Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Update from Seattle

Why Seattle? It's simple, I have been living here for almost half a year.

I have decided to take up a postdoc position offered by UW after writing the previous post regarding my interview experience. Lots of things have changed since then, and I am doing okay right now in Seattle. I must say that the culture here is quite different from what I have experienced before. For example, you are not allowed to drink on the street, alcohol is prohibited in the karaoke box nearby the university, right-turn is allowed during red traffic light unless stated otherwise, and so on ....

Research wise I am very happy to be entrusted with several important tasks for the collaboration. Having experience in both hardware and software has been my dream since undergraduate and today finally I have the chance to experience a nice mixture of 50:50 in my daily research work.

I spent a majority of time on the muon beam injection and storage studies for the first two months and it worked out quite well albeit some bugs in the geometry implementation and tracking in the EM fields. I didn't expect the injection scheme of this experiment to be this complicated but I am glad to learn many things related to the dynamics of the muon beam in the storage ring such as coherent betatron oscillation and fast rotation.

In terms of hardware development, I am working on a beam monitoring system consisted of 3 consecutive fiber array detectors. This is something I have been working on since my ETH days so it's a good continuation of work for me. And of course I have learnt much more about the amplifier circuit for the SiPM compared to before, such as the dynamic range of the VGA. I am involved also in the QC of the SiPM board for the calorimeter. This is perhaps for the first time I have to design an experiment from scratch. It's hard of course, but it is also very rewarding at the same time. Because of it, I get to expand my familiarity in the Autodesk Inventor program for mechanical drawing, to expand my knowledge in the electronic department, such as flashing LED using super narrow pulser, etc. Hopefully I manage to characterize all the SiPMs within the allocated time.

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