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Straw Tube Young Student eXperiment - STYX

STYX stands for Straw Tube Young student eXperiment. The main aim is to offer students an opportunity to study tracking of cosmic particles using state-of-the-art detectors. The big advantage is the vastly reduced complexity compared to modern large scale experiments at the LHC while retaining the basic problems and questions of charged particle tracking.



STYX is a joint project of two groups by Prof. Brock and Prof. Desch and is using  modules which were formerly part of the ZEUS Straw Tube Tracker (STT) to detect secondary cosmic muons. A setup with two or more of these modules allow not only a position measurement but also the reconstruction of angular distributions of the tracks. These modules are flooded by ArCO2 which is provided by a supporting gas system. Two scintillators, above and below the modules, with photomultipliers are used as a trigger system. Collected data is then processed using a self-developed software package in order to reconstruct track objects and visualize them for a better understanding. The setup of the experiment is explained in more detail on the experimental setup page.

Goals of the experiment

The main aim of the experiment is to provide a not too complex setup where students get an idea of the different aspects of a typical high energy physics experiment.

STYX is employed in the master student's lab course and more detailed studies are done in bachelor or in master theses programs. The topics covered by STYX are:

  • Theoretical basic knowledge of cosmic radiation
  • Elementary electronic setups 
  • Understanding of electronic components
  • Scintilator detectors as trigger systems
  • Drift time measurment and determination of drift velocity in a gas detector
  • Data taking system and reconstruction algorithms
  • Working with a modern software package to analyse large datasets
  • Monte Carlo simulation and comparison with cosmic data

Different combinations of these questions or a more detailed look at single topics are the possible tasks for the students.

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