The efficient reconstruction of the trajectories of charged particles and the precise measurement of their momenta is a key ingredient for the success of the LHCb experiment. The LHCb tracking system consists of a Vertex Locator (VELO) surrounding the proton-proton collision region, a single four-layer planar silicon micro-strip detector (TT) upstream of the spectrometer magnet and three planar tracking stations downstream of the spectrometer magnet. The stations downstream of the magnet consist of a silicon micro-strip Inner Tracker (IT) covering the innermost region around the LHC beam pipe and a straw drift-tube Outer Tracker (OT) covering the outer regions of each tracking station.
Under the leadership of first Prof. U. Straumann and then PD Dr. O. Steinkamp, our group has made significant contributions to the development of the IT and its readout and has been fully responsible for the design, commissioning and operation of the TT and its readout. Under the leadership of PD Dr. O. Steinkamp, we now contribute to the development of a new Upstream Tracker (UT), which is foreseen to replace the TT as part of a major upgrade of the LHCb detector and its readout in 2018/2019.
The main contribution of our group to the LHCb detector has been the development and construction of the Tracker Turicensis ("Tracker from Zurich"), shown in the picture above. The Tracker Turicensis covers a surface of 8 m2 with silicon-microstrip sensors and plays an important part in the precise measurement of the trajectories and momenta of charged particles. It was installed in 2009 and has worked reliably and with very high efficiency ever since, with more than 99.5% of its almost 150'000 readout channels being fully operational. We are still responsible for the maintenance and operation of this beautiful detector. One of us is based at CERN full time to ensure its safe and efficient operation and most of our PhD students contribute to this effort by taking regular shifts at CERN.
In the next long shutdown of the LHC accelerator complex, scheduled for 2019/2020, the LHCb detector is foreseen to undergo a major upgrade to further increase the rate at which we can collect interesting data for physics analyses. As part of this upgrade, the entire LHCb tracking system will need to be replaced with detectors that have finer segmentation and can be read out at a 40 times higher rate than the existing ones. The detector to replace the Tracker Turicensis is called Upstream Tracker and we participate in its development. To best exploit our know-how and expertise, we decided to focus our contribution to this new detector on the development of the hardware and software that will be required for its safe and efficient operation. In addition, we make important contributions to the testing of a new readout chip for this detector.