
- The design, construction, and commissioning of the ALICE Time-Projection Chamber (TPC) is described. It is the main device for pattern recognition, tracking, and identification of charged particles in the ALICE experiment at the CERN LHC. The TPC is cylindrical in shape with a volume close to 90 m3 and is operated in a 0.5 T solenoidal magnetic field parallel to its axis. In this paper we describe in detail the design considerations for this detector for operation in the extreme multiplicity environment of central Pb–Pb collisions at LHC energy. The implementation of the resulting requirements into hardware (field cage, read-out chambers, electronics), infrastructure (gas and cooling system, laser-calibration system), and software led to many technical innovations which are described along with a presentation of all the major components of the detector, as currently realized. We also report on the performance achieved after completion of the first round of stand-alone calibration runs and demonstrate results close to those specified in the TPC Technical Design Report.
- Commissioning and calibration of the ALICE-TPC (2008)
- ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment), is the dedicated heavy-ion experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. It is optimised to reconstruct and identify the particles created in a lead-lead collision with a centre of mass energy of 5.5TeV. The main tracking detector is a large-volume time-projection chamber (TPC). With an active volume of about 88m^3 and a total readout area of 32.5m^2 it is the most challenging TPC ever build. A central electrode divides the 5m long detector into two drift regions. Each readout side is subdivided into 18 inner and 18 outer multi-wire proportional read-out chambers. The readout area is subdivide into 557568 pads, where each pad is read out by and electronics chanin. A complex calibration is needed in order to reach the design position-resolution of the reconstructed particle tracks of about 200um. One part of the calibration lies in understanding the electronic-response. The work at hand presents results of the pedestal and noise behaviour of the front-end electronics (FEE), measurements of the pulse-shaping properties of the FEE using results obtained with a calibration pulser and measurements performed with the laser-calibration system. The data concerned were taken during two phases of the TPC commissioning. First measurements were performed in the clean room where the TPC was built. After the TPC was moved underground and built into the experiment, a second round of commissioning took place. Noise measurements in the clean room revealed a very large fraction of pads with noise values larger than the design specifications. The unexpected high noise values could be explained by the 'ground bounce' effect. Two modifications helped to reduce this effect: A desynchronisation in the the start of the readout of groups of channels and a modification in the grounding scheme of the FEE. Further noise measurements were carried out after the TPC has been moved to the experimental area underground. Here even a larger fraction of channels showed too large noise values. This could be traced back to a common mode current injected by the electronics power supplies. To study the shaping properties of the FEE a calibration pulser was used. To generate signals in the FEE a pulse is injected to the cathode wires of the read-out chambers. Due to manufacturing tolerances slight channel-by-channel variations of the shaping properties are expected. This effects the determination of the arrival time as well as the measured integral signal of the induced charge and has to be corrected. The measured arrival time variations follow a Gaussian distribution with a width (sigma) of 6.2ns. This corresponds to an error of the cluster position of about 170um. The charge variations are on the level of 2.8%. In order to reach the intrinsic resolution on the measurement of the specific energy loss of the particles (6%) those variations have to be taken into account. The photons of the laser-calibration system are energetic enough to emit photo electrons off metallic surfaces. Most interesting for the detector calibration are photo electrons from the central electrode. The laser light is intense enough to get a signal in all readout channels of the TPC. Since the central electrode is a smooth surface, differences in the arrival time between sectors reveal mechanical displacements of the readout sectors and can be used to correct for this effect. In addition the measurements can be used to determine the electron drift velocity in the TPC gas. The drift velocity measurements have shown a vertical as well as a radial gradient. The first can be explained by the temperature gradient, which naturally builds up in the 5m high detector. The second gradient is most probably caused by a relative conical deformation of the readout plane and the central electrode.