Luciano Musa, the ALICE ITS Project Leader, Pierre Vande Vyvre, the ALICE DAQ Project Leader and Coordinator of the O2 project and Thorsten Kollegger (ALICE HLT Deputy Project Leader) who co-leads the O2 project together with Pierre, traveled to Thailand in the beginning of October to discuss the future participation of Thai Research Institutes in ALICE.
Their visit, organized by Chinorat Kobdaj and Sornthep Vannarat, was a unique opportunity to further foster the participation of Thai institutes in the current upgrade plans of ALICE and discuss how it could be enlarged. Following the accession of Suranaree University of Technology (SUT) many other institutes from Thailand have expressed their interest to join ALICE and work in future upgrade projects.
It should be noted that after two years of participation in the ALICE experiment, SUT has already made significant contributions to various projects. Among others one should mention:
• Software modeling of the new Inner Tracking System in the ALICE simulation framework.
• Experimental characterization of the resistivity of the silicon wafers used for the fabrication of the new ITS pixel detectors. This activity is carried out in collaboration with TMEC (Thai Microelectronics Center), research unit of the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC).
• Experimental characterization of the pixel detector prototypes, in collaboration with the Synchrotron Light Research Institute (SLRI).
• Fabrication of silicon frames on 6-inch wafers with embedded cooling micro channels of the new ITS detector (activity in collaboration with TMEC).
• Contribution to the ALICE Computing Grid with extra computing nodes at SUT.
These activities are an essential part of the R&D programme for the ALICE upgrade and Thai scientists and students have an active role. First results have been achieved or are expected soon and they have been highly valued by ALICE.
In addition to the activities listed above, ALICE devotes equal interest to a possible involvement of NECTEC and other Thai Universities in the new ALICE Online-Offline (O2) project. The O2 project aims at designing and creating a completely new computing system for the inspection, the read-out and the online reconstruction of collisions at LHC at a rate of up to 100 kHz (read more: here).
An important milestone of each of the ALICE upgrade projects has been its formal presentation to the LHC experiments Committee (LHCC) in the format of a Technical Design Report (TDR) that contains a detailed description of the design and performance of the upgrade project, including the planning, cost and responsibilities for the construction, commissioning, installation and operation. Thai research institutes are expected to play a key role in the construction and commission of the new ITS and the discussions that were held in Thailand between ALICE project leaders and Thai Funding Agencies endorsed and further clarified the participation of Thai researchers in these projects.
Finally, a crucial parameter that will guarantee the future success of this collaboration is the participation of Thai students in ALICE. It is vital for the projects that students are immersed and integrated in an international multidisciplinary research environment like CERN. The ALICE upgrade programme represents certainly a fantastic education opportunity for young students and researchers. Luciano Musa notes: “the success of our research programme counts also on the dynamism and inquisitive minds of young scientists and engineers”. Thailand has currently one MSc student, one PhD student and one postdoc involved in the ITS project and hopefully the number of students will grow as more students and young scientists are expected to get involved in these projects.
Find out more about the highlights of the visit here