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Setting a ‘Gold Standard’ for Ultrasensitive Particle Detectors

Alan “Al” Smith was a pioneer in the “low-background counting” performance of particle detectors – their ability to see ever-fainter signatures of particle interactions. He developed the gold standard for measuring trace levels of radioactivity in materials and components.

When Semiconductors Stick Together, Materials Go Quantum

A simple method developed by a Berkeley Lab-led team could turn ordinary semiconducting materials into quantum machines – superthin devices with extraordinary electronic behavior. Such an advancement could help to revolutionize a number of industries aiming for energy-efficient electronic systems – and provide a platform for exotic new physics.

Laser ‘Drill’ Sets a New World Record in Laser-Driven Electron Acceleration

Combining a first laser pulse to heat up and “drill” through a plasma, and another to accelerate electrons to incredibly high energies in just tens of centimeters, scientists have nearly doubled the previous record for laser-driven particle acceleration at Berkeley Lab’s BELLA Center.

Preparing for a New Tool to Study the ‘Glue That Binds Us All’

For several decades, the nuclear science community has been calling for a new type of particle collider to pursue – in the words of one report – “a new experimental quest to study the glue that binds us all.” This glue is responsible for most of the visible universe’s matter and mass. To learn about this glue, scientists are proposing a unique, high-energy collider that smashes accelerated electrons, which carry a negative charge, into charged atomic nuclei or protons, which carry a positive charge.

Award Finalists Demonstrate Improved Nuclear Physics Code for Supercomputing

André Walker-Loud, a staff scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), is co-leader of a team that is among the six finalists for the Association of Computing Machinery’s Gordon Bell Prize that will be awarded this month.

Acrylic Tanks Provide Clear Window Into Dark Matter Detection

Scientists have a new window into the search for dark matter – an acrylic vessel that features a grouping of 12-foot-tall transparent tanks with 1-inch-thick walls. The tanks, which will surround a central detector for a nearly mile-deep experiment under construction in South Dakota called LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), will be filled with liquid that produces tiny flashes of light in some particle interactions.

A Quantum Leap Toward Expanding the Search for Dark Matter

Through a new research program supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of High Energy Physics, a consortium of researchers from Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst will develop sensors that enlist the seemingly weird properties of quantum physics to probe for dark matter particles in new ways, with increased sensitivity, and in uncharted regions.

Berkeley Lab to Push Quantum Information Frontiers With New Programs in Computing, Physics, Materials, and Chemistry

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) this week announced support from the Department of Energy that significantly expands Berkeley Lab’s research efforts in quantum information science, an area of research that harnesses the phenomenon of quantum coherence, in which two or more particles are so tightly entangled that a change to one simultaneously affects the other. Quantum information science seeks to utilize this phenomenon to hold, transmit, and process information.

First Particle Tracks Seen in ProtoDUNE: the Prototype for an International Neutrino Experiment

The largest liquid-argon neutrino detector in the world has just recorded its first particle tracks, signaling the start of a new chapter in the story of the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). DUNE’s scientific mission is dedicated to unlocking the mysteries of neutrinos, the most abundant (and most mysterious) matter particles in the universe.

Gamma Rays, Watch Out: There’s a New Detector in Town

With funding from an Early Career Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) award announced last year, NSD’s Heather Crawford and her team of researchers are developing a prototype for an ultrahigh-rate high-purity germanium (HPGe) detector that can count 2 to 5 million gamma rays per second while maintaining high resolution, allowing them to accurately measure the energy spectrum under extreme conditions.