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The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
  • 2017-10-10 08:05:05
  • Article ID: 682496

Explorations of the Universal Glue

The newly upgraded CEBAF Accelerator opens door to strong force studies.

  • Credit: Image courtesy of Jefferson Lab

    Experimental Hall D is Jefferson Lab’s newest experimental station and is part of the 12-GeV Upgrade; it is being used to stage an experiment to study the strong force.

The Science

Scientists have been rigorously commissioning the experimental equipment to prepare for a new era of nuclear physics experiments. This equipment is at the newly upgraded Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at Jefferson Lab in Newport News, Virginia. These activities have already led to the first scientific result. This research demonstrates the feasibility of detecting a potential new form of matter.

The Impact

The result demonstrates the feasibility of detecting hybrid mesons. These mesons are particles that are built of the same stuff as ordinary protons and neutrons: quarks bound together by the “glue” of the strong force. But unlike ordinary mesons, the glue in hybrid mesons behaves differently. The research provides a window into how mesons and other particles that are smaller than atoms are built by the strong force. The study also offers insights into “quark confinement” — why no quark has ever been found alone.

Summary

The first experimental result has been published from the newly upgraded Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF). The 12-GeV CEBAF Upgrade is a $338 million, multi-year project to triple CEBAF's original operational energy for investigating the quark structure of the atom's nucleus. The upgrade is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2017. This first result demonstrates the feasibility of detecting a potential new form of matter. It comes from the Gluonic Excitations Experiment, which is staged in the new Experimental Hall D that was built as part of the upgrade. GlueX collaborators are working to produce new particles, called hybrid mesons, which are particles in which both the quarks and the strong-force gluons have a role in the structure. Producing and studying the spectrum of these particles will provide nuclear physicists a window to “quark confinement” — why no quark has ever been found alone. Data were collected over a two-week period following equipment commissioning in the spring of 2016. The experiment produced two ordinary mesons called the neutral pion and the eta, and the production mechanisms of these two particles were carefully studied. The data provided powerful new information on meson production mechanisms, ruling out several, and the data also showed that the GlueX experiment can produce timely results.

Funding

This work was supported in part by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Chilean Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the China Scholarship Council, and the Hubei Nuclear Solid Physics Key Laboratory. This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Nuclear Physics under contract DE-AC05-06OR23177.

Publication

H. Al Ghoul, et al. (GlueX Collaboration), “Measurement of the beam asymmetry Σ for π0 and η photoproduction on the proton at Eγ = 9 GeV.” Physical Review C 95, 042201 (2017). [DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevC.95.042201]

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Jefferson Lab Completes 12 GeV Upgrade

Nuclear physicists are now poised to embark on a new journey of discovery into the fundamental building blocks of the nucleus of the atom. The completion of the 12 GeV Upgrade Project of the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) heralds this new era to image nuclei at their deepest level.

Sunderrajan to Lead Science and Technology Partnerships and Outreach Directorate

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Career Awards Advance Research for Jefferson Lab Researchers

Two researchers affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility have received 2017 Early Career Research Program awards from the DOE's Office of Science.


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On-Demand 3-D Printing of Tiny Magic Wands

Direct writing of pure-metal structures may advance novel light sources, sensors and information storage technologies.

Heavy Quarks Probe the Early Universe

New studies of behaviors of particles containing heavy quarks shed light into what the early universe looked like in its first microseconds.

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Seven-year study explains how packets of light are exchanged when protons meet electrons.

Explorations of the Universal Glue

The newly upgraded CEBAF Accelerator opens door to strong force studies.

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Genome-wide rice studies yield first major, large-scale collection of mutations for grass model crops, vital to boosting biofuel production.


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