Tag Archives: gamma rays

It’s go time for LUX-Zeplin experiment in dark matter

From the physics labs at Yale University to the bottom of a played-out gold mine in South Dakota, a new generation of dark matter experiments is ready to commence.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the National Science Foundation recently gave the go-ahead to LUX-Zeplin (LZ), a key experiment in the hunt for dark matter, the invisible substance that may make up much of the universe. Daniel McKinsey, a professor of physics, leads a contingent of Yale scientists working on the project. (more…)

Read More

State-of-the-Art Beams from Table-Top Accelerators

Berkeley Lab’s lead in laser plasma acceleration research continues with new benchmarks for electron beam quality

Part One: Focusing in on beam focus

The rapidly evolving technology of laser plasma accelerators (LPAs) – called “table-top accelerators” because their length can be measured in centimeters instead of kilometers – promises a new breed of machines, far less expensive and with far less impact on the land and the environment than today’s conventional accelerators.

Future LPAs offer not only compact high-energy colliders for fundamental physics but diminutive light sources as well. These will probe chemical reactions, from artificial photosynthesis to “green catalysis”; unique biological structures, inaccessible to other forms of microscopy yet essential to understanding life and health; and new materials, including low-temperature superconductors, topological insulators, spintronics devices, and graphene nanostructures, which will revolutionize the electronics industry. With intensely bright beams spanning the spectrum from microwaves to gamma rays, table-top accelerators will open new vistas of science. (more…)

Read More

What’s Happening with the Higgs Boson

Berkeley Lab scientists, major contributors to the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, explain what the excitement is about

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, will hold a seminar early in the morning on July 4 to announce the latest results from ATLAS and CMS, two major experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) that are searching for the Higgs boson. Both experimental teams are working down to the wire to finish analyzing their data, and to determine exactly what can be said about what they’ve found.

“We do not yet know what will be shown on July 4th,” says Ian Hinchliffe, a theoretical physicist in the Physics Division at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), who heads the Lab’s participation in the ATLAS experiment. “I have seen many conjectures on the blogs about what will be shown: these are idle speculation. Things are moving very fast this week, and it’s an exciting time at CERN. Many years of hard work are coming to fruition.” (more…)

Read More

Homeland Defense: Novel Radiation Surveillance Technology Could Help Thwart Nuclear Terrorism

Among terrorism scenarios that raise the most concern are attacks involving nuclear devices or materials. For that reason, technology that can effectively detect smuggled radioactive materials is considered vital to U.S. security.

To support the nation’s nuclear-surveillance capabilities, researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) are developing ways to enhance the radiation-detection devices used at ports, border crossings, airports and elsewhere. The aim is to create technologies that will increase the effectiveness and reliability of detectors in the field, while also reducing cost. The work is co-sponsored by the Domestic Nuclear Defense Office of the Department of Homeland Security and by the National Science Foundation. (more…)

Read More

NASA’s WISE Mission Captures Black Hole’s Wildly Flaring Jet

PASADENA, Calif. — Astronomers using NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have captured rare data of a flaring black hole, revealing new details about these powerful objects and their blazing jets.

Scientists study jets to learn more about the extreme environments around black holes. Much has been learned about the material feeding black holes, called accretion disks, and the jets themselves, through studies using X-rays, gamma rays and radio waves. But key measurements of the brightest part of the jets, located at their bases, have been difficult despite decades of work. WISE is offering a new window into this missing link through its infrared observations. (more…)

Read More

Nuclear Materials Detector Shows Exact Location of Radiation Sources

The new Polaris gamma ray detector can pinpoint the location of special nuclear materials, such as those used for dirty bombs or nuclear weapons. Image credit: Zhong He

ANN ARBOR, Mich.— A table-top gamma-ray detector created at the University of Michigan can not only identify the presence of dangerous nuclear materials, but can pinpoint and show their exact location and type, unlike conventional detectors.


“Other gamma ray detectors can tell you perhaps that nuclear materials are near a building, but with our detector, you can know the materials are in room A, or room B, for example,” said Zhong He, an associate professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences. 

“This is the first instrument for this purpose that can give you a real-time image of the radiation source. Not only can we tell you what material is there, but we can tell you where it is, and you can find it and walk towards it.”  (more…)

Read More

The Promise of Ion Beam Cancer Therapy

For certain kinds of cancer, the most effective therapy does not use x-rays or gamma rays but beams of ions, the electrically charged cores of atoms, including hydrogen ions (protons) and heavier ions such as carbon and neon.

About the image: Beams of heavy ions can target hard-to-reach tumors with great accuracy and with minimal damage to surrounding tissues. Heidelberg Ion-Beam Therapy Center. Image credit: Berkeley Lab (more…)

Read More