The HELIX Drift Chamber Tracker design and implementation
August 17, 2023
HELIX (High Energy Light Isotope eXperiment) is a balloon-borne experiment designed to measure the chemical and isotopic abundances of light cosmic-ray nuclei. Detailed measurements by HELIX, especially of Be-10 from ∼0.2 GeV/n to beyond 3 GeV/n, will provide essential insights into the propagation processes of the cosmic rays. HELIX measures the rigidity of cosmic rays by tracking their deflection in a 1 Tesla magnetic field with its Drift Chamber Tracker (DCT). This high-resolution gas tracking system utilizes 216 sensing wires with diameter 20 µm to provide both bending and non-bending view measurements. The DCT sense wires collect cosmic-ray-induced ionization through a strong electric drift field of 1 kV/cm. Precise monitoring and control of the gas composition and drift field are accomplished with a suite of housekeeping instruments. We present the design and implementation of the DCT and its readout electronics and highlight cosmic-ray muon analysis developments with straight-through tracks.
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