Wits makes first hardware contribution to CERN ATLAS experiment

05 September 2013 - 13:02 By Times LIVE
Robert Reed with his high volage board.
Robert Reed with his high volage board.
Image: University of the Witwatersrand

Robert Reed, a PhD student at the University of the Witwatersrand, designed a high voltage board that has become South Africa's first contribution of a "piece of hardware" to the ATLAS Experiment on the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization of Nuclear Research (CERN).

Reed's board will be used to to produce high voltage reliably and accurately.

"On the ATLAS detector you have these drawers of electronics that do all the filtering of the raw data that comes out of the detector. These electronics have to be verified and checked before the LHC starts-up in 2015. The new mobile testing equipment basically is a mobile box which the detector maintenance people will use to connect to the detector which would run the test on this drawer of electronics," Reed explained.

The board is proof "that we in South Africa can deliver with similar standards as our European counterparts.", according to Professor Bruce Mellado from the newly established High Energy Physics Group.

"It is also not only an academic exercise, but a real product that will be used for real detector maintenance of the ATLAS detector," Mellado said.

The Large Hadron Collider will be back online in 2015. It shut down in February for a two year maintanance and upgrade programme to improve the amount of energy it uses to smash protons together.