Consistency Checks: Detector Calibration and Simulation
The photomultiplier tubes inside the MiniBooNE detector convert the light that the the neutrino-induced particles generate into electrical signals. But how do we insure that the electrical signals produced by two different tubes correspond to same amount of light? This is part of the problem of calibration; the MiniBooNE detector contains an in situ laser system to allow continuous monitoring of the performance and response of the photomultiplier tubes.
Another calibration issue is the need to check that the detector responds in expected and predictable ways to the charged particles passing through it. The cosmic rays that continually bombard the detector can be used to help accomplish this part of the detector calibration. Cosmic ray muons that stop and decay in the tank help us make sure that the energy, position, and direction of the particles we reconstruct from detector signals do in fact coincide with expected values.
Detector simulation is also an issue of concern, to make sure that signals and patterns observed in the detector match up to what we expect from well-understood processes. A detailed computer model of the detector has been developed and tested, to attempt to accurately simulate how the detector responds to different particles at different energies.
|Preparing a laser flask for installation|