In the beginning, for a brief instant, the dominant state of matter in our universe was a gaseous soup of sub- atomic particles known as quarks and gluons. From this primordial soup-called a quark-gluon plasma-the stars were born.

To learn more about quark gluon plasmas, scientists are creating a new STAR, the Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC. A major component of the STAR detector is a barrel-shaped Time Projection Chamber which is now being assembled here at Berkeley Lab. To fabricate the 48 copper sectors that will make up the heart of the TPC, technicians have to work under antiseptic conditions. Otherwise, exposure to dust could impair the performance of the sectors, each of which is composed of thousands of sensors and electronic amplifiers. When completed, the STAR detector will be installed at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) now under construction at Brookhaven National Laboratory.