CORDIS - EU research results

Training for cAreer deveLopment in high-radiation ENvironment Technologies

Final Report Summary - TALENT (Training for cAreer deveLopment in high-radiation ENvironment Technologies)

TALENT stands for “Training for cAreer deveLopment in high-radiation ENvironment Technologies”. Launched in January 2012 for four years by a collaboration of three research centres, seven universities and eight industrial partners and led by CERN, this Marie Curie Initial Training Network had the overall objective of building up the careers of young researchers in the field of instrumentation for future tracking detectors. The test bed for TALENT’s researchers has been the development of the Insertable B-Layer (IBL) sub-detector of ATLAS.

ATLAS is a particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN that is searching for new discoveries in the head-on collisions of protons of extraordinarily high energy. ATLAS will learn about the basic constituents and forces that have shaped our Universe since the beginning of time. The ATLAS detector records the results of the collisions in six different detecting subsystems arranged in layers around the collision point. They record the paths, momentum, and energy of the particles, allowing them to be individually identified.

The ATLAS pixel detector is the largest pixel-based system at the LHC. With about 80 million pixels, until now it has covered a radius from 12 cm down to 5 cm from the interaction point. At its conception, the Collaboration already thought that it could be updated after a few years of operation. The IBL is a new, fourth and innermost layer for the ATLAS pixel detector. This innovative detector is a tiny cylinder that is about 3 cm in radius and about 70 cm long but provides the ATLAS experiment with another 12 million detection channels that significantly enhances its performance.

The researchers participating in TALENT (a combination of pre- and post-doctoral physicists and engineers) were involved in the development of three different types of radiation-hard pixel sensor – 3D silicon, planar silicon and diamond sensors. During the project lifetime, first investigations were also made towards novel radiation hard CMOS-based sensors, which combine the depleted silicon sensor and signal processing electronics inside the same CMOS chip. VLSI front-end electronics developed in CMOS 130nm process provide the sensor readout and enable fast data transfer. The integration of completed detector modules with off-detector power and data acquisition electronics as well as real-time software completed the development of pixel detector systems tailored to scientific and industrial use. As such the developed technologies serve not only high-energy physics tracking detectors but also provide high performance solutions for imaging, beam monitoring and tomography.

Moreover, TALENT researchers have contributed to developing the IBL’s new read-out system, as well as lighter mechanics and an innovative CO2-based cooling systems. The ATLAS IBL developments serve as a technology step towards future radiation detectors in high radiation environments like CERN’s High Luminosity Large Hadron Collider upgrade, the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) research facility in Germany, the experimental fusion reactor ITER in France, the European Spallation Source in Sweden or the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France. TALENT has proven the most relevant technologies for future tracking detectors and demonstrated their viability with the construction of a fully integrated and functional detector system.

Alongside the development of high-performance detector technologies, TALENT was also involved in finding industrial applications for them. By collaborating closely with economics students from the University of Economics, Vienna, Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the TALENT team was able to design comprehensive business plans for the most promising commercial spin-offs of these new key enabling technologies. TALENT ESRs combined their technology expertise with business-related education, while TALENT partners explored the market potential of their technology and develop ideas for new applications. Examples are Integration of Photoarrays with CiS (Germany), Through Silicon Vias technologies and applications with Fraunhofer IZM (Germany), and Diamond Beam Monitors with Cividec (Austria).

Several ESRs also did their PhD during TALENT with universities around Europe who were also involved in this exciting research programme.

TALENT has made important contributions to communicate and disseminate the project results, with the ESRs attending about 100 events in 4 years.

Thanks to the Marie Curie funding of TALENT, the combination of multi-disciplinary activities, training in technical and soft skills, as well as access to world-leading experts, has set the researchers up well for their future careers.