Basics of Accelerators and Detectors

In particle accelerators beams of charged particles are accelerated through pipes in vacuo, thus preventing absorption of the particles or their energy by molecules in air. The particle beams are accelerated by large electric fields and guided by large magnetic fields.

a section of pipe inside CERN

In the D0 experiment a proton and an anti-proton beam are accelerated around circular pipes in opposite directions and collided. Complex detectors  detect the particles produced from the annihilation of proton / anti-proton pairs. In other experiments, different particles are collided, for example CERN collides electrons and positrons in its LEP collider.

This is a schematic of the layers inside Dě's particle detector.

schematic of a particle detector
  • the beam pipe transports the beams from opposite directions, so they can collide in the detector
  • the tracking chamber detects any charged particles produced, by using the magnetic field provided by the solenoid
  • the calorimeter detects electrons by the energy they deposit in the detector
  • the iron magnet provides a magnetic field to deflect muons into the muon chambers, where they may be detected

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