2015 Annual Report - SMU

The report is in the attachment

How long-baseline neutrino experiments, like MINOS, analyze detector data to extract neutrino oscillation parameters

2015 Summer QuarkNet MINOS Research Project

Theodore Baker (Walnut Hills High School)
Panos Manganaris (Anderson High School)
Mentor Alex Sousa

The purpose of my research this summer was to understand how long-baseline neutrino experiments, like MINOS, analyze detector data to extract neutrino oscillation parameters. By utilizing the ROOT Data Analysis Framework, I first learned basic properties and differences of different types of neutrino interactions through Monte Carlo (simulated) data. Neutrinos interact with other subatomic particles through the weak force. Charged current (CC) interactions occur when a neutrino of any flavor converts to its partner charged lepton (e.g.) through exchange of a boson. Neutral Current (NC) interactions take place when a neutrino interacts with a Z0boson yet does not convert into a charged lepton. Unlike CC events observed in the detector, NC events all look the same no matter the neutrino flavor and therefore are insensitive to neutrino oscillations and are removed from the oscillation analysis. I developed a selection method based on the event length of separate NC and CC events. I then fit the MINOS data reconstructed energy spectrum to a Monte Carlo spectrum oscillated with different sets of values for the oscillation parameters. The best-fit value for sin( Ø23 ) is almost 1 and the best-fit parameter for Δm2/23 is 0.0022, closely matching the MINOS published results. The study of these neutrino oscillations could potentially help us solve the long-standing puzzle of matter-antimatter asymmetry.




Identifying signal and background events in decay channels of D*+

2015 Summer Quarknet LHCb Research Project

Akshansh Gupta (Walnut Hills High School)
Bridget Sypniewski (Mount Notre Dame High School)
Mentor Mike Sokoloff

The purpose of the LHCb work we did was to find signal regions and values from unedited, unclean information sets of different type of particle decays. Several decays were looked at and evaluated throughout the program, including Lambda decays, Dbar decays, and Dstar decays, and multiple Dplus decays. Information on these decays was supplied from LHC. In these decays, there were different intensities of entries. Consistent underlying intensity could be regarded as background, while intensity that peaked particularly high in only a specific location was regarded as signal. The goal for each situation was to find a signal in this information, and to reduce the amount of background so that the signal could be clearly seen and defined, however, in the process of reducing the background, in order to avoid losing any signal value, on occasion, background was still left in the final product.  For each decay, several variables were used, such as flight distance and lifetime. These were often used to help discriminate between signal and background on the mass, and occasionally, vice versa. Evaluations were done through the use of TMVA analysis, background subtractions, and discrimination tests. These evaluations were successful at separating a signal from the background for the information given for the decays evaluated, and were generally accurate and similar to established information. The information found in my work will be later passed on to other scientists and students to do further analysis on, as well as evaluated some of the information collected from the LHC and turned raw data into a cleaner more edited format for further use and evaluation. 

2015 FNAL-UC Abstract: Pulsar II and VIPRAM Chip Technology

Pulsar II and VIPRAM Chip Technology 
L. Craig- student(Fenwick High School) 
N. Tran-teacher(Fermilab) 
T. Liu- mentor(Fermilab)  
Pulsar II and VIPRAM Chips together can form a general purpose high speed pattern recognition system. As LHC upgrades to the HL-LHC, a silicon based tracking trigger will be needed to interpret data from particle collisions in real time with unprecedented performance. Pulsar II and VIPRAM are being developed to address HL-LHC needs (We still need to demonstrate that Pulsar and VIPRAM Chips can do the job). VIPRAM (Vertically Integrated Pattern Recognition Associative Memory) is composed of layers of CAM Cells and contains preloaded patterns. VIPRAM will compare incoming data from LHC. The purpose of my project was to test VIPRAM Chips to see how well they perform under different levels of stress. These tests showed how successfully incoming data was compared to the preloaded patterns in VIPRAM. These tests have been performed extensively for months by scientists at Fermilab to ensure quality and outstanding results. I was able to observe and reproduce similar results to previous testing.  These stress tests consisted of NStress and frequency changes. I tested well beyond the frequency and NStress needs of the HL-LHC. I tested NStress levels 10-100 (increments of 10) and frequencies 10, 25, 33, 50, 66, 71, 76, 83, 90, 100, 111, 125. HL-LHC will operate well below NStress Level 10. The chips performed as expected which demonstrated that I was able to reproduce results from previous tests done at Fermilab. During my internship, I was able to take what I learned in the first few weeks and apply it to hands on research of VIPRAM Chip testing. Also, I was given hands on experience to advanced technology that I would not have access to at home or school. 

2015 FNAL-UC Abstract: ARCONS Data Analysis

ARCONS Data Analysis 
T. Burchfield – student (Wheaton Academy) 
G. Dozier - student (Metea Valley High School) 
N. Forsberg – student - (Wheaton Academy) 
C. Stoughton – mentor (FermiLab)  
Our purpose was to analyze data and investigate data representation techniques for ARCONS, and to create routines to streamline parts of the data reduction pipeline. Our work included spectra analysis, false color rendering, and faulty pixel masking. Our efforts included generalizing a mosaicing algorithm, optimizing the hot pixel finding program, creating a cosmetic interpolation program, writing code to translate data files into color images, testing photometry routines, implementing point spread function spectral analysis, and using aperture spectral analysis. The programs we have written have potential applications in the fields of high definition imaging, exoplanet atmosphere chemical composition analysis, dark energy, and dark matter. In order for our work to expand to these goals, our programs will be optimized and functionality will be added to involve more detailed calibrations. 

2015 FNAL-UC Abstract: LArIAT Firmware Trigger Upgrades

LArIAT Firmware Trigger Upgrades 
J. Zhu – student (Naperville North High School) 
W. Flanagan – mentor (Fermilab)  
Liquid argon time-projection chambers (LArTPCs) are one of the most most promising detectors for neutrino physics, offering beautiful bubble-chamber resolution images of tracks in addition to computerized 3D position and energy dissipation data. Fermilab's LArIAT project, Liquid Argon In A Testbeam, aims to profile such a detector, using several beamline detectors to match particles to their TPC tracks. This summer, I worked with Will Flanagan and the LArIAT team to improve the trigger system, an FPGA firmware module which signals when to record TPC data based on user-set patterns. I chiefly worked on expanding the possible number of input signals to the firmware, from 16 to 32 inputs, allowing more detectors to be simultaneously monitored, such as the newly installed Cherenkov counters and aerogel cosmic coincidence detectors. I created a testbench simulation of the code to automate integration testing, by replicating the top-level module. Future tasks include fuller utilization of some unused features, including a pipeline of detected patterns and a total pattern count, to improve offline debugging and simplify event matching, as well as the implementation of an internal prescaled pulser. 

2015 FNAL-UC Abstract: QuarkNet Radio Telescope

QuarkNet Radio Telescope

S. Qadir – student (Wheaton North)

J. Johanik – student (Metea Valley)

M. Mleczko – student (Wheaton Warrenville South)

C. Stoughton – mentor (Fermilab)

Our purpose during our term was to investigate the possibilities of creating and accurately operating a reasonably priced Radio Telescope designed for High Schools across the nation to use. During our summer, we managed to construct two parabolic dishes and outfitted one dish to a level of producing basic astronomical observations. Our immediate goal for this six-week project was to see the 21-centimeter hydrogen line — a radio signal that indicates the presence of neutral hydrogen in the Milky Way. Our future goal is to run both dishes together and use interferometry to obtain a better overall resolution. Our main vision is to enlist high schools across the nation to build similar radio telescopes and make a QRA (QuarkNet Radio Array) to achieve interferometry. For the summer project, we not only conducted fundamental research on radio telescopes, programmed software, and collected data but we also ironed out potential problems that we encountered or problems high schools could encounter. We hope that teachers can then easily implement radio telescopes at their high schools, helping to build a network of them across the country, all working in harmony to make even stronger measurements of our universe.   

2015 Student Summer Research and Teacher Workshop-FNAL/UC Annual Report


Fermilab: University of Chicago

Student Summer Research and Teacher Workshop Annual Report

The Fermilab/University of Chicago QuarkNet Center sponsored its annual student summer research and teacher workshop for its 9th year. The summer research began June 22nd and went until July 31st. The three day teacher workshop spanned from July 29th to July 31st. This year’s summer activities included two mentor teachers, eight high school students, (seven juniors and one sophomore), 12 physics teachers, and one lead scientist. Teachers from the workshop primarily were from the suburbs west of Chicago, all having taught physics or will be teaching physics this upcoming year. We had a good spread in gender, age, and years of experience in the classroom.

QuarkNet Students and Teachers PictureThe summer research was extremely exciting for the students this year. Two of the students worked individually, each with a mentor scientist, while the other six students worked in two groups of three, sharing a mentor scientist.  The students’ experiments ranged greatly. The students conducted research on a number of different areas including Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors, the Pulsar II and VIPRAM chip, Liquid Argon in a Time Detection Chamber, and the piloting of the QuarkNet Radio Telescope.  During the week, the students had the opportunity to attend lectures by well-known scientists as well as go on tours and nature walks. We conducted weekly lunch meetings on Wednesdays to keep up with the logistics and share the progress on the students’ experiments. Finally, for the teacher workshop, each student prepared a presentation to give on their experiment. All of these went well and we are extremely proud of their progress and accomplishments.

The teacher workshop was also a great success. This year the first two days were filled with a CMS data workshop, conducted by Shane Wood.  The third day included all of the student presentations.  Chris Stoughton, the lead scientist, started each day with an opening discussion.  Rick Cavanaugh conducted the CMS scientist talk, and Tim Meyer, Fermilab COO, came through with a “Chalk-Talk”.  While the first two days focused on the CMS and LHC, the third day included a healthy overview of topics from a wide variety of areas of study.  The eight students gave six presentations, after which the teachers interacted with them and the mentor scientists for their project.  This year, only two brief tours were included, though they were particularly relevant to the presentations.  We visited the CMS Remote Control Room in Wilson Hall, and the temporary pilot arrangement of the QuarkNet Radio Telescopes, located at D0 Outback.  We ended each day with a discussion about bringing what the teachers learned at Fermilab back to their classroom.

The Fermilab/University of Chicago QuarkNet Center continues to provide a top notch research experience and educational workshop. Both teachers and students expressed their satisfaction.  We are also now in the works of planning three different events to encourage and help teachers in areas they requested. We have planned a fall Portfolio Report meeting for the teachers, a winter behind-the-scenes tour of the Adler Planetarium for their families, and a spring one-day CMS Master Class for high school students.

Lead Teachers: Ben Sawyer and George Dzuricsko


2015 Annual Report: The University of Iowa

Principal Investigator:

    Dr. Yasar Onel

Associate Professors:

    Dr. Jane Nachman



Dr. Burak Bilki, Dr. James Wetzel


Peter G. Bruecken, Michael Grannen and Moira Truesdell


Nick Arevelo, William Fawcett,  Andrew Haffarnan, Bridget Quesnell, Sam Snow and Archie Weindruch

During the summer of 2015, The University of Iowa involved six students from Bettendorf High School and 3 teachers in research activities.  The work was directed by our Principal investigator, Dr. Yasar Onel and mentored by three of the teachers, Peter Bruecken, Michael Grannen and Moira Truesdell.  The summer activities focused two projects:  Preparing scintillating plates for CERN test beam and building 100 models of CMS.  These projects were extensions from the 2014 summer work.

Activity 1: Scintillating plates:

After a successful summer of 2014, the team continued work by refining our procedure and using a more standard test plate.  The work involved preparing 5 test plates for a beam at CERN.  Unlike last year, we used a different configuration of test plate to get more comparable results.  The tests last year proved promising but needed to be refined further for comparison.  The group prepared 5 plates for the beam and sent them to CERN for testing.

Activity 2: Building a demonstration model of CMS:

After our 2014 contribution to creating a 3D-printed model of CMS, an order for 100 copies of said model were ordered.  Our group worked on printing and constructing the models for delivery.  They also refined the mobile application, which would simulate a collision on a mobile application while observing the actual model.  The application focused on using a cosmic ray to activate a simulation of a collision at CERN.  The students produced

Three of the students aided a graduate student in executing his grant to build a demonstration model of The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) at CERN.  The students drew parts in a proprietary program for a 3D printer, programmed Arduino® controller boards and helped design the assembly of the printer.  The task consisted of making a 1/160 scale drawing of each functional part of CMS and printing the separate parts on the 3D printer.  The students then programmed the controller boards to simulate, using lights, the particle interactions in the model when a cosmic ray triggered an event.  The students programmed a Silicon Photomultiplier board to sense the presence of a cosmic ray and trigger a string of interactions in the model.  Later, an app for mobile devices would enhance the event for observers of the model.  The students drew and printed many parts for the demonstration as well as programmed some of the light boards for the model.


This year's workshop was centered around fixing and identifying equipment problems. Some paddles do not plateau.  If we had a paddle that did not plateau, we set the rate count to 20-25 Hz by adjusting the voltage on the PDU. Once we constructed the equipment, the system gave error reports. We found that it was very difficult to identify what was working correctly and which item had issues.  After we were able to download the EQUIP software, we were able to identify rate counts and graphs almost during data collection. During our video conference we could not determine why  performance histogram was not working or producing a bad graph.

To identify the problem we had to break down each system into separate units and test each unit individually. We identified each componant as DAQ, PDU, Paddles, cables PAD to DAQ, Cables Paddles to PDU, and power supply. As it turned out the cable from the PDU to the DAQ was bad and the performance study graph was not giving correct readings. The workshop presentations were given by Dr. Noonan, and  Dr Yumiceva. Presentations  were also given by Mr. O'Donnell usng powerpoint from Purdue on particle physics. TED talks about CERN were shown that include Brian Cox. After the presentions, the students decided to document their work  on a blog at quarknetfit2015.wordpress.com

In additon to the blog, the students created posters of their work and posted  them on the quarknet website. The equipment will be stored in Dr Yumiceva's lab for the school year and can be borrowed by teachers and students for future experimentation. Devon Shastri will most likely use the equipment in conjunction with the plasma ball to determine if there is any interference with the counter or the paddles during the muon flux counts. The project would need the use of  a faraday cageo isolate componants being tested.