New investment from STFC for R&D in Monolithic Active Pixel Sensors

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The Physics Department has received new funding from the STFC research council to work on silicon detector R&D (approximately £523,000, PI Prof Marielle Chartier).

This funding was awarded through the UKRI Large Infrastructure fund as part of a £3M new investment involving 7 British institutions (the universities of Birmingham, Brunel, Glasgow, Lancaster, Liverpool and York, as well as STFC’s Daresbury and Rutherford Laboratories) to develop new detector technologies for future experiments at the Electron-Ion Collider (EIC), a new particle accelerator to be built at Brookhaven National Laboratory in the US.


The Electron-Ion Collider (Photo: EIC/BNL)


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Within this research programme Liverpool will work more specifically on the R&D of Monolithic Active Pixel Sensors (MAPS) for high-precision vertexing and tracking of charged particles.

MAPS are a state-of-the-art silicon sensor technology that incorporates readout electronics within each pixel to create an exceptionally thin and high-resolution detector. For the future EIC experiments MAPS is the only technology capable of satisfying the demanding tracking requirements.

In particular, a new generation of MAPS in a commercial 65 nm CMOS imaging process, currently being developed for the next upgrade of the Inner Tracking System (ITS3) of the ALICE experiment at the LHC (CERN, Switzerland), is needed to achieve the required increased granularity and lower material budget compared to previous experiments.

Liverpool will build on the successful completion in the LSDC of the STFC-funded ALICE ITS2 upgrade project, the largest pixel particle detector ever built and first entirely made of MAPS, totaling nearly 13 billion pixels and covering 10 m2, which recently completed an important milestone with first proton-proton collisions at the LHC.


ALICE ITS2 outer barrel (Photo: ALICE/CERN)


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Over the next 2.5 years Liverpool will work in close partnership with Daresbury and Lancaster, focusing on testing these new state-of-the-art silicon sensors and prototyping detector modules that will benefit both the ALICE ITS3 and EIC vertexing and tracking detector projects.

Furthermore this will naturally ensure that the Liverpool Physics Department continues to be in a position to shape the immediate and longer-term future of hadronic physics, both at the LHC and at the future EIC.