Last month, ATLAS, the particle detector that helped find the Higg’s boson, got an upgrade. Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN added a new set of sensors, called the Insertable b-Layer, or IBL, into the core of the detector. The IBL will be closer to particle collisions than previous sensors and contain more,
Theory and observations support the view that antimatter experiences gravity just as ordinary matter does, but the evidence so far has been indirect. Indeed, some theorists speculate that antimatter is antigravitational, that it may fall “up” instead of “down.” Led by Berkeley Lab physicists, the ALPHA Collaboration at CERN has made direct measurements of the gravitational mass of atoms of antihydrogen, testing how they fall and in what direction.
CERN’s Large Hadron Collider collides protons most of the year but switches to massive lead nuclei for a month. Collisions of these heavy ions reproduce the quark-gluon plasma that filled the universe millionths of a second after the big bang. Much of the program for quark-gluon plasma studies is shaped by theoretical and experimental contributions from Berkeley Lab’s Nuclear Science Division, as shown by results from ALICE and other experiments during the LHC’s first lead-lead run just concluded.
Atoms of antimatter have been trapped and stored for the first time by the ALPHA collaboration, an international team of scientists working at CERN in Switzerland. Berkeley Lab researchers made key contributions to the effort, including the design of the trap’s crucial component—an octupole magnet—and computer simulations needed to identify real antihydrogen annihilation events against a noisy background.
With support from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Berkeley Lab’s Accelerator and Fusion Research Division is building a test facility for the superconducting magnets of the future. The Large Dipole Facility will provide a critical research tool for testing potential new materials including high-temperature superconductors. Despite their promise, the new materials pose plenty of problems and challenges.
The first direct observation of a muon neutrino turning into a tau neutrino at the Gran Sasso underground laboratory in Italy confirms that indeed neutrinos do oscillate among “flavors.” Berkeley Lab’s Kevin Lesko says the result “really nails the neutrino oscillation phenomenon.”
Beams of protons were brought together in the first focused collisions on Tuesday, March 30, at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. The world’s record collisions open a new realm of high-energy physics.
After more than a year of repairs, the Large Hadron Collider located at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland is back on track to create high-energy particle collisions that may yield extraordinary insights into the nature of the physical universe.
There’s nothing fictional about antimatter. It’s all around us, all the time. Researchers know how to create and store antiparticles, and members of Berkeley Lab’s Accelerator and Fusion Research Division have even helped make antihydrogen atoms at CERN. But gathering enough to fuel a rocket or make a bomb would take so much energy that no one (including the Vatican) needs to worry.
The ALICE detector at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider will study the fireballs that result when energetic lead ions collide, recreating conditions like those when the universe was just a millionth of a second old. An ALICE instrument called EMCal will signal the most interesting events. Designed by an international collaboration spearheaded by scientists and engineers at Berkeley Lab and other U.S. institutions, EMCal is now on its way to completion.