Danny is from Lancaster University and his work focussed on the Pixel endcaps which sit at either end of the inner tracker (ITK) or as he described it “the bit closest to where the magic happens” in the ATLAS detector.
A clash in schedules meant I didn’t get a chance to sit down and make notes on his work with the express purpose of writing this article, he therefore sent over a summary of the 8 weeks - a word document he titled “Memoirs of a LabVIEW victim”.
Part of the endcap construction involves attaching silicon pixel modules to carbon fibre rings. Glue is dispensed through a needle onto the endcap for the pixel to be stuck down but the process is done manually which takes time and can result in damage to the sensor. Danny’s project was to automate this process but he had three things in his way: the needles used to dispense glue are very inconsistently sized, the calibration process was taking so long that glue cured in the syringe, there was no automatic way of finding the right height for the needle to deposit glue and the needle really needed to not be stabbed through the surface. All of which could best be fixed using his best friend labview. So all in all not a good time here? Wrong.
Despite frustration with programs, equipment and calibration, all dealt with through a steady flow of sarcasm, he says it has been “a fantastic experience”.
“Aside from learning a great deal about coding (new languages: LabVIEW, C++), automation (interfacing with hardware using code), particle detector physics and the way research is conducted, I have developed many important personal skills, such as working as part of a large collaboration, communication, working to a deadline, presenting to a room full of people more intelligent than me. All the staff members here have been wonderful to work with and have not only helped me with my internships but also with advice on PhD applications, life as a PhD student and many other things to do with a future in research; this has been extremely valuable for me and I’m now much clearer on how to achieve what I want to do. Finally, it has set me up with some very useful contacts for advice and help in the future, which will be vital during my PhD applications.”
And I promise he wasn’t paid to say this.
Supervisors: Ben Smart & John Matheson
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