|A road trip to test a magnetic cloak at Argonne National Laboratory|
In December, five students from Stony Brook University in New York and their research professor, Nils Feege, loaded a prototype of a magnetic cloak into an SUV and set off for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, nearly 900 miles away.
The magnetic cloak isn’t a magical garment, but rather a crucial piece of equipment for a possible next-generation particle collider to study nuclear physics.
The proposed Electron-Ion Collider, by smashing beams of electrons and protons together at near light speed, would be the most powerful microscope yet developed for understanding how the mass of the proton is dynamically generated from the interaction of quarks and gluons, and in doing so help illuminate the forces that account for the mass of the visible universe.
Feege and his team needed to build a cylinder with two counterbalancing layers that would shield the beams from the magnetic field of the detector near the collision point without distorting the rest of the field.
Feege and his students spent nearly three years building their prototype at Stony Brook. Initial tests looked promising, but they needed to do a full-scale test in a strong and uniform magnetic field that was large enough to fit the device itself while leaving enough room to measure the field around it.
Hence the road trip to Argonne, where the team came to be the first visitors to use a new facility built by Argonne’s high-energy physics division called the 4 Tesla Magnet Facility.
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