ILC Detector R&D at Fermilab

The particle detectors will literally provide the centerpiece of the ILC. The detectors will enclose the point where electrons and positrons collide, and they will yield the information needed to unravel today’s most compelling questions about the universe.

Fermilab’s ILC detector R&D program is consistent with the detector R&D priorities established by the World-Wide Study, a global effort that coordinates work on the detector designs, technologies and related R&D. Focusing on the most demanding aspects for the ILC detectors in collaboration with other laboratories and universities, the program consists of three major areas of detector design that are well matched to Fermilab’s core competencies. This research is intended to have a broad “horizontal” approach, not limited to a single ILC detector concept.

The main focus is on silicon detectors, deployed either as pixel or tracking detectors. The growing demands on detectors for ILC experiments require novel solutions of semiconductor detectors. A current trend in this field is the development of Monolithic Active Pixel Sensors.
A simulation of what the decay of a Z + Higgs to four jets would look like in an ILC detector. (Image courtesy of Norman Graf)
Called MAPS, these devices allow integration of a pixel detector and readout electronics in one entity. Fermilab developers are going beyond the MAPS approach and are vigorously pursuing “vertical integrated systems” with through-silicon via technology in a Silicon On Insulator (SOI) process. This technology, whose development is driven by industry, holds enormous promise for providing low-mass, low- power particle physics detectors. An integrated approach simultaneously studies the sensor technology, the mechanical design and vertex detectors, as well as characterizing their performance. The primary goal is to establish the proof of principle of each technology on a timescale compatible with the completion of the Engineering Design Report for the accelerator.

A second emphasis is on the characterization of Pixelated Photon Detectors, a new development for photon detection. These devices hold a promise of replacing the larger, more cumbersome and more expensive, photo-multiplier tubes. The devices are fast, operate at room temperature at modest bias voltages, and are insensitive to magnetic fields. Fermilab is working, in close collaboration with universities, on the characterization of these devices and on their applicability as photon-detectors for use in dual-readout calorimeters and scintillator-based calorimeters and muon detection systems.

A third focal point is the development of a test beam infrastructure. The ILC detectors are precision instruments using technologies never before employed in large-scale systems. Test beams will constitute a critical step in establishing the ILC detector technologies. In 2006, Fermilab upgraded its test beam facility largely to satisfy the needs for the ILC. As a candidate host laboratory for the ILC and with limited availability of test beams at other laboratories over the course of the next few years, Fermilab intends to further enhance the test beam facilities to accommodate the needs of the whole user community.

All detector R&D builds on Fermilab’s unparalleled infrastructure and expertise. As a candidate host laboratory, Fermilab intends to increase the laboratory’s effort in hosting ILC-related activities including collaborative work on detector R&D and test beam facilities and strengthening its support role. The laboratory intends to foster a lively and diversified program of R&D projects, for their significance for crucial and cutting-edge technology developments related not just to the ILC but also to the principal themes of world-wide research in particle and astroparticle physics. Fostering synergies among projects to optimize the scientific output for an intense, cost-effective, goal-oriented research program in collaboration with universities and other laboratories will be a priority. Fermilab will continue to strengthen the already compelling case for ILC physics, communicate and support the multi-faceted user community and work toward becoming a recognized center for physics and detector R&D for this global project.