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DOE announce BNL to be future site for Electron Ion Collider  

On January 9, 2020, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that Brookhaven National laboratory (BNL) will host the $1.6 to $2.6 billion Electron Ion Collider (EIC) facility. Under the leadership of Prof. Abhay Deshpande and through the Center for Frontiers of Nuclear Science (CNFS) faculty from Stony Brook's Department of Physics and Astronomy have worked for years to make the EIC a reality. The decision to build the EIC at BNL will put Stony Brook physics on course to play a leading role in nuclear physics for decades to come. Read the announcement from BNL here or follow this link to read the Stony brook University news.

Read on for more details about the EIC:

Understanding protons and neutrons (the nucleons) the building blocks of the nuclei has advanced significantly in the past century. We know that they are made up of quarks and gluons that bind themselves inside the nucleons tightly by their strong color force. Nuclear physicists try to understand the structure and properties of the nucleons emerging from the interactions (quantum chromodynamics, QCD) of the quarks and gluons. These same interactions are also responsible for binding the nucleons inside the nuclei, exactly how? - we don't know. Viewing nucleons and nuclei as complex interactions of many-body systems gives rise to intriguing fundamental questions about the nature of observable matter in the Universe.

The Electron Ion Collider (EIC) will address three important aspects of the above quark-gluon interactions, with a particular focus on the study of role of gluons in QCD. First, it will investigate the detailed mechanism of nucleon's mass generation from these interactions. The intriguing thing here is that the gluons are massless and the quarks are almost massless. Astonishingly the entire man of the nucleons (and hence the visible universe) seems to come from massless gluons and almost massless quarks through there color interactions. Second, the EIC will help us understand how the spin (the angular momentum) of the nucleons comes about as an emergent property from the (same) interacting gluons and quarks that generate its mass!. We only know that the quarks' and gluons' intrinsic spin (alignment) contributes about 50% of the nucleon's spin. The remaining 50% then has to come from their orbital motion & dynamics. The EIC will try to capture images of quarks and gluons in their dynamical motion inside the proton and measure their orbital angular momentum. Lastly, gluons which are far less visible than the valence quarks, play a subtle but very critical role in QCD. The EIC will study the detailed role of the gluons including at the highest energy where they are predicted to form a novel form of matter called the Color Glass Condensate (CGC). If the CGC exists, the EIC will be able to study it cleanly, precisely and unambiguously with ultimate experimental control.

The above compelling scientific investigations can only be addressed by an Electron Ion Collider because it will have polarized beams (electron and hadron), high luminosity (more than two order of magnitude over the previous electron-proton collider) over a wide range in the Center-of-Mass energy, and multiple species of nuclei. These rather daunting requirements on the accelerator operations implies that the EIC will not only push nuclear science to its frontier, but will also do the same to accelerator science & technology.

The proposal for EIC at BNL includes adding an electron beam facility of energy up to 18 GeV colliding with RHIC beam resulting in the desired e-p Center of Mass energy range of 20-140 GeV, with polarized beams, and up to 90 GeV for electron-nucleus collisions. On December 19, 2019 the EIC was given a green light (approval of "mission need" or "CD0") by the US Department of Energy (DOE). On January 9, 2020, the BNL was chosen as the site of the future EIC. Jefferson Lab will work in close partnership with BNL and the EIC Users Group to realize the EIC at BNL. Significant participation from other laboratories and institutions in the US and abroad are also anticipated. The technically driven construction schedule could realize the first collisions of the EIC around 2030.

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