History of the department
The department of "Elementary Particle Physics" N40 was founded in 1991 based on "Laboratory of Elementary Particle Physics problems" of department N7. Prof. B.A. Dolgoshein became the head of the new department.
In the 1960s, major laboratory projects were related to development of new types of detectors: spark and streamer chambers. Processes in gases used in these devices were investigated. The world's largest (8 m) streamer chamber was created in 1968. This chamber was used in the search for W boson at the U-70 accelerator. B.A. Dolgoshein, B.I. Luchkov and other researchers received the Lenin Prize for this work in 1970.
In the 1970s, laboratory staff was developing detectors on liquefied and compressed noble gases, transition radiation detectors, drift and proportional chambers with cathode readout. Acoustic methods to detect particles were being developed. A discovery of a mu-nucleon atom was made. Studies of the direct lepton production and the prediction of new particles as the source of such processes (e.g., charmonium) were carried out at the U-70 accelerator.
A Ca40 project to search for double beta decay was initiated in 1980s. This is when an intense collaboration with CERN has begun. New detectors based on compressed gases (up to 300 atmospheres) were being developed.
Laboratory staff took part in R808, HELIOS and NA-34 experiments at CERN. Detectors for these experiments were developed by the laboratory. Based on the studies performed in the laboratory, an international RD6 project (CERN) has begun in 1989 to develop a transition radiation tracker for the Large Hadron Collider. B.A. Dolgoshein was elected as a project leader.
The laboratory was transformed into MEPhI graduating department in 1991 to train specialists of scientific courses in the high energy physics field and related areas. RAS academician A.N.Skrinskii became the first head of this new department.
Two theoretical fields, cosmoparticle physics and cosmology, were added to the department research areas.
Participation in the development and creation of transition radiation tracker for the ATLAS experiment became one of the main activities in 1994. Department staff played a leading role in this work. Based on these developments, detectors for HERA-B and ZEUS experiments were created by the department in the mid-90s. In addition, a proposal for a transition radiation detector for an AMS experiment was made.
The department began intensive development of a new type of photo-detectors – silicon photomultipliers (SiPM) in 1993. MEPhI is still one of the world’s leading centers in the development of this type of detectors and their application for various experiments.
A number of theoretical studies extended the research areas of the department in the 2000s. Courses related to extra dimensions and multidimensional gravity have begun.
With LHC launched in 2008, department staff got involved not only in the development and support activities for the ATLAS experiment, but also in several experimental data analyses. Research is conducted to test the Standard Model, to study Higgs boson properties, to search for new exotic particles, to search for quark-gluon plasma evidence, etc. Also a development of new microchannel detectors is conducted.
The department became a base department of NRC Kurchatov Institute in 2011. Several topics related to neutrino studies (Borexino experiment in Gran-Sasso), physics processes in heavy nuclei collisions (ALICE experiment at LHC) and some others were added to the research area of the department. M.D.Skorokhvatov became a new head of department 40.
MEPhI group in the ATLAS experiment became a participant of activities related to modernization of ATLAS muon system for super-LHC project in 2013.