Columbia University

Columbia University Group

Members of the Columbia ATLAS team, photographed at CERN on October 8/2008. Pictured, from left to right, are: (back row) Evan Wulf, Kerstin Perez, Alex Penson, Heather Gray, and David Lopez Mateos; (middle row) John Parsons, Mark Cooke, Emlyn Hughes, Mike Tuts, Gustaaf Brooijmans, and Zach Marshall; (front row) Kathy Copic, Lidija Zivkovic, Seth Caughron, and Francesco Spano. Absent are Thomas Gadfort, Valeria Perez Reale, Dustin Urbaniec, Eric Williams, and Ning Zhou.
Image courtesy of Columbia University

Columbia University (Nevis Laboratories) was a member of the initial group of US institutions that petitioned the US Department of Energy and National Science Foundation to support US participation in LHC experiments. We joined the ATLAS experiment in 1994.  The original Columbia ATLAS group, led by Profs. Bill Willis and John Parsons, has grown to include 4 faculty members (Gustaaf Brooijmans, Emlyn Hughes, John Parsons, Mike Tuts), 5 postdocs (Kathy Copic, Thomas Gadfort, Valeria Perez Reale, Francesco Spano, Lidija Zivkovic), and 11 graduate students (Seth Caughron, Mark Cooke, Heather Gray, David Lopez Mateos, Zach Marshall, Alex Penson, Kerstin Perez, Dustin Urbaniec, Eric Williams, Evan Wulf, Ning Zhou).

FEB large photo
Photograph of one FEB, with many of its components (including custom radiation-tolerant integrated circuits) labelled.  Image courtesy of Columbia University
Columbia has played from the beginning a central role in the management of the overall US contribution to ATLAS, with Prof. Bill Willis serving as the US ATLAS Project Manager during the construction phase of the experiment, and Prof. Mike Tuts taking over as the first Research Program Manager during the ongoing ATLAS operations phase.

An early focus of the group was the ATLAS liquid argon (LAr) calorimeter system.  We were involved throughout the specification, design, and construction phases, and played in particular a leading role in the development of the state-of-the-art readout electronics.  At Nevis Labs, we developed and produced the over 1600 Front End Boards (FEBs) used to read out the LAr calorimeters, an effort that included developing several different custom radiation-tolerant integrated circuits.  The group then contributed extensively to the installation and commissioning of the electronics, and continues to be responsible for the ongoing maintenance and operations. More recently, the Columbia group has become involved in the commissioning of the pixel detector, including setting up and operating several test stations and contributing to the challenging pixel data acquisition system.

John Parsons
Prof. John Parsons in front of the ATLAS detector, with one of the endcap calorimeter cryostats visible in the background.  The FEBs produced by Columbia are installed in the (gold-colored) crates mounted around the outside radius of the (silver colored) cryostat. Image courtesy of Columbia University

The group's primary physics interests lie in the broadly defined area of Beyond the Standard Model (BSM) physics.  Members of the group are approaching this from a variety of angles, including direct searches for Supersymmetry or other exotic phenomena, utilizing the study of top quarks to probe for BSM physics, investigations of various final state topologies to search for deviations from the Standard Model, etc.  Our preparations for physics analysis include contributions to a wide variety of efforts aimed at optimizing and understanding the detector performance, including for electrons, photons, muons, jets, and missing transverse energy.