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Timing Properties of T0 Detectors At PHOBOS. Saba Zuberi, Erik Johnson , Nazim Khan, Frank Wolfs, Wojtek Skulski University of Rochester. OUTLINE. Brief introduction to PHOBOS Particle ID and why the timing properties of T0s are important? Time of Flight (TOF) Detector

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Timing properties of t0 detectors at phobos

Timing Properties of T0 Detectors At PHOBOS

Saba Zuberi,

Erik Johnson, Nazim Khan, Frank Wolfs, Wojtek Skulski

University of Rochester


  • Brief introduction to PHOBOS

  • Particle ID and why the timing properties of T0s are important?

  • Time of Flight (TOF) Detector

  • Dependence of timing resolution on voltage and position of incident particles

  • Results

  • Summary

Rhic little big bang on long island
RHIC :‘Little’ Big Bang on Long Island

  • Two rings 2.4 miles long.

  • Collisions of Au-Au, d-Au and p-p studied.

  • Ions have energies of up to 100GeV/nucleon for Au and 250GeV/nucleon for p.

  • Bunches of billions of particles travel with speeds up to 0.99995c.

  • Matter formed in head on collisions reaches temperatures of 1012 oC in region of diameter 10-14m.

Rhic physics goals
RHIC Physics Goals

  • At “everyday” energies the basic building blocks of matter, quarks and gluons are confined in hadronic matter.

  • At RHIC energies, quarks and gluons become deconfined and the formation of Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP) is potentially possible. QGP is believed to have existed microseconds after the Big Bang.

  • New phase of matter is expected to last for ~ 10-23sec.

  • Hadrons, such as K, p, p, produced in collision are detected.

  • Properties of expected phase transition of matter inferred from particles produced.

    PHOBOS Physics Aim: To investigate properties of hadron

    production at extreme energy densities.

Particle id and time of flight
Particle ID and Time Of Flight

  • Low momentum particles (eg.pp<55MeV/c, pK<135MeV/c)

    • Stopped in Spectrometer arms.

    • Identified from dE/dx and ETOT.

  • Higher momentum particles

    • Enter magnetic field and momentum measured.

    • Identified from dE/dx and p

      (eg. p/K separation: 0.6GeV/c)

  • High momentum particles

    • Reach the TOF walls.

    • Momentum and TOF allows mass of particle to be calculated.

Timing properties of t0 detectors at phobos

Extension of Particle ID to High Momentum Region

TOF detector extends particle ID to higher momentum region.

  • Timing Resolution, sTOF, of TOF must be smaller than the difference in the time-of-flight in order to distinguish between particles of different mass with same momentum.

  • Timing resolution of TOF, sTOF, limits momentum range of particle identification.

  • Require timing resolution of TOF, sTOF=100ps.

With TOF: p/K separation: 0.6GeV/c to 1.2GeV, K/p separation: 1.2Gev/c to 2GeV (L=1.7m,sTOF=100ps)

Determining time of flight

T0 counters determine time of collision

TOF Wall determines time of arrival.

Accuracy of arrival time and collision time measurements determine sTOF.

Determining Time-of-Flight

Tof walls

Each TOF wall consists of 120 scintillation slats 0.8x0.8x20cm3, coupled to two PMTs (top and bottom).

Position of incident particles is determined and allows spectrometer tracks to be matched with TOF hits.

Cerenkov radiators, 50mm in diameter, coupled to fast PMTs.

Cerenkov radiation is produced when charged particles in a medium have a velocity faster than the speed of light in that medium.

Ten detectors in a ring on either side of collision point.

Can determine the collision point to within 50mm.

T0 Detectors

TOF Walls

T0 Counters installed at RHIC

TOF Wall installed at RHIC

Photomultiplier tubes
Photomultiplier Tubes 0.8x0.8x20cm

  • PMT:

    • Photoelectron is emitted when cathode is struck by photon.

    • Dynode chain accelerates and amplifies current as secondary electrons are emitted

    • Final signal collected from anode.

  • PMT Time Resolution depends on :

    • Variation in transit time of electrons through tube

    • Fluctuations due to statistical noise.

  • Gain is the amplification factor of the PMT.

  • Gain depends on number of dynodes in chain and a secondary emission factor. G=KVn


T0 detector

Dependence of t0 timing resolution on supply voltage

For larger supply voltage, T0 detectors have larger gain and provide larger signals.

Expect timing resolution, sTO to improve with increased voltage.

To avoid saturation of PMTs operate at as low a voltage as possible without sacrificing sTO.

Determine dependence of T0 timing resolution, sTO on supply voltage and optimum operating voltage.

Dependence of T0 Timing Resolution on Supply Voltage

Dependence of T0 Timing Resolution on Position of Incident Particles

  • Possible non-uniformity due to:

    • Cerenkov radiator

    • Optical grease coupling the radiator to the PMT

    • Geometry of T0 detector

  • This may lead to variation in sTO depending on position of incidence.

Experimental setup

Timing properties were studied using cosmic rays. provide larger signals.

Two 0.8x0.8x0.8cm3 plastic scintillating detectors used to confine position of incidence and provide start time in timing measurements.

Supply voltage of the start detectors is kept constant and T0 voltage is varied.

Position scan conducted in two ways:

Diameter Scan

Circumference Scan

The vertical distance between the detectors remained constant.

Experimental Setup

Result timing resolution vs supply voltage

Timing resolution improves with increased voltage up to -2700V.

At -2700V achieved a 55ps resolution.

The testing system has an intrinsic resolution of ~50ps.

Result: Timing Resolution vs. Supply Voltage

Result timing resolution vs position of incident particles

No significant variation in T0 timing resolution was observed either across the diameter of the detector, or around its circumference.

Result: Timing Resolution vs. Position of Incident particles

Circumference Scan

Diameter Scan


The timing resolution of the TOF subsystem limits the particle id capabilities in high momentum region.

The T0 timing resolution is found to have little dependence on the position of incident particles.

Verified that the most effective operating voltage for the T0s is -2700V, where sT0 = 55ps.

Beyond –2700V the supply voltage does not influence the timing resolution of the T0 counters.