I’m a post-doc member of the research staff of the Particle Physics group.
I joined the group in 1984 as a summer student, and after a happy summer of detector
building decided to stay on for a PhD, and have been here ever since....
What do I do?
I spend most of my time working on readout and trigger systems for Particle Physics
Our experiments use very specialised detector technologies to record subatomic particles
arising from high energy collisions, cosmic ray interactions, radioactive decays
etc. At Manchester we have experience with many types of detector,
but pretty much all detectors end up producing a (usually small) electrical signal
that needs to be collected, buffered, processed and recorded for later analysis.
It’s also important to know when something interesting has happened, and to select
interesting interactions (ie physics) out of the total spectrum.
This requires a ‘trigger’ which takes a very quick look at part of the data to identify
the signature of interesting interactions.
I’ve worked on readout systems from the very front end amplifiers and digitisation
circuits, through to processor or FPGA based data handling systems (buffering, collecting,
compressing etc.) and analysis software running on large general purpose computing
‘farms’ offline (ie after the data has been collected).
I’ve also worked on the specialist electronics needed to implement trigger systems.
I can design electronics from scratch (PCBs, schematic, layout, all the way to manufacture),
program all manner of processors in a variety of languages, write firmware for programmable
logic (FPGAs etc.) We have an excellent collection of software and hardware tools
to support this work; the best CAD/CAM, state of the art CNC machining, BGA assembly
and inspection, and I work closely with our electronics technician Mike Perry to
ensure these facilities are second to none.