Development of a high-level trigger for the dimuon spectrometer of the ALICE experiment at the large hadron collider

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The ALICE experiment at CERN's Large Hadronic Collider will mark the beginning of a new phase in the study of ultra-relativistic heavy ion-collisions. It will be possible to explore in great detail phenomena discovered or hinted at in the course of experiments at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, in particular the signals of the quark-gluon plasma. One of the most promising signals of the creation of this new state of matter is the anomalous suppression of the Υ (bb) and J/v(cc) families. One of the main decay channels of these mesons is into dimuons and ALICE has a dedicated dimuon spectrometer in order to study the spectra of these interesting particles. The signal is, however, swamped by a large background from several other muonic sources. Due to the large data rate expected for ALICE and the limited bandwidth, a highly efficient and selective trigger is required for the experiment - the dimuon high-level trigger (dHLT). This thesis concerns the context, development and implementation of the ALICE dimuon high-level trigger. The physics context ot the experimentation is described, as well as the technical requirements of the system. The performance of the prototype is investigated with the use of Monte-Carlo simulations. An investigation into the performance estimates of system in the expected physics environment was performed, which validated the benchmarks, as well as investigation of the effect of possible modifications of quarkonia yields due to QGP formation on the response of the dHLT.

Includes bibliographical references (p. 172-181).