Following initial R&D work on both the ΔE-E silicon and cesiumiodide modules and fast timing detectors 2006-2007, the LYCCA Technical Design Report was submitted June 2008 and approved by the FAIR management in October 2008. In Sweden, this led to the approved investment grant for the complete set of ΔE-E modules and associated electronics, followed by an operational grant of the LYCCA-0 system at the GSI facility. The latter covered both the initial PRESPEC in-beam phase as well as the PRESPEC-AGATA phase.
The timely operation of a demonstrator system has been achieved by March 2010 for experiment S272. A system of four modules in the final LYCCA chamber prepared at the workshop of the University of Cologne was employed. Later in 2010, some 40% of the full LYCCA device, named LYCCA-0, had been assembled together with the first generation of ultra-fast timing detectors. This set-up was successfully used in the so-called PRESPEC experiments at GSI in 2010 and early 2011.
LYCCA-0 has been upgraded to include 16 (2012) ΔE-E modules for the PRESPEC-AGATA-LYCCA campaign. For this campaign, GSI has reserved a rather large contingent of 12 weeks of beam time, provided scientific excellence guaranteed by final evaluations by the GSI Programme Advisory Committee. At a workshop at Istanbul in May 2010, 34 Letters of Intent were presented to use this world-unique setup. Science and technical evaluation within the PRESPEC community led to a reduction to eleven proposals for the 2012 experiments, which were submitted to the General Programme Advisory Committee (G-PAC) of GSI in Fall 2011. Eight of these were approved, one of which is led by the Lund NUSTAR group. This experiment was the first out of five conducted in late 2012, while the remaining ones were pre-scheduled for 2014. Due to beam-time restrictions, only a limited number of PRESPEC-AGATA experiments could be performed at GSI in 2014.
Following the completion of the PRESPEC-AGATA campaign Spring 2014, the LYCCA chamber move to Daresbury, UK, to allow for convenient additions of the UK contributions, primarily the upgrade with ASIC-based front-end cards to process the full set of LYCCA DSSSD detectors.
At present, the LYCCA detector system is installed and commissioned at a dedicated beam line at the 10-MV Tandem Accelerator of the University of Cologne, Germany. Following a successful test of a large ToF membrane, which covers the full 40-cm diameter of the final FAIR LYCCA wall configuration, the inner mechanics have been adopted to allow for meaningful nuclear reaction physics studies with up to 24 LYCCA ΔE-E modules, here at the much lower beam energies of the tandem accelerator. The idea is to set-up and maintain LYCCA detectors, electronics, and its NUSTAR data acquistion at Cologne until the system can be moved into the Low-Energy Branch cave of the FAIR-NUSTAR facility in 202x.
In the meantime and based on the first prototypes, further R&D towards more and more sophisticated time-of-flight systems is on the way. The two ways to follow is heavy-ion rate capability and time resolution - though it is a tough challenge to improve on the present time resolution of σ~10 ps, i.e. 0.00000000001 seconds!