Researchers from more than 50 countries are collaborating with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory of the US Department of Energy to develop cutting-edge technologies and solve the mysteries of matter, energy, space and time.
Here is a look at 10 ways they have advanced science and technology in 2021. Fermilab and its partners:
1. Found strong evidence for physics beyond the Standard Model
Long-awaited first results from Muon g-2 experiment at Fermilab show fundamental particles called muons behave in a way which is not predicted by the best theory of scientists, the Standard model of particle physics.the outstanding result, produced with unprecedented precision, confirms a lag that has plagued researchers for decades. This indicates that muons could interact with still undiscovered particles or forces.
2. Beginning of excavation and construction of detector components for DUNE
the Deep underground neutrino experiment is an international flagship experiment to unravel the mysteries of neutrinos. In May, construction crews began lowering the equipment a mile underground and began digging space for the South Dakota portion of the longbase neutrino facility. Scientists and engineers from the UK have started producing and testing components for the first large neutrino detection module to be installed at the facility. the DUNE collaboration also released the design of the near detector. A prototype component of the nearby detector traveled from the University of Bern to the Fermi lab to be tested with the lab’s neutrino beam.
3. Successfully tested PIP-II particle accelerator technology
The PIP-II project team and its national and international partners are preparing for the construction of Fermilab’s highly anticipated new particle accelerator. Earlier this year, testing was completed at the PIP-II injector test facility. This positive result paves the way for the construction of the 700-foot-long PIP-II accelerator, which will power record neutrino beams and drive a large physics research program at Fermilab. Construction of the PIP-II Cryogenic Plant building began in August 2020 and the building structure is now largely complete. The building will house the utilities as well as the cryogenic equipment for the new machine. Efforts to use machine learning for the operation of PIP-II and other Fermilab accelerators are also underway.
4. Wrote over 600 scientific papers (and there’s more to it)
In 2021, Fermilab scientists were co-authors of more than 600 scientific articles, advancing our understanding of energy, matter, space and time and the technologies underlying these discoveries. Major achievements include the results of MicroBooNE (a neutrino experiment that searches for evidence of sterile neutrinos) and NOvA (which aims to decipher the mass order of neutrinos); the search for a furtive supersymmetry with the CMS experience at the Large Hadron Collider; dozens of articles on the Dark Energy Survey, including the most accurate measurements of the composition and growth of the universe to date; the discovery of nanohydrides limiting performance in superconducting qubits; and the world’s fastest magnetic climb rates for particle accelerator magnets, made of high-temperature, energy-efficient superconducting material.
5. Worked on upgrading the LHC and its CMS detector
In December 2020, the US Department of Energy formally approved the full US contribution to the Large Hadron Collider high-luminosity upgrade, or HL-LHC, at the European CERN laboratory. Led by Fermilab, employees will contribute 16 magnets to focus particle beams close to the speed of light from the LHC at a very small volume before colliding. They will also deliver eight superconducting cavities, radiofrequency devices designed to manipulate the powerful beams. (They will also provide four spare magnets and two spare cavities.) The new instruments will increase the number of particle collisions at the future HL-LHC by 10 times compared to the current LHC. Together with CMS detector upgrades, the accelerator upgrade will allow physicists to study particles such as the the Higgs boson more in detail. And the increase in the number of collisions could also discover rare physical phenomena or signs of new physics.
6. Advanced quantum research
Advances in particle physics and quantum information science are closely linked. Together with their industry partners and collaborating institutions, Fermilab scientists and engineers have used their expertise to advance quantum research. Examples include: taking the first steps towards building a quantum computer, designing quantum sensors for dark matter research, developing quantum algorithms, implementing artificial intelligence on a microchip, and building and testing components of a quantum internet. They are all part of the many facets of quantum science at Fermilab. This also includes the construction of the MAGIS-100 experience, who will use free-falling atoms to probe dark matter, gravity and quantum science.
7. Advanced assembly of new experiments on neutrinos and muons
In addition to the construction projects mentioned above, Fermilab and its collaborators worked on the assembly of the ICARUS detector and the Short base proximity switch, both part of the Short-Baseline Neutrino program to study neutrino oscillations and research new physics. ICARUS scientists saw the first particles in their neutrino detector earlier this year, and SBND scientists are working on assembling their liquid argon detector. Scientists are also working on magnets and detectors in the Mu2e experience, which will seek the direct conversion of a muon into an electron. If observed, it would signal the existence of new particles or new forces of nature.
8. Built and delivered the ultimate superconducting particle accelerator component for the world’s most powerful laser.
In collaboration with partners from other DOE national laboratories, Fermilab researchers designed, built and delivered superconducting accelerator cryomodules to modernize the world’s most powerful x-ray laser, the Linac coherent light source at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. With these LCLS-II upgrades, biologists, chemists and physicists will be able to probe the evolution of systems at the molecular level, forming flipbooks of molecular processes using one million x-ray pulses per second. Another upgrade to deliver higher energy particle beams, called LCLS-II-HE, is underway to enable even more precise atomic x-ray mapping. Testing of a verification cryomodule built at Fermilab has reached records well beyond current cryomodule specifications and is expected to result in a 30% improvement over LCLS-II.
9. Creation of new scholarships to recruit under-represented students, scientists and engineers
Fermilab is committed to attracting, developing and retaining diverse talent and cultivating an inclusive work environment that supports scientific, technological and operational excellence. The new Carolyn B. Parker Fellowship, named after the first African-American woman to earn a postgraduate degree in physics, offers black and African-American postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to work for up to five years at the Center superconducting quantum materials and systems. at Fermilab. The new Sylvester James Gates, Jr. Fellowship offers a five-year position in the Theory Division of Fermilab. It prioritizes the inclusion of first generation college graduates and the representation of historically and contemporary minority individuals under-represented in theoretical physics. The new science program on Accelerators to Increase Representation in Engineering, or ASPIRE, provides students with immersive learning experiences on leading particle accelerator projects at Fermi Laboratory. The scholarship is intended for undergraduate and graduate engineering students belonging to under-represented groups. To learn more about other Fermilab programs aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, visit our website.
10. Carried out education and awareness programs
Fermilab offered numerous online STEM education and awareness programs in 2021. Live programs included the Family open day, Ask a scientist, STEM Career Fair, the Saturday morning physics program and the Arts and Lectures at Home Seriesincluding virtual art exhibitions. They have attracted viewers from different communities and backgrounds around the world. Tens of thousands have also watched lectures, physics slams and other programs on the Fermilab YouTube channel. Nearly 600,000 people have now subscribed to this channel, known for the popular scientific explanatory videos featuring Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln. This year, the chain also launched the new Even bananas series with Kirsty Duffy and other scientists, who explain the mysteries of neutrino.
The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science, US Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the largest proponent of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and works to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.