Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Description of the Test Beam Chamber

The Test Beam Chamber is currently divided into two separate areas. The table is currently in an area called the "garage". This area is next to the beam line and shielded from it by huge concrete blocks. This enables the table to be worked on in a safe area shielded from radiation. The table can be seen here parked in the "garage" with the concrete blocks behind it. The cables to the control room can be seen on the right, on a blue support arm, going up over the blocks.

Stan and Robert working in the "garage", on the table surface

The second area is where the table will be during the Test Beam. The concrete blocks will be removed and the table will be moved on steel "railway" tracks into the path of the beam.

The Beam Chamber

The concrete blocks can be seen on the right as well as the magnets through which the beam will travel. The blocks in the foreground are part of the beam dump components and will be removed prior to moving the table.

A view downstream, showing other experiments in the beam path

Update on Test Beam Preparation

TileCal Update meeting today. Carlos kicked off proceedings with a summary of progress and the timetable going forward. He also had a slide listing all areas of activity and the collaborations from various institutions. The University of the Witwatersrand was right up there! Carlos also mentioned that he was hugely impressed by the interest shown by young people, all willing to help with the Upgrade. Several of those young people are of course from Wits.

Carlos Presenting Overview

The Extended Barrel was taken from the Caesium calibration area and loaded onto a truck along with the freshly painted placement bracket. Protection of the fibres and detector elements was vital and the heavy plastic coverings can be seen in the picture below. It is now down in the test beam area and mounted on the table. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when it was safely on the table!

Barrel and Bracket on truck ready for transport

Cabling for all the Electronics and Control systems is now in place and most of it has been connected and tested. The table safety system has been successfully tested and now awaits vetting by CERN Safety. The table motion controller is nearly complete. To see such a huge table move so smoothly is a real sight!

Yours truly soldering cables

Louis and I checking cabling

The PPR system was also disconnected and taken down to join the rest of the electronics in the 19" control room racks. It needed a box in which to house it. The housing has now been completed by Dean, Oscar and myself, ready for the installation of the electronics boards, optical fibre and other cabling.

One of the Instrumentation Racks

Filipe  and Oscar trying out PPR component placement in the 19" housing

Daniel and Oscar measuring up

Competed housing with panel holes and circuit board standoffs

Plans are also going ahead for setting aside an area for the Shift Workers to occupy. Two computers with dual monitors have been set up for real-time display of data during the beam. The Table Safety Control Box will be in the same area, from which the view of the Beam Chamber is unobstructed.

Carlos and Dean in consultation about the Shift Room

It looks like everything is on schedule and with just over a week till Test Beam, things are hotting up. 

More news soon!

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Two weeks till Beam!

Things are frenetic, loads to do still, but definitely on track. Piecing together the Table and Control Room Safety Boxes is almost done. From measuring the placement of components,

Measurement for the placement of Control Box Components

to the finished fully wired Control Room Safety Box

Completed Front Panel
 and Table Safety Box

Proud Dean with newborn Box!

There is an Emergency Stop Box at each corner of the table, each one with a rotating LED flasher. There is also a Siren to alert everyone that the table is in motion.

Cabling is installed and testing of all the safety interlocks starts soon.

In the interim, testing of the harness for the installation of the extended barrel has been successful. First with a test load,

Test Load clearing the Ground

and then with the barrel.

Anxious moments as Test Barrel is Airborne!

The dismantling of the Caesium injection system attached to the extended barrel is complete and removal and installation of the barrel into the Beam Chamber is scheduled for Monday. Testing and refinement of the electronics and firmware elements can continue till then.

In the meantime, the installation of the drawer electronics, for the Long barrel already on the table, went ahead smoothly.

Irakli and Robert - concentration overload!

The Table motion control box is now in the Beam Chamber and Nikolay from Dubna is busy fine tuning the absolute encoder electronics. Table motion in all axis has been tested and works. Soft and hard limit switches have been tested and the Motion Control Box is ready for placement.

Nikolai fine tuning the Encoders

The Cooling System for the drawer power supplies has been tested and transported to the Beam Chamber. The mounting brackets for hanging it under the table are being finalised and installation under the table is imminent. The removal of the concrete shielding blocks separating the table "garage" and the beam line is also about to happen. This is good news as we can get parasitic beam to test the systems during next week.

Full speed ahead!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Wits participation in the ATLAS Tile Calorimeter demonstrator expert week: 7 – 11 September 2015

Last week Dr Oscar Kureba (Postdoc) and Charles Sandrock (Chief Technical Manager) of the Wits school of Physics took part in the expert week organized by the Tile Calorimeter group of ATLAS at CERN. The main goals of the expert week were: 

  • Debugging the problems and instabilities observed in the single clock domain firmware,
  • Measurements  and characterisation of the clock at the CDCE output on the DBs. Jitter, etc,
  • Integrate the Demonstrator/TPP into a  TTC/DAQ partition,
  • Insert the demonstrator into the module and  perform the inter calibration  with the Cs source.

  • Follow up the construction of the lifting tools and the test qualification by CERN safety experts.

Oscar worked on the electronics while Charles was involved in the mechanics side. In a nutshell, it was a fairly successful expert week as nearly all the goals were met. The demonstrator tests gave the most impressive results to date. However, more still needs to be done in fine tuning of the firmware before the upcoming test beam period (7 – 21 October). Below are some pictures, just to give a feel of the proceedings throughout the said week.

Programme of the week

Men at work: Testing hardware and firmware of the super ReadOut Driver (sROD). 

TileCal front-end electronics demonstrator, before insertion into the Hadronic module for the performance of a Cs calibration

Some of the experts during one of the morning meetings to strategise for the day ahead. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

SA-CERN visit to help with preparation for ATLAS Beam Run

There are currently two University of the Witwatersrand members at CERN, Charles Sandrock and Oscar Kureba. Charles is the Chief Technical Manager at the School of Physics and Oscar is a Postdoc. We are shortly to be joined by a third member, Roman Hartman, an MSc Student. Preparations are far advanced for the Beam Run which starts on the 7th October 2015. Most of the background work has been done and the remaining tasks mainly involve the physical placement of the detectors and associated instrumentation in the Beam Line Chamber.

I will be detailing the work that I am currently involved with and posting some pictures to give an idea of the progress.

We are building a safety interlock for the motion control of the table on which the detector and associated electronics will be placed. To give an idea of the size of the table here are some photographs.

Project Leader Dean Shooltz at the corner of the Table

One of the Table motion control motors or "Escargot"

View of the Table from the top

The interlock is a system of switches, relays, push buttons, status lights, and a siren. To ensure maximum safety there are many redundancies and much duplication of wiring. Control of the motors can be via the Control Room or in the Beam Chamber itself. There are Emergency Stop push buttons on all four corners of the table as well as one in the Control Room. With  the size and weight of this table there can be no short-cuts.

Currently there is a Long Barrel Detector on the table, it can bee seen here.

Long Barrel already on top of Table

The idea is to place an Extended Barrel on top of the existing one. This will have to be moved into place with a harness supported by a mobile hoist. The Harness has just undergone testing.

First lift of Harness

One of the two Mobile Hoists in Beam Area

Parts for the Safety Interlock for the Table motion control arrived today. Work will begin assembling these tomorrow. Here is an "exploded" view of the system.

Components for the Safety Interlock Box

The Safety Interlock Box will be place in a rack in the Control Room. Currently the rack is sparsely populated. This will change rapidly.

Control Room instrumentation rack

There is a feeling of great excitement as each day unfolds and we get closer to the Beam switch on.

The saga continues ...............

Friday, 4 September 2015

First pictures of the ATLAS Tile Calorimeter Super Readout Driver board being manufactured in South Africa

Below are the first pictures of the ATLAS Tile Calorimeter Super Readout Driver (sROD) board being manufactured in South Africa. The board is being manufactured in Trax, Cape Town, and the pictures are indicative of significant progress. The project is financed by the NRF and the University of the Witwatersrand, together with support from the DST's  SA-CERN programme. This board is the most complex manufactured so far in South Africa, with 16 layers and it is able to process a total throughput of 290 GB/s.

Board 1. This was the first attempt. The material shrinkage was measured to compensate for future builds.

Board 2. Layer to layer registration was excellent, but unfortunately had inner layer shorts due to problems with direct imaging machine.

Board 3. This is one of the innerlayers of  the current third attempt which is in production at the moment.