by Dagmar Adamova, NPI ASCR Rez/Prague. Published: 19 November 2012

20 years ago, in 1992, the Czech Republic became one of the member states of CERN. As a part of the celebration of this anniversary, there was a Scientific Symposium held in Prague on October 26 2012, featuring presentations by the spokespersons of the CERN experiments in which the Czech scientists are involved, including a talk by Paolo Giubellino on ALICE. This event raised a great attention inside the Czech scientific community, was amply attended and was also positively evaluated by the Czech Ministry of Education, the responsible Funding Agency.

For almost 20 years, since 1993, the Czech Republic has been a member of the ALICE experiment. This activity represents a continuation of the Czech scientists' involvement in the experiments WA94, WA97, WA98, NA45 and NA57. An important role played a recommendation by Hans Gutbrod, Juergen Schukraft and Karel Safarik that the Czech scientists become active in the mentioned projects and in ALICE.

Dagmar Adamova (Czech ALICE Grid production coordinator) and Jiri Kral (ALICE SDD DCS development) at Point 2

Currently, there are 28 Czech collaborators in ALICE coming from 3 institutes: Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering (FNSPE) of the Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague, Institute of Physics (IP) of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (ASCR) in Prague and Nuclear Physics Institute (NPI) of the ASCR in Rez/Prague. The activity of the Czech collaborators in the ALICE experiment is concentrated in several sub-projects:

Inner Tracking System (ITS) - SDD group

The Czech scientists are members of the Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) group since 1994. In collaboration with INFN (Torino, Trieste) they worked on development of SDD prototypes, participated in the tests of SDDs in the laboratory and at CERN SPS beams. The Czech group also completed studies of the SDD performance with inclined tracks, studies of SDD radiation hardness and performed drift velocity calibrations.

Another Czech activity concerning the ALICE ITS/SDD project is the development and ongoing support of the SDD Detector Control System (DCS) provided by the group from FNSPE CTU.

For the ITS/SDD, also the low voltage power supply (LVPS) system was developed in the Czech Republic by the collaboration of NPI ASCR and FNSPE CTU and was manufactured by the Czech company AREMPRO in Prague.

PHOton Spectrometer (PHOS)

The Czech scintillator group from IP ASCR started collaboration within the ALICE PHOS project in 2000. Since 1993, this group participated in the research programme RD18 (Heavy and fast scintillators for new generation of energy calorimeters at LHC). Members of the group also performed studies of the properties of PWO (PbWO4) crystals selected to be used for the ALICE PHOS spectrometer, including tests of large PWO crystals. The group cooperated in 2004-2006 with VNIIEF Research Institute in Sarov, Russia, in preparation and production of the mechanical cradle designed to hold the large modules with PWO crystals.

PHOS module for ALICE. The IP ASCR group worked on the assembly of these modules

The cradle was manufactured at the Czech factory TENEZ a.s. in Chotebor. The Czech Republic coordinated also the delivery of the cradle to CERN and its assembly. The IP ASCR group worked later on the assembly of individual large PHOS modules, their placement on the mechanical cradle and on measuring the position in the ALICE experiment.

ALICE Grid computing

Since 2002, Czech collaborators from NPI ASCR and IP ASCR participated in the distributed simulation and analysis operations of the ALICE Grid project. The ALICE jobs are running at the National computing center for processing data from various HEP experiments, including ALICE and ATLAS at LHC. This Regional HEP center (computing farm GOLIAS) is certified as a Tier2 center of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG) and signed the WLCG MoU in 2008. The storage provided by the Czech Republic to the ALICE Grid is represented by a distributed cluster with storage servers at IP ASCR and NPI ASCR, altogether 540 TB of disk space. The Prague site publishes ~3800 cores for the Grid (out of which ALICE is using over 1000 in peaks) and thus has an excellent network connectivity. The Czech contribution to the ALICE job processing has been around 4% in the last couple of years.

HEP/ALICE Computing in Prague: The farm GOLIAS

Physics analysis

The scientists and students from NPI ASCR and FNSPE CTU are currently involved in several Physics analysis working groups: Heavy Flavours, Jets and Ultra-peripheral Collisions. Two PhD students recently reported their results at the "Hot Quarks 2012" conference in Puerto Rico.

ALICE Upgrade

Czech groups are participating in three upgrade projects designed to boost the ALICE detector performance to comply with the upcoming changes in the LHC operations: the ITS upgrade, the Forward Calorimeter (FoCal) project and the PHOS upgrade.

The work within the ITS upgrade is performed by the group from NPI ASCR and is focused on the hardware development (readout SEU chip) and testing of its sensitivity, cross section and radiation hardness.

The activity of the FNSPE CTU and IP ASCR groups is focused on the FoCal project. A calorimeter prototype with optical readout is under development at the CTU. The group also works on development of the pad detector for Si-W design of FoCal, mechanical structures and services for the calorimeter etc. Also, FoCal design simulations are coordinated and performed by FNSPE CTU (run on the CTU computing farm).

Low Voltage Power Supply System (LVPS) at P2. LVPS was developed by the FNSPE CTU and NPI ASCR groups

The Czech PHOS group from IP ASCR is participating in preparations and production of the 4th large PHOS module. This work is done in collaboration with the VNIIEF Institute in Sarov, Russia. This module is manufactured by the Czech factories DUO CZ in Opocno and TENEZ a.s. in Chotebor.

During the last two decades, the Czech Republic became a recognized and respected member of the ALICE collaboration. Ever since the beginning of the project, Czech scientists have been actively contributing to ALICE and their work has been recognized and positively evaluated. Czech colleagues are looking forward to working with the ALICE collaboration also in the coming years which for sure will bring new exciting Physics results and discoveries.