LHCb has two RICH detectors for identifying hadronic particles created in p-p collisions at the LHC. These detectors are being upgraded to collect data at a readout rate of 40 MHz and to cope with a fivefold increase in occupancies expected from the beam conditions in LHCb during the HL-LHC time period.
The first phase of this upgrade is being completed and the new detector system will be commissioned for RUN3 during the next couple of years. This will use MaPMTs as photon detectors. Simulations have shown that signal-time gating can reduce the backgrounds and improve the particle identification performance. Hence the readout is expected to have a signal time-gating at the level of a few nanoseconds, and this will be an unprecedented feature of the LHCb readout.
The R&D for a second major upgrade has started. Simulations show that the RICH designed for phase1 upgrade will have occupancies exceeding 100% in phase2 upgrade beam conditions. In order to avoid this, one needs to record both time and space coordinates of single photons with much better precision than what is foreseen for RUN3. This will include testing new radiators, improving the optical configuration and developing novel photon detectors with fast timing at the level of about 100 picoseconds. This has been motivated by recent advances in SiPM technology. Such photon detectors may need to be operated at cryogenic temperatures for detecting single photons. This development will also require upgraded versions of readout chips such the 'CLARO' or 'TimePix4', along with advances in the digital readout system.
The project plan for the student would be to expand on the simulation studies and to validate the results using tests on prototypes. The student will be expected to have an aptitude for software development using C++ and will be working on the hardware for a modern data acquisition system. The laboratory facilities for performing various tests are expected to be available at CERN and there is already a setup at CERN dedicated to the verification of the readout timing for RUN3. Further validations will be done using beam tests on prototypes at a later stage.The student will be integrated with a small team working at CERN and Cambridge on this project.