November 19, 2004  


Klaisner Hosts Fermilab Event

By Davide Castelvecchi

Lowell Klaisner (GLAST) traveled to Fermilab where he was joined by Tom Johnson (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) on November 8. The purpose of the trip was to celebrate the successful completion of a key component of the Large Area Telescope (LAT), the main instrument of the Gamma Ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST).

Lowell Klaisner (Photo by Diana Rogers)

When in orbit about three years from now, GLAST will be the most powerful eye ever cast on the gamma ray sky—essentially a small, flying replica of the heart of a detector like BABAR.

A Fermilab team led by Phyllis Deering (FNAL) manufactured and tested scintillator tiles, which wrap around the LAT’s main detector and pick up the faint flashes produced by the passage of charged particles. Such signals tell the telescope that an event was not a gamma ray but a cosmic ray, so the on-board electronics should ignore it and weed it out as noise. The scintillators are arrays of optical fibers that pick up the light and funnel it to photo-multiplier tubes.

"We’re very appreciative. This is the first component of the LAT to be completed," said Klaisner, project manager for the SLAC-based LAT.

Following NASA’s specifications was especially challenging, Deering said, because of the limited room available inside the probe. Johnson said Fermilab was chosen for this project because of their experience with manufacturing similar components for two Tevatron detectors, the Minos neutrino detector and the CMS detector for the LHC. Johnson called the routing of the tiles’ optical fibers a ‘work of art.’ "Your technical knowledge, skills and abilities really provided a super product to us," he said.



The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is managed by Stanford University for the US Department of Energy

Last update Wednesday November 17, 2004 by Emily Ball