CDF stands for the Collider Detector at Fermilab. CDF is an experiment at Fermilab which studies high energy proton-antiproton collisions from data collected through 2011 from the Tevatron. The Tevatron accelerated protons and antiprotons close to the speed of light, made them collide head-on inside the CDF detector and we study the products of such collisions. By doing this we try to reconstruct what happened in the collision and ultimately try to figure out how matter is put together and what forces nature uses to create the world around us. The goal is to discover the identity and properties of the particles that make up the universe and to understand the interactions between those particles.

A Brief Introduction to the CDF Experiment

The CDF (Collider Detector experiment at Fermilab) is an international collaboration of about 500 Physicists (from about 30 American universities and National laboratories, etc, plus also from about 30 groups from universities and national laboratories from Italy, Japan, UK, Canada, Germany, Spain, Russia, Finland, France, Taiwan, Korea, Switzerland, etc.). We have built the 100-ton CDF detector (about 40' high with a 40' x 40' base) at the Fermilab Tevatron collider (colliding high energy-- approximately 1 TeV--protons with anti-protons) with the goal of measuring exceptional events out of the billions of collisions to

  • Look for the production of New Physics
  • Measure and study the production and decay of heavy particles such as the Top and Bottom Quarks, and the W and Z bosons.
  • Measure and study the production of High Energy jets and photons
  • Other studies such as diffraction, etc.

HIGH ENERGY PROTONS AND ANTIPROTONS COLLISIONS--The Tevatron collider, currently the highest energy collider in the world, studies the collision of 1000 GeV protons with 1000 GeV anti-protons. As you may know, Einstein's special relativity says that as a particle gets more energetic, it gets more massive (according to the famous E = mc2 formula). The Tevatron is an accelerator which uses alternating electric current (in special RF cavities) to speed up the protons (and antiprotons--in the following protons refers to both protons and antiprotons) to within a small fraction of the speed of light, thus making these energetic protons have a mass that is more than 1000 times the mass of a proton at rest! The magnets around the circular Tevatron bend the protons into a 4-mile circumferance ring thus enabling the RF cavities to repeatedly speed up the protons. Once the protons reach the energy of about 1000 GeV (G mean Giga of 109, and T means Teva 1012), the magnet in the ring makes the beam of protons collide with the beam of antiprotons and continue for up to 30 hours, until the proton beams are dissipated.

Please see the associated web pages which follows up on things discussed in this web page---

(Optional) The Wikipedia entry for The Standard Model for High Energy Physics

(Optional)--Next, we describe a little about Doing High Energy Experiments , the typical timeline of a High Energy Physics experiment, How many of us become Physicists, and some issues of how we do Physics analysis.

Next, we provide here an introduction to the physics processes being studied by the CDF experiment

For a description of the experiment see an introduction to the CDF Detector along with short descriptions of the particles we measure, how are they distinguished from each other, and how we reconstruct the event and do the analysis to obtain a physics result.

Here's a short introduction to the CDF Event Displays, a tool we use to help us understand the events, and also provide a visual view of what is happening in interesting events.

Finally, we provide here some further topics that might be of interest -- additional comments on the CDF experiment --including the discovery of the top and bottom quarks, a note on signal vs. background, and other topics.