Electron-ion collider project could reveal atomic nuclei mysteries

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The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has endorsed the development of a multi-million-dollar particle accelerator project.

According to MIT News, the electron-ion collider will consist of two intersecting accelerators — one blasting a beam of electrons and the other a beam of protons or ions to nearly the speed of light.

The beams are made to collide at intersecting points, which are surrounded by detectors to record the resulting interaction.

Each collision generates virtual photons, particles of light that penetrate through the proton or nucleus to tease out the structure within, including the distribution of quarks and gluons.

The proposed machine would be able to help physicists understand where the mass of a proton comes from, how it gets its spin, and how gluons work.

Science Magazine reports that two facilities have submitted proposals to host the EIC. Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York has a proton accelerator, but no electron ring, while the Jefferson Lab in Newport News, Virginia has the electron accelerator, but will need a proton ring.

The Department of Energy is currently building a $730 million facility for rare isotope beams and may not be able to fund the proposed collider until after 2020. So for now, the two labs are collaborating on research and development.


RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Depiction of intersecting accelerators blasting beams of electrons and ions
2. Depiction of electrons and ions colliding at intersection points
3. Depiction of collision teasing out internal structure
4. Depiction of two different proposals to assemble electron-ion collider

VOICEOVER (in English):

"The electron-ion collider will consist of two intersecting accelerators — one blasting a beam of electrons and the other a beam of protons or ions to nearly the speed of light."

"The beams are made to collide at intersecting points, which are surrounded by detectors to record the resulting interaction."

"Each collision generates virtual photons, particles of light that penetrate through the proton or nucleus to tease out the structure within, including the distribution of quarks and gluons."

"Two facilities have submitted proposals to host the EIC. Brookhaven National Laboratory has a proton accelerator, but no electron ring, while Jefferson Lab has the electron accelerator, but will need a proton ring."


SOURCES:
MIT News, Science Magazine, Jefferson Lab, Brookhaven National Laboratory
http://news.mit.edu/2018/3q-richard-milner-new-us-particle-accelerator-0724
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/07/scientists-endorse-billion-dollar-collider-look-inside-protons-and-neutrons
https://www.jlab.org/jleic/
https://www.bnl.gov/eic/erhic.php