Publishing Pixel Detectors

15 January 2008

Pixel Detectors, co-authored by Leonardo Rossi

In 2001, when Springer first contacted Leonardo Rossi with the proposal of authoring a book on pixel detectors, there was no previous literature on the subject.  But the technology behind these particle and radiation detection devices was increasingly gaining relevance, due to their broad spectrum of applications not only in HEP, but also in biomedicine and material sciences.

By that time, Leonardo was the project leader of the ATLAS Pixel detector, a position that he held until 2005, year in which he started a new appointment as the inner detector project leader. However, although being an expert in the technicalities of these sorts of detectors, the task of writing a book was daunting and he asked for advice from a physicist colleague who had himself written a book in the past. About the experience, his friend told him: “It’s interesting, but it’s very demanding. Far more demanding that you can think of now, even if you are a pessimist”.

In spite of the warnings, Leonardo decided to go ahead with the project, and asked fellow physicists Peter Fischer, Tilman Rohe and Norbert Wermes to collaborate with him in the writing. Together, they had the range of expertise required to write about the variety of technologies behind pixel detectors.

The team of physicists faced two main challenges while writing the book. Firstly, they wanted to write a book that could serve as a reference on the field for some time. That was not an easy thing to do. On the one hand, the novelty of the subject meant that there were many new aspects to address. But on the other, writing explanations about state-of-the-art technology that remain useful in the long run was something that they all had in mind. “The key was trying to be as basic as possible to avoid becoming obsolete,” Leonardo says. “Technology changes fast, but the basic principles do not evolve so rapidly.”

Therefore, the book presents basic calculations and explanations about detector operation and performance, electronics and connectivity.

The second difficulty was working in a team. All the contributors complemented each other’s expertise and a lot of work was put into making a cohesive single book, rather than a set of independent chapters. The result is that parts follow each other in a natural way and there are no repetitions. “Each of us contributed to every chapter,” Leonardo says. “But behind each of them there are one or two main authors.” 

After having seen his book published, Leonardo feels he has a wider view of pixel detectors, as he spent a huge amount of time going deeper into the subject. But it is not the only benefit that he found after his hard work: “In the end, not many people write a book, so I felt proud of that, even if I’m not ready to start again,” he says.Colin Barras


Cristina Jimenez