Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Probing the Secrets of the Universe Inside a Metal Box

13.05.2015

Record-smashing new shield creates a large volume with a magnetic field even smaller than that found in the depths of outer space, making certain types of searches for physics beyond the Standard Model possible for the first time

The Standard Model of particle physics, sometimes called "The Theory of Almost Everything," is the best set of equations to date that describes the universe's fundamental particles and how they interact. Yet the theory has holes -- including the absence of an adequate explanation for gravity, the inability to explain the asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the early universe, which gave rise to the stars and galaxies, and the failure to identify fundamental dark matter particles or account for dark energy.


Technische Universität Müchen

This image shows the inner three layers of the magnetic shield (also known as the insert), and the cylindrical layer with 780 copper rods. The cylindrical layer is used to generate a very uniform magnetic field, which is necessary for EDM experiments. Also shown are two measurement devices: A mercury magnetometer is placed between the wooden support structure, and a high precision pendulum device, which is used for the absolute alignment of conventional magnetic field probes, is on top of the support table.

Researchers now have a new tool to aid in the search for physics beyond the good, but yet incomplete Standard Model. An international team of scientists has designed and tested a magnetic shield that is the first to achieve an extremely low magnetic field over a large volume. The device provides more than 10 times better magnetic shielding than previous state-of-the art shields. The record-setting performance makes it possible for scientists to measure certain properties of fundamental particles at higher levels of precision -- which in turn could reveal previously hidden physics and set parameters in the search for new particles.

The researchers describe the new magnetic shield in a paper in the Journal of Applied Physics, from AIP Publishing.

High precision measurements are one of three frontiers to search for physics beyond the Standard Model, explained Tobias Lins, a doctoral student who worked on the new magnetic shield in the research lab of Professor Peter Fierlinger at the Technische Universität München in Germany. The precision measurements complement other methods to search for new physics, including slamming particles together in a collider to generate new, high-energy particles, and peering into space to catch signals from the early universe.

"Precision experiments are able to probe nature up to energy scales which might not be accessible by current and next generation collider experiments," Lins said. That's because the existence of exotic new particles can slightly alter the properties of already known particles. A tiny deviation from the expected properties may indicate that an as-yet-undiscovered fundamental particle inhabits the "particle zoo."

Constructing the Shield

The researchers built the new shield out of several layers of a special alloy, composed of nickel and iron, that has a high degree of magnetic permeability -- meaning it can act like a sponge to absorb and redirect an applied magnetic field, like the earth's own magnetic field or fields generated by equipment such as motors and transformers.

"The apparatus might be compared to cuboid Russian nesting dolls," Lins said. "Like the dolls, most layers can be used individually and with an increasing number of layers the inside is more and more protected."

The team's big breakthrough came from in-depth numerical modeling of the arrangement of the precision treated magnetizable alloy, resulting in significantly optimized design details, like thickness, connections and spacing of layers.

The materials in magnetic shields change their magnetization due to environmental influences, like temperature changes and vibrations caused by passing cars, and these shifts can be passed to the inside of the shield. The thinner sheets in the new design enabled a better balancing of the magnetic field in the metal, resulting in the smallest and most homogenous magnetic field ever created within the shielded space, even beating the average ambient magnetic field of the interstellar medium.

New Experiments Ahead

Plans are already underway to use the new magnetic shield in an experiment to test limits for the distribution of charges (called the electric dipole moment, or EDM) of an isotope of xenon. An EDM that is higher than predicted by the Standard Model could signal the existence of a new particle whose mass is linked to the amount by which the EDM deviates from the expected value.

The researchers also want to use a modified SQUID detector -- which can detect extremely subtle magnetic fields -- to search for long theorized, but never detected magnetic monopoles. Within the magnetically quiet space inside the shield, a monopole passing by the SQUID might produce a magnetic field higher than the background noise level, Lins said.

The article, "A large-scale magnetic shield with 10^6 damping at millihertz frequencies," is authored by I. Altarev, M. Bales, D. H. Beck, T. Chupp, K. Fierlinger, P. Fierlinger, F. Kuchler, T. Lins, M. G. Marino, B. Niessen, G. Petzoldt, U. Schläpfer, A. Schnabel, J. T. Singh, R. Stoepler, S. Stuiber, M. Sturm, B. Taubenheim and J. Voigt. It will be published in the Journal of Applied Physics on May 12, 2015 (DOI: 10.1063/1.4919366). After that date, it can be accessed at: http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/jap/117/18/10.1063/1.4919366

The authors of this paper are affiliated with the universities Technische Universität Müchen, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Michigan and Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt Berlin and the industry partner IMEDCO AG as manufacturer of the shield.

ABOUT THE JOURNAL
Journal of Applied Physics is an influential international journal publishing significant new experimental and theoretical results of applied physics research. See: http://jap.aip.org

Contact Information
Catherine Meyers
Media Services Writer
cmeyers@aip.org
Phone: 301-209-3088

Catherine Meyers | newswise

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'
26.05.2017 | University of Leicester

nachricht Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect
24.05.2017 | Vienna University of Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>