CMS Gaseous Electron Multiplier School (CMSGEMSchool)



The design of this twiki page relied heavily on the CMS Data Analysis School page; we owe thanks to our fellow collaborators who have worked so diligently to put together such a school. We hope that this school can be as successful!

Our small CMS GEM Collaboration maintains a dedicated twiki page which has some really great information. Other useful information is maintained within the CMS Workbook and the CMS Software Guide (SWGuide). As any veteran member of CMS can tell you, these twiki pages are living documents and may not always contain up-to-date information. However, they usually provide a starting point for a user, and that is our goal with this school!

The first school will be held in June 2014. Two sessions are organized:

  • June 23rd 2014 - June 27th 2014, indico link.
  • June 30th 2014 - July 4th 2014

A repository of all course materials is located: FILL IN THE BLANK!

This course serves to help both beginners and experts in the practical operation of GEM detectors including their assembly, operation, and data analysis. It also gives links to the actual exercises held during the course.


Several pre-workshop exercises, designed to prepare prospective participants for the school, are given below. Completion of these pre-workshop exercises is considered to be mandatory before coming to the school. Prospective attendees may wish to arrive at CERN early to complete these exercises and to familiarize yourselves with the site if it is your first time at CERN. Veteran CERN visitors are welcome to use their best judgment regarding these exercises (However, please double check to make sure you have performed all the listed items).

The completion of these pre-exercises will allow prospective attendees to take maximum advantage of the long exercises planned here at the school.

Pre-Workshop Exercises

Veteran members of the Collaboration may find they have already gone through the following pre-exercise and may skip this section if that is the case (please double check first). However, newcomers should view the following pre-exercises as mandatory and complete them before the school starts (this may require coming to CERN several business days before the school begins). Some of these items do not require you to be at CERN to complete.

  • Getting a Computing Account: Follow the instructions given in the CMSWorkbook Section 1.2 Getting a Computing Account.
  • Coming to CERN: A nice guide has been prepared by the CERN User's Office, available here. We recommend you pay special attention to those statements shown under the “Settling In” link. Additionally, if you are coming from a US CMS Institute the USCMS Project Office has a great guide available here. Any questions regarding arrival formalities should be directed to the CMS Secretariat and/or the User's Office.
  • Training Courses: Once you have obtained your computing accounts you will be able to access the CERN Safety Information Registration page. Please complete the following training courses before the school begins. The first two courses are required for all persons coming to CERN as listed on the User's Office Arrival Formalities page. The next two courses are required to obtain a dosimeter (which you will need to wear while working with radioactive sources during the course). The final course is not yet required to access the TIF (one of the labs we will be working out of during the CMSGEMSchool). This course may not have been released to the wider CERN population when you are reading this article. However, this course will be required for TIF access in the future. If you wish to take it please contact Stefano Mersi.
    • “Computer Security ”,
    • “CERN Safety Introduction ”,
    • “CMS Safety (Level 4C) ”,
    • “RP Training for CERN Supervised Radiation Areas”,
    • “TIF clean room access course”.

  • Getting Your Dosimeter: Having a dosimeter during the school is a requirement as we will be dealing with radioactive sources and x-ray generators. Click the link here to access the dosimetry service website. Click either the “Users, Associates” or “Staff” button, depending on your status at CERN (e.g. if you are classified as a User, the “Users, Associates” button), on the left menu bar and then follow the instructions that are shown on the screen.
  • Request EDH Access: Go to EDH and create an “Access Request” for “Acces a 186-R-N14 salle propre 0186-R-202”).
  • Familiarize Yourself w/NIM Modules: We will be using amplifiers, discriminators, scalers, and counters; if you are unfamilar with these devices take some time to "play" with them at your institute before arriving at CERN. Also, a brief description of NIM standards is available here.
  • Familiarize Yourself w/GEMs: Consult the documents below, the original CMS GEM upgrade technical proposal, or the TDR. To get the most up-to-date version of the TDR go to the CMS GEM Collaboration indico page and search for the most recent "Coordination Meeting" (not to be confused with the "Technical Coordination Meeting"), click on the meeting, and then download the PDF (linked at the top of the page if the meeting has already taken place).

In completing these pre-exercises it is useful to keep in mind the opening hours of several CERN based offices. The hours of the User's Office (and location) are available on their main website. Particularly we'd like to point out that they are closed every Wednesday morning. Also, the dosimetry service is only open in the mornings (08h30 - 12h00)!

An interactive map of the CERN site which will assist in finding key buildings is available here. We'd like to call your attention:

  • building 55: location of card services, IT helpdesk, and dosimetry,
  • building 186: location of the TIF,
  • building 154: location of the RD51 lab,
  • building 500: location of the main restaurant,
  • building 61: location of the User's Office,
  • and building 40: location of the CMS Secretariat.

Short Exercises

1. Leakage Current Test, exercise link

2. Detector Assembly, exercise

3. Leak Testing, Link to short exercise goes HERE

Long Exercises

1. Gain Calibration, for beginners; link

2. Gain Uniformity, for experts. Link to long exercise goes HERE

Post-Workshop Resources

Several resources are given below. These resources should help you to both familiarize yourself with the GEM project before coming to the school and assist you as you return to your institute after you have participated.

  • Techniques for Nuclear and Particle Physics Experiments by W.R. Leo, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
  • Particle Detection with Drift Chambers by W. Blum and I. Rolandi, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1993.
  • Medical Radiation Detectors by N.F. Kember, Institute of Physics Publication, Bristol, 1994.
  • Particle Detectors by K. Grupen, Cambridge Monographs on Particle Physics, 1996.

  • "Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment," Advanced Instrumentation, Volume 666, Pgs 1-222, 2012, edited by A. Sharma. link.
  • F. Sauli, A. Sharma, "Micro-Pattern Gaseous Detectors," Annual Review of Nuclear Science, 1999. link.


-- BrianDorney - 26 May 2014

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