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The Collider Detector at Fermilabs CDF Central Tracking
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The Collider Detector at Fermilab's (CDF) Central Tracking Chamber.

June 8, 2010
The Collider Detector at Fermilab's (CDF) Central Tracking Chamber. This device was critical in the discovery of the top quark in 1995--the heaviest elementary object known to mankind. The chamber--at the heart of the CDF detectorsurrounded the collision point at which protons and antiprotons slammed into each other at record energy. Thousands of wires inside the chamber sensed the tracks of charged particles escaping the collisions and their signals were read out using 6,000 channels linked to the CDF data acquisition system. Top quarks were abundant when the universe was first formed; nowadays, they're hard to come by. Of course it doesn't help that they live for an infinitesimally short moment before disintegrating into more mundane particles. The only possible way to produce them is in high-energy cosmic ray collisions, or in the high-energy collisions that take place at Fermilab between protons and antiprotons. (Year of Image: 1999)