In response to a growing necessity for more sophisticated methods of analysis at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), the Pioneering High Energy Nuclear Interaction eXperiment (PHENIX) Collaboration has submitted a proposal for an upgraded PHENIX detector, “sPHENIX”, to Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). This detector will allow for a physics program that will address unanswered questions about the nature of the strongly coupled Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP); however, it lacks a particle identification system. We propose that a Detection of Internally Reflected Cherenkov light (DIRC) particle detector may be able to economically expand sPHENIX’s function to include particle identification. This detector identifies a particle by measuring its Cherenkov emission angle, which can then be used to identify the particle’s velocity. The particle’s momentum is known, so its mass and hence its identity is then easily derived.
This project aims to address the question of whether such a detector will be able to identify particles resultant from the high multiplicity heavy ion collisions of RHIC. High multiplicity collisions require a sophisticated discrimination system for the identification of particles, bringing new difficulties in pattern recognition. In this project, we use the programming language C++ to write a collection of libraries, linked to ROOT libraries, which simulate data from heavy ion collisions. We identify particles and sets of particles by studying the density and geometric pattern of the projection of emitted photons on the detector surface. By exploiting the relationship between the projection of the emitted photons and the angle of incidence with which a particle enters the detector, we can determine the particle’s emission angle. The succession of this project, will allow for a cost-effective implementation of a particle identification system in sPHENIX. This work was supported by funding from the Department of Energy and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program.