We have constructed and operated the ICARUS T600 liquid argon (LAr) time projection chamber (TPC). The ICARUS T600 detector is the largest LAr TPC ever built, with a size of about 500 tons of fully imaging mass. The design and assembly of the detector relied on industrial support and represents the applications of concepts matured in laboratory tests to the kton scale.
The ICARUS T600 was commissioned for a technical run that lasted about 3 months. During this period all the detector features were extensively tested with an exposure to cosmic-rays at surface with a resulting data collection of about 30 000 events.
The detector was developed as the first element of a modular design. Thanks to the concept of modularity, it will be possible to realize a detector with several ktons active mass, to act as an observatory for astroparticle and neutrino physics at the Gran Sasso Underground Laboratory and a second-generation nucleon decay experiment.
In this paper a description of the ICARUS T600 is given, detailing its design specifications, assembly procedures and acceptance tests. Commissioning procedures and results of the technical run are also reported, as well as results from the off-line event reconstruction.