IIT-Madras to host dedicated Silicon Detector R&D and application centre


This will aid in upgrading Detector for CMS experiment, known worldwide for discovery of Higgs boson

Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras is going to host a dedicated Silicon Detector Research & Development and Application Centre. It is intended to aid in upgrading the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) Detector.

CMS experiment, known worldwide for the discovery of Higgs boson, is one of the largest international scientific collaborations in history, involving more than 3,500 scientists, engineers, and students from 202 institutes in 47 countries.

Towards this, IIT-Madras hosted an India-CMS collaboration meeting from 4th to 6th August 2017, with more than 80 delegates taking part. IIT-Madras hosted the India-CMS Collaboration meeting for the first time.

Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, inaugurated the meeting on 5th August 2017, along with Prof. V. Subramanian, Acting Head, Department of Physics, IIT-Madras. During this meeting, all the collaborating institutes reviewed the progress till now and discussed the plans for future activities in the CMS Experiment
IIT-Madras (the only IIT which is a full member of CMS experiment) joined India-CMS as well as the CMS collaboration at Geneva, Switzerland as a full member in 2014. IIT-Madras is offering a summer internship at CERN for undergraduate students since 2015.

According to Prof. Prafulla Kumar Behera, Associate Professor, Department of Physics, IIT-Madras, who leads CMS initiative in the Institute, “The main purpose of this centre is to effectively work with Indian collaborating institutes to build a ‘2000 silicon detector module’ that will be part of CMS detector at CERN.”

The estimated cost of setting up the centre is around Rs. 6 crore. Around half of the project cost is expected to be funded by CERN for the equipment with the rest coming from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The support of IIT-Madras alumni would also be sought in this undertaking. The modalities are still being worked out.

The Centre will purchase advanced machine tools such as 6-axis micro-abrasive waterjet machine tool to be part of the laboratory. They will be first-of-its-kind in India and would help the country’s manufacturing sector to do cutting-edge research.

“It would also contribute to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make-in-India’ campaign as these advanced equipment would boost the manufacturing sector in India. The Advanced Characterization Facilities for Silicon Sensor will also be part of this centre,” says Prof. Prafulla Kumar Behera.

The funds are expected to be released by early 2018 and the Centre is slated to be operational by end of 2018.

The Silicon sensor has several potential spinoff applications such as coming up with better medical imaging that will aid the Indian healthcare sector.

The IIT-Madras-CMS Group will have three faculties, one postdoctoral student, six doctoral students and six Undergraduate/Master students. Once the laboratory becomes operational, several technical staff would also be recruited.

IIT-Madras has two of its departments (Physics and Mechanical) working for CMS detector upgrade at the moment. There is a possibility of others, such as the Departments of Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, joining this centre. They would contribute to detector upgrade as well as data mining activities at CERN.

India became an associate member of CERN in 2016 and it opens opportunity for the country to be a collaborator at CERN.

Indian physicists have been part of the research collaboration from the beginning and contributed to the detector development, computing and data analysis. India-CMS collaboration has nine full member institutes (BARC, TIFR, SINP, NISER, PU, DU, IIT Madras, IISc and IISER Pune)) and has about 45 faculties and same number of Ph.D. students.