Birmingham Experimental Particle Physics Capital Equipment Round 2016

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: School of Physics and Astronomy


Capital equipment funded in part by STFC is requested to support the rapidly growing thread of R&D towards new semiconductor detector technologies, which have very wide-ranging relevance, from mobile phone cameras to medicine to fundamental physics. The award underpins a major strategic Birmingham University investment of staff and resources in this area, and in particular supports the Birmingham Instrumentation Laboratory for Particle physics and its Applications (BILPA). The basic equipment requested includes an ultrasonic wire bonder, a semi-automatic semiconductor probe station, a mixed-mode oscilloscope, an edge Transient Current Technique laser system and a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) server. The equipment is essential to establish and maintain a vibrant, active and generic detector R&D programme in Birmingham, which will help the UK grow its leadership a rapidly developing, high tech field.

Planned Impact

The group's work generates high impact to society in general, to the physics community and through our knowledge transfer activities. The BILPA laboratory is particularly relevant in the latter case, notably through its involvement in the PRaVDA project, applying particle physics tracking detectors to proton beam radiotherapy. We have also had collaborations with local industry, developing high temperature-tolerant electronics and hybrids with partners Aero Engine Controls and also with other academics in departments ranging from Electronic Engineering to Neuroscience.

The group is internationally leading in its outreach work, introducing particle physics to wide audiences of both the general public and school students. For the general public, the impact is at a cultural level: people are ever more curious to understand the basic building blocks of nature and their imagination is captured by the LHC more than by any previous scientific endeavour. Our work with schools helps to engage students in science in exciting ways. As is by now well documented for example by the IOP, the effects of the high profile developed through particle physics outreach work has a measurable effect on numbers of students applying to study physics at University.


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