The core of AMS is a large doughnut-shaped powerful permanent magnet with a magnetic field 4000 times more intense than the magnetic field of Earth.
10 000 particles per second pass through AMS. Its Anti-Coincidence Counter will discard around 80% of these particles that enter at the wrong angle and save the useful ones for analysis.
The silicon tracker is the only subdetector able to distinguish directly among matter and antimatter by determining whether the electrical charge is positive or negative.
AMS has around 300 000 electronic channels transferring information about the detected particles from the silicon tracker, equivalent to all of the Space Station’s data channels combined.
AMS uses 650 electronics boards with special radiation-tolerant chips, developed for high-energy physics, which are about ten times faster than typical space computers. They transform the signals from the detectors into digital information for ground-based computers to analyse.
The experiment will produce a data stream of 7 gigabits per second, reduced to a 2 megabits average of downlink bandwidth after online processing.
AMS has a startracker and GPS for accurate position and orientation.
AMS weighs 6918 kg and is over 4.5 m wide.