The FASER experiment will be ready to collect collision data at the Large Hadron Collider when they resume in spring 2022
The newest experiment at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is now being carried out at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva. The FASER or Forward Search Experiment was approved by the CERN Research Council in March 2019. The experiment, now set up in the LHC tunnel, is trying to understand particles that scientists believe may interact with dark matter, and is being tested before data collection begins next year.
“This is an important milestone for the experiment,” said Shi-Chi Hsu, a FASER scientist and assistant professor of physics at the University of Washington. “FASER will be ready to collect data on collisions at the Large Hadron Collider when they resume in the spring of 2022.”
FASER is designed to study the interaction of high-energy neutrinos and search for new, not yet discovered, light and weakly interacting particles, which, according to some scientists, interact with dark matter.
Unlike visible matter, which makes up our world, most of the matter in the universe – about 85% – is made up of dark matter. Studying light and weakly interacting particles can help unravel the nature of dark matter and other long-standing mysteries such as the origin of neutrino masses.
The researchers believe that collisions at the LHC produce light and weakly interacting particles that the FASER experiment can detect. These can be long-lived particles that travel hundreds of meters before decaying into other particles that FASER will measure.
The FASER experiment is being carried out in an unused service tunnel along the collision axis, just 480 meters from the six-story ATLAS detector at the LHC. This proximity puts FASER in an optimal position for detecting decay products of light and weakly interacting particles.
The FASER detector is 5 meters long and has two scintillation stations at its entrance. The stations will eliminate background interference from charged particles passing through the tunnel wall from the ATLAS interaction point. Next comes a 1.5 meter dipole magnet. It is followed by a spectrometer consisting of two dipole magnets, each 1 meter long, with three tracking stations, two at each end and one between the magnets. Each tracking station consists of layers of precision silicon strip detectors. Scintillation stations for triggering and accurate timing are located at the entrance and exit of the spectrometer.
The last component is an electromagnetic calorimeter. This will allow high energy electrons and photons to be identified and the total electromagnetic energy measured. The entire detector is cooled to 15 ° C using an independent cooling station.
FASER will also have a sub-detector called FASERν, specially designed to detect neutrinos. Neutrinos produced at the particle collider have never been detected, despite the fact that the collider produces them in huge quantities and at high energies.
FASERν consists of emulsion films and tungsten plates that act as a target and as a detector to see neutrino interactions. FASERν should be ready for installation by the end of the year. The entire experiment will begin by collecting data during the third run of the LHC, starting in 2022.