The spin of a particle can most easily be compared to the rotating movement of a spinning top. In the HERMES experiment at the HERA particle accelerator in Hamburg, physicists are investigating how the spin of protons can be explained by the characteristics of their building blocks: quarks and gluons.
Van der Nat investigated a method to measure the contribution of the spin of the quarks to the total spin of the proton, independent of the contribution of the spin of the gluons. For this a quark is shot out of the proton by an electron from the particle accelerator, as a result of which two hadrons are formed. The direction and amount of motion of these two hadrons is accurately measured. This method, which Van der Nat applied for the first time, turned out to be successful.
Spin is a characteristic property of particles, just like matter and electrical charge. Spin was discovered in 1925, by the Dutch physicists Goudsmit and Uhlenbeck. In 1987, scientists at CERN in Geneva discovered that only a small fraction of the proton's spin is caused by the spin of its constituent quarks. The HERMES experiment was subsequently set up to find this missing quantity of spin, and has been running since 1995.
It is expected that spin will play an increasingly important role in many applications. The MRI scanner is a well-known example of an application in which the spin of protons plays a key role.
Sonja Knols | alfa
Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
Shape matters when light meets atom
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
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