ALICE is the experiment specifically designed for the study of the
Quark-Gluon Plasma in heavy-ion collisions at the CERN LHC. The ALICE detector
will be upgraded during the LHC Long Shutdown 2, planned for 2019-2020,
in order to cope with the maximum interaction rate of 50 kHz of Pb-Pb foreseen
for Runs 3 and 4.
The ambitious programme of high-precision measurements, expected for the
muon physics after 2020, requires an upgrade of the front-end and readout electronics
of the existing Muon Spectrometer. This concerns the Cathode Pad Chambers
(CPC) used for the tracking and the Resistive Plate Chambers (RPC) used
for triggering purposes and muon identification. The RPC will be operated with
amplification, contrary to what is currently done, with a new FEERIC front-end
chip. Regarding the CPC, a new all-in-one SAMPA chip will be used to equip the
1.1 million readout channels. For both systems the data transmission will use the
GBT chip, developed at CERN, and a Common Readout Unit (CRU) which will
send the data to the acquisition.
The Muon Forward Tracker (MFT), an internal tracker added in front of the
front absorber of the existing Muon Spectrometer, is also part of the ALICE detector
upgrade programme. It is based on an assembly of circular planes made
of Monolithic Active Pixel Sensors (MAPS), covering the pseudorapidity range
2.5 < $\eta$ < 3.6. The MFT will improve present measurements and enable new ones.
In particular, the precise measurement of the offset to the primary vertex for the
muon tracks will permit, for the first time in ALICE, the statistical separation of
open charm and beauty production at forward rapidity, rejecting at the same time
a large fraction of background muons coming from pion and kaon decays.
A selection of results from the physics performance studies will be presented,
together with an overview of the technical aspects of the upgrade project.
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