There are materials that have zero electrical resistance if the temperature is sufficiently low. Also the current density and the magnetic field should not be too high. In 1908 Heike Kamerlingh-Onnes and his laboratory accomplished to liquify helium whose boiling temperature is about 4.2 K under atmospheric pressure. Thus he could discover the superconductivity of mercury in 1911.

In the following years many other superconductors have been discovered, even high temperature superconductors (HTS). HTS has the advantage that liquid nitrogen (77 K) is sufficient.

Superconducting magnets often consist of niobium titanium (NbTi) that has a critical temperature of approximately 10 K.

The colder part of current leads is frequently built with HTS for very large currents.


Jets in QCD

What are jets? What does QCD mean?

The intuitive picture of a jet is a collimated spray of particles which is created by the collision of two particles in a high energy physics experiment. (There can be more than one jet.) Quantum chromodynamics (QCD) is the physical theory behind them. It states that a certain class of particles, hadrons, are built of quarks and gluons. If a quark or gluon is scattered, a jet is created. A quark or gluon has never been observed as a free elementary particle and QCD states that this is not possible. Instead after a scattering new particles are created very rapidly that can be observed. Regarded as a jet they have the momentum of the scattered quark or gluon. The exact definition of a jet is not trivial and there are sophisticated algorithms to find them.

Why are jets interesting to physicists?

With their aid conclusions can be made on the fundamental process without having to measure a free quark or gluon.

The Plug Calorimeter

I am going to summarise my diploma thesis in plain words. It was a simulation of the ZEUS detector. ZEUS was the name of a collaboration which ran an experiment at the storage ring HERA in Hamburg, Germany. There, electrons and protons of high energy were brought to collision. Around the interaction point was the ZEUS detector covering almost the whole solid angle with the exception of the openings for the beam pipes. The idea for the plug calorimeter was to make the opening in the proton direction smaller. Thus the acceptance of the detector was enlarged. A calorimeter is an energy measuring device. The additional calorimeter was kind of a plug.

My first step was to implement several versions into the ZEUS detector simulation program MOZART. Then I simulated a test beam, i.e. I used a beam of particles of a single type with uniform energy. Finally, I tested with two kinds of electron proton scattering events. It could be demonstrated that these two types of scattering events can be much more easily separated in an analysis with the aid of a plug calorimeter.

A plug calorimeter was eventually built und installed. Finishing this article I want to mention a publication:

Bamberger et al., The ZEUS Forward Plug Calorimeter with Lead-Scintillator Plates and WLS Fiber Readout, Nucl. Instr. Meth. A450 (2000) 235-252 ( )


Current Leads

Current leads are a cryo-electrical component of the circuit of a superconducting magnet, a pair for each electrical circuit. One end, the warm terminal, has ambient temperature, about 300 K (Kelvin). The other end, the cold terminal, has the temperature of liquid helium, approximately 4 K.

If the cross-section of the conductor is too large, a lot of heat comes from the warm to the cold terminal. On the other hand, if the cross-section is too small, the electrical current will cause a significant heating and the current leads may burn through. The designer has to find a compromise.

There are current leads which are only cooled at the cold terminal. This is the conduction cooled type. The vapour cooled current leads guide the helium vapour all along the whole length from the cold to the warm terminal. Sometimes the temperature is fixed in between with liquid nitrogen (77 K) by the employment of a thermal anchor.