Anything over eight feet tall, six feet wide and weighing over 20 tons might be expected to have a healthy appetite. But no traditional foods are ingested by this behemoth. For the BigBite magnet, the nourishment of choice is subatomic particles, and lots of them. The BigBite spectrometer, which consists of the magnet along with its detectors, will be able to discern scattered particles over a range of energies and angles far greater than can be obtained with the other spectrometers used in Jefferson Labs Hall A.
BigBite is the latest addition to the Department of Energys Jefferson Lab family of particle detectors. It comes via the Netherlands National Institute for Nuclear and High Energy Physics, NIKHEF, in Amsterdam which commissioned the magnets construction by Russian scientists in 1994. When the NIKHEF accelerator ceased operations in 1999, the institute sold the magnet to Jefferson Lab. The magnet was stored until, with the approval of a trio of Hall A experiments, researchers began refurbishing the magnet and building the associated particle detectors.
"BigBite will be able to work with the Hall A high resolution spectrometers or stand alone," says Douglas Higinbotham, the Hall A staff scientist who is coordinating the BigBite project. "There are three upcoming experiments that will definitely put BigBite through its paces. Four other experiments, proposed but not yet approved by the Labs program advisory committee, also wish to use BigBite."
Linda Ware | EurekAlert!
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