Timing Requirements Analysis for Particle Physics and Astrophysics: A Metrological Point of View

G. Cerretto, D. Calonico, E. Cantoni, F. Levi, A. Mura, M. Sellone, and I. Gnesi

Abstract: Time Laboratories are facilities typically hosted at National Metrology Institutes and Astronomical Observatories, aimed at developing and operating innovative methods and techniques for the generation and measurement of accurate time and time intervals. For Italy, this role is carried out by INRIM Time Laboratory, whose main tasks are related to the contribution to the realization of TAI/UTC international time scales by the BIPM, and to the generation of UTC(IT), the Italian Standard Time. Its dissemination to final users through NTP and White Rabbit technique, the regular provision of Certification Services for the Italian industries under the CIPM Mutual Recognition Agreement, together with the participation to the design and development of the timing aspects of the Galileo system, represent the main contributions provided by the Laboratory towards the national and international high-level production sectors. However, in such a context, also low-level research activities become crucial, aimed at improving Laboratory’s metrological capabilities, as well as supporting a wide-range of scientific experiments requiring accurate time. Concerning the latter aspect, INRIM Time Laboratory provided its support to important Particle Physics and Astrophysics experiments over the years, namely Borexino for the measurement of the neutrino velocity over the CERN-Gran Sasso baseline, in 2012, and EEE (Extreme Energy Events) for the detection of high-energy cosmic showers, in 2020. In this work, we present a general overview about the importance of timing in Particle Physics and Astrophysics communities, retracing the INRIM Time Laboratory experiences with Borexino, EEE, and the White Rabbit time dissemination. We will analyze the timing requirements of three representative experiments of both communities. ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS), one of the four LHC experiments at CERN, CTA (Cherenkov Telescope Array) for the study of high-energy gamma ray space sources, and the LIGO-VIRGO interferometers, for the detection of gravitational waves. The experiences gained by the Laboratory over the years, together with the studies conducted on the aforementioned experiments and possibly on others, would strengthen the relationships between the time community and the ones dealing with fundamental physics, relationships that could become even more synergistic, yielding to common benefits, also with the well-known interaction on the White Rabbit technique.
Published in: Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting
January 25 - 28, 2021
Pages: 376 - 405
Cite this article: Cerretto, G., Calonico, D., Cantoni, E., Levi, F., Mura, A., Sellone, M., Gnesi, I., "Timing Requirements Analysis for Particle Physics and Astrophysics: A Metrological Point of View," Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Precise Time and Time Interval Systems and Applications Meeting, , January 2021, pp. 376-405.
https://doi.org/10.33012/2021.17794
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