LAA: a project using dedicated funding to develop technology for high-energy physics experiments
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In the mid-1980s, the cost of investment in infrastructure for particle accelerators and colliders at the highest energy had risen to such level that the host laboratory (CERN) could no longer afford the cost of development of new detector technology required for the experiments. Large particle colliders were identified by the tools of the future for high-energy physics research, and a long-term view of their development was already conjured up in the late 1970s. It was based on this appraisal that a separate project, called LAA, which addresses the development of the technologies that are required to fully exploit the potential of the new infrastructure, was conceived. The project, specifically funded by the Italian government, centers on advanced microelectronics, and it is largely thanks to this development that the experiments at the large hadron collider (LHC) at CERN were equipped with performant detectors. Some of this equipment features in (i) the Italian School project to observe Extreme Energy Events (EEE), (ii) the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) experiment in the International Space Station and (iii) the time-of-flight (TOF) detector of the LHC heavy ion experiment ALICE at CERN. Several spin-offs for applications in medical instrumentation and advanced electronics were also initiated by development in the framework of the LAA project. The project also covers development work on superconductors and high field superconducting magnets for a future very LHC. The impact of LAA on technology is widely acknowledged.
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