CDF Detector at Fermilab

CDF Detector at Fermilab Stock Photo

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Science History Images / Alamy Stock Photo

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3012 x 2403 px | 25.5 x 20.3 cm | 10 x 8 inches | 300dpi


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The CDF detector rolling out of the collision hall after discovering the Top Quark. Physicists need more than accelerators in order to "see" high energy collisions. That's why scientists have designed and built particle detectors like the Collider Detector at Fermilab (CDF). It is essentially a huge "cameras" that can take more than a million "snapshots" of particle collisions every second. They can count particles, identify their tracks, measure their energy, record their time of flight and distinguish one particle from another. Detectors can be as tiny as a computer chip or as huge as a house, containing many thousands of tons of material. The CDF detector, about the size of a 3-story house, weighs about 6, 000 tons. Its subsystems record the "debris" emerging from high-energy proton-antiproton collisions, unveiling the secrets of the early universe. The detector surrounds the collision point and records the path, energy and charge of exotic, short-lived particles emerging from the collisions. Six quarks--up, down, strange, charm, bottom and top--are the building blocks of matter. Protons and neutrons are made of up and down quarks, held together by the strong nuclear force. The CDF experiment has discovered exotic relatives of the proton and neutron, particles that include a bottom quark.