Construction, test and operation in a high intensity beam of a small system of micro-strip gas chambers
We describe the construction, test and installation procedures, and the experience gained with the operation of a small but complete system of high-rate Micro-Strip Gas Chambers, made on thin borosilicate glass with a diamond-like coating with chromium or gold strips. A set of detectors, fully equipped with read-out electronics and each with an active area of 100 × 100 mm 2, was exposed during six months to a high-intensity muon beam at CERN with a peak intensity of ∼ 10 4 mm -2s -1. Continuous monitoring of the performance of the chambers during the beam runs allowed the evaluation of detection efficiency and the monitoring of accidental rates, as well as the study of ambient induced variations and aging in realistic beam conditions. No significant difference has been found in the operation of under-and over-coated plates. Efficiencies could reach ∼ 98% in best operating conditions, although local lower values were often observed due to missing channels (open strips, broken bonds and dead electronic channels). The long-term operation of the chambers has been more difficult than expected, with the appearance of break-downs and loss of efficiency in some detectors, possibly induced by the presence of small gas leaks, to water permeation or to residual reactivity of the quencher gas (dimethylether).