Technical groups 2019

Computer Technology

TGL Ronald Starink

Highlights 2019

  • Development of a system to generate network load for performance tests of high-speed networks. This setup is the only known system taht is capable of generating more than 1 billion network packets per second. The load generator is needed to measure the performance of next generation networks between Nikhef and CERN with bandwidths above 400 Gb/s, which will be used for the transport of data from the HL-LHC.
  • Software development for the controls of the SciFi detector, for the readout of the new SPIDR4 chips, for the Felix system for Atlas and for the KM3NeT detection units.
  • First steps towards continuous integration in software development based on Gitlab, to facilitate collaboration between individual software developers and to help the detection of integration bugs in an early stage of development.
  • Deployment of a new high-performance storage solution, which was designed together with various hardware vendors. The solution can reach a performance of 300 Gb/s while concurrently reading from and writing to disk, which makes it well-suited for the analysis of large-volumes of physics data.

Electronics Technology (ET)

TGL Ruud Kluit

Highlights 2019:

  • In preparation for the ATLAS muon detector upgrade, phase 1 of the new Data acquisition system “FELIX”  is designed and ready to be used. The FELIX system is based on a custom PCIe board, using a state-of-the-art Xilinx FPGA, placed in industrial PC’s. The ET contributed in the development of the firmware and coordination of the international  team that is responsible for this task.
  • The new LHCb Scintillating Fiber detector is being built at CERN now that the design, qualification and production of the sub-components is finished.
    Nikhef ET has successfully delivered data-concentrator boards (>700) to CERN that have been produced and tested by a Dutch company. In addition the critical cable routing is designed and realized by the ET.
  • For Detector R&D purposes, Nikhef ET developed together with CERN a more advanced version of the TimePix chip, TPX4 (~1.5×109 transistors !). This pixelchip has a more accurate time measurement resolution (200ps) and will be used for many new detector developments. The TPX4 went in production in Q4 2019, and is expected to return for tests in Q1 2020.
    The ET team contributed in the design of the functionality of fast timing measurement, and fast serial readout circuits (16x 10Gbps, +data coder) and final verification.
  • Supplementary to the TPX4 design, a readout system for this chip, SPIDR4, has been developed and produced. The hardware is delivered and is under test with new software. It is ready to be available before the TimePix4 chip arrives from production.
    The hard- and software development was done in strong collaboration with Amsterdam Scientific Instruments (ASI) and Nikhef CT.
  • In order to measure vibrations (noise) in seismic background for gravitational wave experiments (Virgo/Einstein-telescope), a next version of a MEMS sensor readout chip has been designed and is sent for production. It is expected to return in Q1 2020 for evaluation, test facilities have been designed and are in production too.
  • In the Km3Net experiment, timing measurement is a major item for the particle track reconstruction. Therefore a White-Rabbit based technology was implemented, and this is now extended in the design up to the Digital Optical Modules (DOM). A New network switch was designed to be implemented extension in the Detection Units (DU) on the seabed. The ET team is responsible for design and coordination of the optical network.
    In addition to this, new parts have been assembled, produced  and qualified for the production of DU’s for Km3Net, for the ORCA and ARCA sections of the experiment.
  • Related to Km3Net, more R&D work was done to improve absolute calibration methods to be able to enable “easy” utilisation of a White-Rabbit technology in other applications.. The results were published and presented (paper) at the International IEEE Symposium on Precision Clock Synchronization for Measurement, Control, and Communication (ISPCS 2019). This paper received the “Best paper award”, again as in 2018.
    In addition in 2019 IEEE approved the White-Rabbit technology as an extension to standard IEEE-1588. The ET contributed to the CERN development on this.
  • In order to facilitate implementation of White Rabbit in other applications, a “generic” PC board (PCIe) was designed and produced (SPEC7). This board will be shared in the community to further explore the capabilities of this technology. It has improved specifications related to the previous version (CERN SPEC board). This was done in collaboration with CERN and is part of the EMPIR-WRITE project.
  • For the next upgrade of the Virgo experiment are new electronic parts produced and delivered.

Mechanical Technology

TGL Patrick Werneke

Highlights 2019:

  • LHCb Vertex Locator (VELO):
    ·         Production of the four RF boxes was completed
    ·         De-installation of the old VELO at CERN
  • LHCb Scintillating Fiber detectors (SciFi):
    ·         All of the 290 Cold Boxes were produced.
    ·         At CERN almost 100 modules have been assembled and installation on the C-frame has started
  • ALICE Inner Tracker (ITS):
    ·         Production of the 25 staves was completed.
  • ATLAS Strip Endcap (ITk):
    ·         The Endcap ITk passed its Production Readiness Review (PRR).
  • ETpathfinder:
    ·         Conceptional Design of the ETpathfinder was made
  • KM3NeT:
    ·         Together with Hogeschool Windesheim a redesign of the PMT Support was made. Now the PMT Support can be injection molded
    ·         Preparation for Phase 2 production was completed.
  • Pierre Auger:
    ·         Production of 180 SSD modules was completed.
  • eEDM
    ·         Manufacturing of the Cosinus Coil
    ·         Machining of several titanium vacuum parts
    ·         Machining of several teflon parts for the TPC.