Technical groups 2021

Computer Technology (CT)

TGL Ronald Starink

Highlights 2021

  • For the ATLAS MDT Barrel Alignment system new insights were obtained in the cause of the aging of embedded hardware. This led to valuable input for the design of the next generation of embedded hardware which is to be installed during LS3 of the LHC.
  • The system to monitor the new small BIS chambers in the ATLAS detector was finalized.
  • Support for the Detector Control System for the New Small Wheels project in ATLAS included work on temperature and magnetic field sensor data transfer, conversion and processing.
  • The Recipe Creator for the SciFi sub-detector in LHCb was improved and enhanced with new information about the front-end electronics.
  • Support was given to the setup of the ICT systems for the ETpathfinder project at Maastricht University.
  • Software development for the controls of the SciFi detector, for the readout of the new SPIDR4 chips, for the Felix system for ATLAS, for the KM3NeT detection units, work in a multi-messenger consortium on the analysis of Gravitational Wave data, continued software infrastructure support for the Finesse project on laser interferometry in GW detectors.
  • The replacement of the central storage server for high-quality user and project data-enabled consistent data access from all client platforms and discarded obsolete access patterns, which made the whole setup more future-proof.
  • Numerous activities were performed to improve the structural security and logging of ICT systems and to defend against incidental large-scale cyber attacks on our infrastructure.
  • Considerable effort was contributed to the upgrade of the TeamCenter and NX systems.
  • Mobile telephones were rolled out among the scientific, technical and supporting staff, which enabled a significant reduction in the number of obsolete desk telephones deployed.
  • Various activities were performed in support of the renovation of the Nikhef buildings, including design and purchase for new wireless and wired network infrastructures, initial steps towards modern audio/video facilities in meeting rooms and facilitating the moving of workspaces to temporary locations.
  • Structural contribution to the work of the Physics Data Processing group on large-scale computing projects.

Electronics Technology (ET)

TGL Ruud Kluit

Highlights 2021

  • In preparation for the LHC/ATLAS muon detector upgrade in 2025, the phase 2 design of the Data acquisition system “FELIX” has started, using state-of-the-art Xilinx FPGA boards, placed in advanced commercial server computers.
    Engineers from the ET contributed to the development of the firmware ánd coordination of the international team that is responsible for this task. The phase2 design will support  48  front-end data channels (max. 100 Gbps throughput in total), and the design will be evaluated during the preliminary design review in January 2022.
  • ET engineers contributed successfully to the building and testing of the LHC/ATLAS New Small Wheel detector @ CERN with technical support.
  • The new LHC/LHCb Scintillating Fiber detector is being built at CERN with electronics modules designed by the Nikhef team. Many additional mechanical cable support features have been designed, like a complex cable-chain system to enable in-situ movement of the detector modules. The detector should be completed in Q2 2022.
  • For the upgrade of the LHC/ALICE Inner Tracker system (ITS3),  prototype circuits have been designed as Integrated Circuits, these have been tested successfully in 2021 and will be completed for integration in the final Pixel chip.
    In addition, design has started of a new digital configuration circuit and a fast serializer for data readout for the next generation large Monolithic Active Pixel sensor (MAPS) using a 65nm CMOS/imaging technology.
  • IC design engineers from the ET developed together with CERN a more advanced version of the TimePix chip, the TPX4 (~1.5×10^9 transistors!). This pixel chip has a more accurate time measurement resolution (200 ps) and will be used for the evaluation of new sensor developments for future detectors. The ET team contributed to the functionality of fast-timing measurement and designed the fast serial readout circuits (16x 10Gbps, + data coder).
    The first TPX4 arrived in Q1 of 2020, and was now fully tested and found functional after some successful improvements made in 2021.
  • Supplementary to the TPX4 design, a readout system for this chip, SPIDR4, has been developed and produced. The system was used by Nikhef and CERN to test the TPX4 chips. The system is based on programmable hardware, and therefore still in development for additional features, in particular for high-speed readout (80 Gbps).
    The hard- and software development was done in collaboration with Amsterdam Scientific Instruments (ASI) and Nikhef CT.
  • For the KM3NeT experiment, the ET team is responsible for the design and coordination of the optical network. For phase II of the experiment, the optical network is now defined and components are in the procurement process. Detector deployments in the Mediterranean were heavily supported by Nikhef electronics engineers.
    A new White-rabbit switch is ready to be implemented in the detector units for phase II of the experiment, and production & tests are prepared. The detector firmware in the DOM’s is also adapted for the new features.
    Also, the design of a new improved Junction box (optical- and power connection hub) on the seabed is mainly defined by Nikhef e-engineers.
    Dedicated hired ET technicians are working on DOM and DU production, by assembling, integrating and verification of the optical and electrical components in the detector modules, together with MT technicians.
  • As a generic R&D activity, the time-synchronisation system called “White-Rabbit” was developed further. The system/test-board (SPEC7) is tested and in use as a test vehicle. This board will be shared in the community to further explore the capabilities of this technology. Additional hardware was designed for high accuracy timing measurements for component evaluation.
    New W-R developments have started to implement this technology in Virgo and ETpathfinder.
  • A new activity was started for Ptolomy, where extremely small RF signals need to be detected (~26 GHz). A graduation student project demonstrated good capabilities, and further developments were initiated for the Ptolomy experiment.

Mechanical Technology (MT)

TGL Patrick Werneke

Highlights 2021

  • LHCb Vertex Locator (VELO):
    • The Wakefield Suppressor (WFS) was installed at LHCb. Analysis showed that the two halves touched each other. A test setup was built to simulate the movement of the RF foils to show that the contact between the two WFS halves would not cause damage. A cold-welt test, where the installed WFS was kept under high vacuum for five days in a closed state, showed that the two WFS halves came loose without problems. The first LHC test run proved that both RF foils and WFS are installed correctly.
    • Eight silicon modules were produced at Nikhef. Six of the modules were shipped to Liverpool for installation in the detector.
  • LHCb Scintillating Fiber detectors (SciFi):
    • Installation of the Novec vacuum manifold was completed at LHCb.
    • All installation work for the SciFi modules was completed at CERN. One-half of the detector was installed underground and the second half is undergoing final testing.
  • ATLAS Strip Endcap (ITk):
    • The wheels were produced from the Inner and Outer Rings, Blades and Locking Points. The deformation of the Wheels was validated. The final machining of the wheels is outsourced and the first two Wheels are machined.
    • The Stiffener Disks have been produced and machining has been outsourced.
    • The Inner Cylinders were delivered.
    • 1/6th of the full Endcap for the system test is designed and being produced.
  • ETpathfinder:
    • The first shipments from Italy of the Vacuum Towers have arrived and installation at the University of Maastricht has started.
    • The 4500 mm tall large Inverted Pendulum prototype has been successfully installed at Nikhef and is ready for testing.
    • An article by a former intern (Vera Erends) has been featured as a blogpost on the COMSOL website.
  • LISA
    • The first QPD housing and electronics have been designed and produced to test EMI shielding performance up to 18 Ghz in a joint venture with the Albert Einstein Institute, SRON and the University of Glasgow.
    • A thermal-stable housing has been designed and is ready for production. On this prototype the environmental tests can be performed.
  • KM3NeT:
    • 120 DOM’s in total have been produced for ORCA and ARCA.
    • Eight ORCA DU’s have been produced of which four were successfully deployed.