Resistive plate chambers (RPC) are fast gaseous detectors that provide a muon trigger system parallel with those of the DTs and CSCs.
RPCs consist of two parallel plates, a positively-charged anode and a negatively-charged cathode, both made of a very high resistivity plastic material and separated by a gas volume.
When a muon passes through the chamber, electrons are knocked out of gas atoms. These electrons in turn hit other atoms causing an avalanche of electrons. The electrodes are transparent to the signal (the electrons), which are instead picked up by external metallic strips after a small but precise time delay. The pattern of hit strips gives a quick measure of the muon momentum, which is then used by the trigger to make immediate decisions about whether the data are worth keeping. RPCs combine a good spatial resolution with a time resolution of just one nanosecond (one billionth of a second).