Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Jefferson Lab’s Hall A experiment examines how energy becomes matter

01.11.2002



Just as matter can be converted into energy, so too can energy become matter. That’s what five-dozen Jefferson Lab researchers were counting on for an experiment in Hall A

Albert Einstein figured it out by 1905, as he was formulating his special theory of relativity: while you can’t exactly get something from nothing, you can come close. His famous formula, E=MC2, works both ways. Just as matter can be converted into energy, so too can energy become matter.

That’s just what five dozen researchers were counting on with a Jefferson Lab experiment in Hall A that used the Lab’s electron beam and a liquid hydrogen target to bring to life an unusual particle known as a kaon. The kaon’s unique structure could prove of great help to cosmologists, who should be able to use the results of experiments like the Hall A effort to develop structural models of stellar objects made up of exotic, or "strange" matter, matter that includes kaons as part of their own subatomic architectures. Preliminary findings indicate that kaon production results from the interactions of the particles of light known as photons. The photons create more than just kaons, however. They also produce other particles, known as lambda and sigma, with their own distinctive quark structure. All arise from a constantly churning sea of "virtual" particles that can’t exist until bumped by a jolt of energy such as that provided by the Lab’s accelerator.



"When these things get produced, we’re trying to understand how they’re made," says experiment co-spokesperson Pete Markowitz, associate professor of physics at Florida International University in Miami. "And: what do they look like? We’re trying to come up with a detailed picture of how quarks ’live’ in the nucleus."

The first challenge confronting the Hall A researchers in their experimental run that concluded this past March was to actually make enough of the rare, fleeting particles. The task was a difficult one, considering that kaons contain a matter-antimatter pair of an "anti-strange" quark and one "up" quark (quarks are thought by many scientists to be the basic building blocks of matter). Should a particle of antimatter collide with one of normal matter, both particles are instantly converted to energy, a process that doesn’t lend itself to easy observation.

The Hall A scientists succeeded in making enough kaons for long enough to be able to probe the particle’s internal details. In essence, the researchers "paid" for the kaon-constituent quarks to come into existence by using the electron beam’s energy. "We created a kaon essentially out of nothing by giving it a jolt of energy," Markowitz says. "Then our job was to measure the properties of that creation. We wanted to determine which parts of the kaon are quark-like. We’d like to identify exactly how kaons get made. What description, theoretically speaking, is the most appropriate?"

Planning for the first kaon experiment began in 1993 when Markowitz first conceived the idea. A follow-on investigation that will study another strange-matter particle, known as a hyperon, is scheduled for 2004 and will involve a team of up to 80 researchers, most of whom worked on the kaon experiment.

"[The hyperon study] will be the first time in history that people will be able to see what’s going on, and at high resolution," Markowitz says. "We’ll be creating a new form of matter. I’m really excited about this experiment."

by James Schultz

Linda Ware | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jlab.org/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors
20.07.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

nachricht Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information
19.07.2017 | Universität Basel

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: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>