STMicroelectronics Applauds CERN Success in Search for Elusive Higgs Particle
Chip maker shares scientists’ delight, as developer of unique sensors and regulators for instruments used to hunt down Higgs boson at 125GeV
Following news from CERN on July 4 announcing success in the long search for the Higgs boson, STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, congratulates the multinational team responsible for the discovery.
ST has supplied electronic components developed specifically to meet the needs of both instruments used in CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to search for the Higgs boson: the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) and the ATLAS detector. “This has been a multinational effort, involving many thousands of people, to build the equipment, collect and process data, and validate the results,” said Carmelo Papa, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Industrial and Multisegment Sector at STMicroelectronics. “It has been rewarding for ST to have played a part, however small, in this important project revealing crucial truths about the nature of the universe and ourselves.”
For the CMS, a particle detector observing how collisions between protons convert energy into particles of finite mass and hence providing a glimpse of how matter came into existence after the Big Bang, ST has supplied many thousands of silicon sensors since 2002. Special requirements of these sensors included extremely high accuracy at die sizes around 100 times larger than a conventional semiconductor die. ST was able to produce sensors of the required purity, leveraging its high-quality in-house fabrication processes.
For the ATLAS detector, ST developed unique radiation-hardened positive and negative voltage regulators to be used in the liquid argon calorimeter electronics, the pixel detector, transition-radiation tracking detector, and other sub-systems. ST received a 2006 ATLAS Supplier Award for producing the regulators after ATLAS scientists found no existing devices capable of delivering sufficient current reliably when exposed to very high levels of radiation. The same technology has been used by ST to support the satellite and aerospace segments for several years. In addition to the voltage regulators, ST has supplied over 40,000 rad-hard diodes to ATLAS.
Background to the project:
Results presented by the CMS and ATLAS teams on July 4 appear to be a new particle consistent with a Higgs boson, having a mass of around 125 GeV. Validation of the results suggests there is only a one in 3.5 million chance that the observation is the result of a statistical fluke, rather than the existence of a real particle.
The existence of a Higgs boson (as the quantum particle associated with the Higgs field, in the same way the photon is the quantum particle associated with an electromagnetic field) was predicted in the 1960s by the theoretical physicist Peter Higgs. The Higgs field and boson are key aspects of a mechanism developed by scientists to explain observations that challenge the Standard Model of particle physics, which is today’s most accurate theory describing the fundamental particles making up all matter in the universe and the effects of the Electromagnetic, Weak and Strong forces acting on them.
Earlier experiments in the LHC have confirmed the Standard Model to within 1%, but the Higgs boson has remained unseen until now. “This is a historical milestone, but only the beginning,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer, concluding that this was a global effort and a global success, with global implications for the future.
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