Technical groups 2020

Computer Technology (CT)

TGL Ronald Starink

Highlights 2020

  • The software development for the controls of the new Timepix 4 chip reached the point where for the first time control and data exchange with the chip was possible.
  • Continued 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.
  • A test setup for the ATLAS MDT Barrel Alignment system was prepared at Nikhef and shipped to the University of Michigan, where it was installed and configured with remote assistance from Nikhef. This setup will be used in the production of small MDT (sMDT) chambers for phase II of the ATLAS upgrade.
  • Starting software infrastructure support for the new Finesse project.
  • Setup of a submit node for LIGO, which enables submission of LIGO computing jobs to the Grid cluster.
  • Enhancing Nikhef’s Gitlab service with a Mattermost chat service and a Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment setup.
  • Further automation of the system administration for Linux servers, which helped in the reinstallation of servers running Scientific Linux CERN 6 with CentOS 7.
  • Deployment of a modern webmail system.
  • Start of a pilot rollout of Windows 10 laptops that are remotely managed by the CT department instead.
  • Deployment of new compute servers for the Theory department, a new compute cluster for the ATLAS and Theory groups as well as a new computer cluster equipped with AMD GPUs in collaboration SurfSARA.

Electronics Technology (ET)

TGL Ruud Kluit

Highlights 2020

  • In preparation for the ATLAS muon detector upgrade, phase 1 of the new Data acquisition system “FELIX” is finished and the boards are produced and in use.
    The FELIX system is based on a custom PCIe board, using a state-of-the-art Xilinx FPGA, placed in industrial PC’s.
    Engineers from the ET contributed in the development of the firmware and coordination of the international team that is responsible for this task. In early 2020 the team switched to the design of Phase II, FELIX with more channels and higher throughput (2025).
  • ET engineers contributed to the building and testing of the ATLAS New Small Wheel detector @ CERN with technical support.
  • The new LHCb Scintillating Fiber detector is being built at CERN using all produced electronics modules. Many additional mechanical support features have been designed, like a complex cable-chain system to enable in-situ movement of the detector modules.
  • IC design engineers from the ET developed together with CERN a more advanced version of the TimePix chip, the TPX4 (~1.5×109 transistors!). This pixel chip has a more accurate time measurement resolution (200ps) and will be used for the evaluation of new detector developments.
    The TPX4 arrived in Q1 2020, was tested with some issues solved and is now ready for final production in 2021.
    The ET team contributed to the design of the functionality of fast timing measurement, and fast serial readout circuits (16x 10Gbps, +data coder) and final verification.
  • For the upgrade of the ALICE Inner Tracker system first prototype circuits have been designed as Integrated Circuits (IC, 4 devices) and are in production.
  • 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 hard- and software development was done in collaboration with Amsterdam Scientific Instruments (ASI) and Nikhef CT.
  • In order to measure seismic background vibrations (noise) in gravitational wave experiments (Virgo/Einstein-telescope), an improved design of the MEMS sensor readout chip has been designed. It is expected to arrive at Nikhef in early 2021 for evaluation.
  • 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. A new White-rabbit switch is ready to be implemented in the detector units for phase II of the experiment
    ET technicians contributed to the DOM and DU production by taking care of integrating and verification of the optical and electrical components in the detector modules.
  • As a generic R&D activity work was done to improve absolute calibration methods for the time synchronisation system called “White-Rabbit”.
    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. This work was done in collaboration with CERN and is part of the EMPIR-WRITE project.

Mechanical Technology (MT)

TGL Patrick Werneke

Highlights 2020

  • LHCb Vertex Locator (VELO):
    • The two RF-boxes were successfully installed at CERN
    • Production of silicon modules was started.
  • LHCb Scintillating Fiber detectors (SciFi):
    • The production and repair of Cold Boxes and Top Covers were completed.
    •  Due to Covid-19 the installation work has been put on hold. It will continue in 2021
  • ATLAS Strip Endcap (ITk):
    • The Inner and Outer Rings were produced. The Blades which are needed to form a Wheel have been procured.
    • Test system for CO2 cooling has been produced and shipped to CERN for further testing.
  • Advanced Virgo:
    • Nikhef has finished the vibration isolation systems for the frequency-dependent squeezer of Advanced Virgo Plus (AdV+). They include two MultiSAS bench suspensions to hold optical telescopes, and two newly designed vacuum towers housing the suspensions of the squeezing cavity mirrors.
    • The 300m long Nikhef-designed vacuum pipe housing the cavity beam has been installed at Virgo.
  • ETpathfinder:
    • The design of the Vacuum Towers was completed and procurement initiated.
    • The first prototype of ETPathfinder mirror suspension assembled and ready to be tested in vacuo at Nikhef. The production of parts was a joint effort of workshops at VU, RWTH (Aachen), VUB (Brussels) and Nikhef.
  • KM3NeT:
    • The DOM and DU production has been moved from the Nikhef building to the PiMu building. Preparation for Phase 2 production was completed.
    • Phase 2 production started and approximately 60 DOM’s out of 370 DOM’s and one string out of 20 were produced.
    • The first phase-2 ORCA DU was delivered to CPPM for deployment preparation.