The Northern Illinois Center for Accelerator and Detector Development (NICADD) was founded in 2001 to foster and support the development of a new generation of accelerator and detector technologies in northern Illinois and to provide high technology educational and research opportunities for students and residents of Illinois. The three center objectives, namely, (1) the advancement of accelerator research and development, (2) the advancement of detector research and development, and (3) the provision of educational opportunities in science and technology, all serve to broaden the research tradition established by the local national laboratories and to help ensure that Northern Illinois University remains an established center of research and education.
NICADD personnel collaborate closely with scientists at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory. The NICADD experimental particle physics group has been involved in the operation of particle detectors at Fermilab and in Europe and in the development of new detectors and detector technologies for future experiments. The experimental particle physics group established a detector development laboratory at NIU and also owns and operates with Fermilab a plastic scintillator extruder at Fermilab used to make particle detector components.
The beam and accelerator physics group is developing particle beam simulations and diagnostics for the next generation particle accelerators. This is the strongest university-based accelerator physics group in Illinois. The group has built and maintains a 100-plus node computational cluster and an intense source laboratory facility at NIU. Work is underway to develop a second laboratory in collaboration with the national laboratories. The NIU facilities are used for the evaluation of simulations and diagnostics.
These efforts over the past decade represent significant contributions to the future of accelerator and particle physics in the northern Illinois region, satisfying two of the primary objectives of the center. In 2009 about twenty graduate students were involved in research at NICADD, meeting the third center objective.