Stefan Spanier, an associate professor in the Department of Physics, is a member of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) team that ended its first record-setting run of high-energy proton collisions during the first week of November. The LHC—the largest and highest-energy particle accelerator in the world—smashes protons just shy of the speed of light to recreate conditions in the universe a fraction of a second after the Big Bang. Physicists hope the experiments carried out with the LHC will help answer fundamental questions such as the dimensionality of the universe, the makeup of dark matter, and the existence of the Higgs boson.
The LHC is configured in an enormous ring, 17 miles in circumference, with experiments built along its powerful beamline. One of those is the Compact Muon Solenoid, a large, general-purpose particle physics detector where Spanier, a member of the Compact Muon Solenoid Collaboration, is working on the development of diamond pixel detectors. (Pixel detectors are sensitive devices that can track the patterns of charged particles.)
In September, the Compact Muon Solenoid Collaboration announced that some of the particles produced by proton collisions were related in a way not seen before. The group is collecting more data to analyze these findings, which show the LHC’s potential to uncover the properties of fundamental particles.
Spanier earned a Ph.D. at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. He joined the physics faculty at UTK in 2002. He has authored or co-authored over 500 publications.
Selected Publications/News Releases
Submitted to the Journal of High Energy Physics
Results from a beam test of a prototype PLT diamond pixel telescope
R. Hall-Wilton et al.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A
doi:10.1016./j.nima.2010.04.097 (in press)
Khachatryan V, Sirunyan AM, Tumasyan A, et al.
PHYSICS LETTERS B Volume: 692 Issue: 2 Pages: 83-104 Published: AUG 23 2010
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