CEBAF turns on the charm | 4/18/2019 | Staff
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The world's most advanced particle accelerator for investigating the quark structure of the atom's nucleus has just charmed physicists with a new capability. The production of charm quarks in J/ψ (J/psi) particles by CEBAF at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility confirms that the facility has expanded the realm of precision nuclear physics research with electron beams to higher energies.

Details of the achievement were presented at the American Physical Society April Meeting in Denver.

Subject - Charmonium - Production - Emerge - GeV

"It is great to see the subject of near-threshold charmonium production emerge in the 12 GeV era of Jefferson Lab. The interest in this topic is substantially increased by recent reports of charmonium pentaquark states at CERN, as well as implications for fundamental aspects of Quantum Chromodynamics," said Robert McKeown, Jefferson Lab's Deputy Director for Science.

Quarks are the basic building blocks of the particles that build our visible universe. There are six quarks: up, down, strange, charm, bottom and top. The least massive, up and down quarks, are the constituent building blocks of protons and neutrons.

Particles - Quarks - Energy - Particle - Accelerators

Particles containing the least massive quarks require the least energy to produce in particle accelerators, such as Jefferson Lab's Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility, a DOE Office of Science User Facility. For instance, up, down and strange quarks have long been studied at Jefferson Lab. Producing the next quark on the list, however, required more energy than the original CEBAF could provide.

The new capability was made possible by an upgrade of CEBAF that tripled its original design operating energy to 12 billion electron-volts, or 12 GeV.

J/ψ - Energy - GeV - GeV - Era

"For us, it's important because you can't produce a J/ψ until a certain energy, which is 8.2 GeV. Before the 12 GeV era, we didn't have electron energies that high," said Colin Gleason, a postdoctoral research fellow at Indiana...
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