CAREER: Low-energy Nuclear Physics and Fundamental Symmetries with Neutrons and Cryogenic Technologies

Project Details


The neutron is one of the simplest building blocks of matter and also one of the most useful in understanding and testing some of the most fundamental concepts of physics. This award will support the PI in leadership roles in two high-profile experiments that will use novel technologies to advance those experiments. One experiment will determine with high sensitivity whether the neutron has a permanent distribution of charge, which would have profound impacts on how time and energy symmetries are related. The PI plans to optimize an ultracold storage cell for neutrons and a new type of magnetometer for this experiment. The PI will use a similar ultracold system in a second experiment to test the stiffness of neutrons when exposed to external electromagnetic fields. The award will also support the PI’s plan for recruiting students from the awardee’s home institution and a nearby community college into the research activities. By gaining skills in highly technical cryogenic and computational techniques, the students will be well prepared for careers in STEM fields. This award will support the PI’s leadership roles in two high-profile experiments (nEDM@SNS and Compton scattering at the High Intensity gamma-ray Source (HIgs) at the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL). The nEDM experiment is a search for time reversal symmetry breaking (i.e. a non-zero EDM of the neutron) and Compton scattering can be used to measure the polarizability of the nucleon and thus test the latest models of QCD. For the nEDM experiment, the PI will optimize the cryogenic measurement cell and develop low-field magnetometry using nitrogen-vacancy diamond to improve the systematics of the EDM measurement. The same cryogenic system would be used to study thermally and dynamically polarized protons and deuterons at HIgS.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date1/04/2331/03/28


  • National Science Foundation: $616,289.00


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