Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Nuclear & Particle Physics

Committee Director

Sebastian Kuhn

Committee Member

Sebastian Kuhn

Committee Member

Jay Van Orden

Committee Member

Yuan Zhang

Committee Member

John Adam


A Radial Time Projection Chamber (RTPC) was designed and installed in Jefferson Lab's Hall B as part of the BONuS12 (Barely Off-shell Nucleon Structure) experiment. The goal of BONuS12 is to accurately measure the structure function of the neutron by scattering 11 GeV electrons and detecting them with the CLAS12 spectrometer. Deuterium gas was used as an effective neutron target, and the new RTPC was used to detect low- momentum spectator protons. Protons follow a curved path in the 5 Tesla solenoid that is part of CLAS12, ionizing the He-CO2 gas in an annular drift region surrounding the target. These ionization electrons are radially drifted outwards, amplified using cylindrical GEM (Gaseous Electron Multiplication) foils and recorded using readout pads located along the entire outer face of the cylindrical detector. The particle track reconstruction software discussed in detail in this thesis uses the signals from these pads to build tracks, which are reconstructed into the drift region using the arrival times of the signals and the positions of the pads. The proton momentum is measured from the track's curvature and thus used to extract information about the struck neutron. This thesis introduces the theory of spectator tagging as an effective strategy for measuring neutron structure, by minimizing nuclear effects in the absence of a free neutron target. Along with discussing the many detectors that make up the CLAS12 spectrometer, the RTPC will be covered in detail, along with the tracking software designed to interpret the electronic signals to rebuild the low-momentum particle tracks, and fit them to extract the relevant kinematics. The results of the software, and preliminary analysis will be shown in the final chapter, as well as the discussion of possible improvements which could be made to the tracking software.


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