After much hard work by too many people to even possibly hope to mention, MicroBooNE detector assembly has begun to roll out some of the first tangible construction in this last month. I have had the good fortune of getting to take part in a lot of the assembly activity and detector construction in the last week and thought it would be fun to share some of the work with the Quantum Diaries community. The first thing I should say is that any of the work I am showing here is by no means my own. I am only one of many hands getting to take part in the plan to build the Liquid Argon neutrino detector known as MicroBooNE. While I am trying my best to take on leadership roles in some of these tasks (e.g. be a person that knows what is going on and can get yelled at if things aren’t going smoothly), there are many people who are planning and leading the charge and I am just one of many helping hands.
The first of the tasks I got to do much earlier in the spring was to take part in the fabrication of part of the wires that will be at the heart of the MicroBooNE detector. From February till May of this year I aided and helped lead the effort to complete the Y-plane wires that will serve as the collection plane for the MicroBooNE detector. This was a very interesting, yet incredibly tedious, task of using a special made machine (made at Brookhaven Labs) to measure and wind > 3840 individual wires and place them on an electronics board (also designed and fabricated at Brookhaven…see I told you I was only a small cog in the wheel) before storing them and shipping them to Fermilab where they await to be mounted in the detector. Along the way we performed various strength and strain tests all in preparation for their final use in the detector.
After landing back at Fermilab in the early summer (with a brief layover in Japan for Neutrino 2012 conference) I began to take part in the massive efforts that were going on to sort / clean / and prep all the various large and small parts that were starting to arrive from the various machine shops and industrial companies that will eventually make up the MicroBooNE detector. These efforts were being lead by Jen Raaf (a Fermilab Scientist) along with an army of undergraduates, graduates, and post-docs. An article was even written in Fermilab today (see link here) highlighting some of the work.
However, don’t let the fancy picture fool you…this was a lot of hard work. From scrubbing massive pieces of steel to remove grime and particles to cleaning and coating thousands of individual bolts, this massive effort required MANY man hours and lots of dirty clothes and long days. I, along with many other people, aided in a good part of the cleaning efforts as well as some of the sorting and transporting, but a lot of credit has to go to Thomas Strauss from Bern who really threw himself into the task of getting these parts cleaned, labelled and transported .
Finally, with a all the parts needed to begin the full scale construction, MicroBooNE began to come together last week at large scale. The first part of the detector that was to be assembled is what is known as the “anode frame” and is one of the back parts of what makes up the large rectangular TPC detector.
This too was no small undertaking and took the hard work of technicians from Lab F at Fermilab, scientists from Brookhaven Labs, graduate students and post-docs (myself included) and even the spokespeople of the MicroBooNE collaboration in order to get all the various parts to fit together and have any hope of being square and parallel.
Like most things in life, the judicious application of banging mallets, pulling of chains, and the screwing of allen wrenches eventually got the anode frame assembled and in place in the construction tent currently living in the D0 collision hall at Fermilab.
While the construction work is far from being done, I thought it would be fun to share a flavor of all the exciting things that are taking place as I get the chance to share in my first large scale construction of a particle detector. You can follow all the excitement, thanks to Fermilab visual media services there is a live streaming webcam of the construction tent which can be viewed here: http://vmsstreamer1.fnal.gov/live/MBWebcam.htm