Making antimatter transportable

CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

March 11, 2018

Antimatter vanishes instantly when it meets matter. But researchers have developed ways to trap it and increase its lifespan in order to use it to study matter. A new project called PUMA (antiProton Unstable Matter Annihilation) aims to trap a record one billion antiprotons at CERN’s GBAR experiment at the ELENA facility and keep them for several weeks.

Image above: Panoramic view of the low energy beam lines in the ISOLDE hall (Image: Samuel Morier-Genoud/CERN).

Such a long storage time would allow the trapped antiprotons to be loaded into a van and transported to the neighbouring ISOLDE ion-beam facility located a few hundred metres away. At ISOLDE, the antiprotons would then be collided with radioactive ions so that exotic nuclear phenomena could be studied.

To trap the antiprotons for long enough for them to be transported and used at ISOLDE, PUMA plans to use a 70-cm-long “double-zone” trap inside a one-tonne superconducting solenoid magnet and keep it under an extremely high vacuum (10-17 mbar) and at cryogenic temperature (4 K). The so-called storage zone of the trap will confine the antiprotons, while the second zone will host collisions between the antiprotons and radioactive nuclei that are produced at ISOLDE but decay too rapidly to be transported and studied elsewhere.

Image above: The ELENA ring prior to the start of first beam in 2016 (Image: CERN).

The project hopes to study the properties of radioactive nuclei by measuring the pion particles emitted in the collisions between the nuclei and the antiprotons. Such measurements would help determine how often the antiprotons annihilate with the nuclei’s protons or neutrons, and, therefore, their relative densities at the surface of the nucleus. The relative densities would then indicate whether the nuclei have exotic properties, such as thick neutron skins, which correspond to a significantly higher density of neutrons than protons at the nuclear surface, and extended halos of protons or neutrons around the nuclear core.

Today, CERN is the only place in the world where low-energy antiprotons are produced, but “this project might lead to the democratisation of the use of antimatter”, says Alexandre Obertelli, a physicist from the Darmstadt technical university TU Darmstadt who is leading the project. He plans to build and develop the solenoid, trap and detector in the coming two years, with the aim of producing the first collisions at CERN in 2022.

Image above: Antimatter’s journey between the ELENA and ISOLDE facilities (Image: CERN).

Obertelli was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council and the five-year PUMA project was launched in January this year. Along with researchers from RIKEN in Japan and CEA Saclay and IPN Orsay in France, he has submitted a letter of intent to CERN’s experiment committee to pave the way towards PUMA becoming a CERN-recognised experiment.

Find out more: http://cern.ch/go/M8lp

Note:

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 22 Member States.

Related links:

Darmstadt technical university: https://www.tu-darmstadt.de/vorbeischauen/aktuell/news_details_198528.en.jsp

ELENA: https://home.cern/about/accelerators/antiproton-decelerator

ISOLDE: https://home.cern/about/experiments/isolde

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit: https://home.cern/

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/Cristina Agrigoroae.

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Accelerator hibernation ends

CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

March 11, 2018

Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Image Credit: CERN

On 9 March 2018, marks the end of CERN’s annual winter shut down. The Laboratory’s massive accelerator complex will soon begin to lumber out of its winter hibernation and resume accelerating and colliding particles.

But while the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has not been filled with protons since the Year-End Technical Stop (YETS) began on 4 December 2017, its tunnels and experimental caverns have been packed with people performing maintenance and repairs as well as testing components for future accelerators.

What’s up at CERN during the “winter shutdown”?

Video above: Watch this short overview of activities from around the LHC ring during the YETS (Video: CERN).

CERN’s Engineering department hands the accelerator complex back to the Beams department, who will commence hardware commissioning for 2018. This commissioning will culminate in the restart of the LHC, planned for early April.

Find out more about what has been happening during the winter shutdown for the LHC, the injectors and the experiments.

Note:

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 22 Member States.

Related links:

Large Hadron Collider (LHC): https://home.cern/topics/large-hadron-collider

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit: https://home.cern/

Image (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/Achintya Rao.

Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link

Uruguay’s capital digs into its colonial past

The recent discovery of vestiges of early Montevideo’s colonial-era defense system has provided an opportunity to enhance and integrate a past that was buried under the Old City into the current urban landscape, Uruguayan archaeologist Veronica De Leon said in an interview with EFE.

Uruguay's capital digs into its colonial past
A worker digging out the remains of a fortification, from an early colonial-era defense system, in Montevideo, Uruguay
[Credit: EPA-EFE/Municipality of Montevideo]

De Leon, who has studied the impact of public works in the Old City, found the remains of fortifications that have not yet been assessed by the National Heritage Commission.

The most recent find involved the San Carlos Battery, an artillery emplacement near the port of Montevideo, but De Leon said other historical vestiges of colonial Montevideo have been found in the city’s oldest district in recent years.

One includes remnants of the colonial city’s fortifications found in 2017 during work on sidewalks around Plaza Zabala, named in memory of the Spanish colonial outpost’s founder and first governor, Bruno Mauricio de Zabala.

“Last year, we started monitoring public works at Plaza Zabala and by late August some walls were found,” the archaeologist said. “We were able to identify the remains as a portion of the colonial fort in Montevideo that was completed around December 1725.”

Near the Taranco Palace, located across from Plaza Zabala, other structures found could have been part of the colonial governors residence built after 1740.

Uruguay's capital digs into its colonial past
View of the remains of a fortification, from an early colonial-era defense system, in Montevideo, Uruguay
[Credit: EPA-EFE/Municipality of Montevideo]

“(There) have been other finds outside what was then the walled city, like the colonial water fountain located where the annex of the Executive Tower, the current presidential office building, is now,” De Leon said.

The artillery emplacements found recently, like the rest of the fortifications, underwent numerous upgrades over the decades until they were dismantled by on government orders in 1829, four years after the country became independent Uruguay.

“There are different reports and documents that refer to those (upgrades), including the bastions at the Ciudadela, the high-walled fortification built around the Old City in 1741 that comprises some segments of stone wall and others with earthen levees,” the archaeologist said.

The Ciudadela became a produce market, the fortifications were demolished and the stones were later used in other buildings.

This explains why in the area where the San Carlos Battery was found there were also vestiges of a cistern along with houses built during the 19th century after the network of walled fortifications was dismantled.

Author: Alejandro Prieto | Source: EFE-EPA [March 11, 2018]

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