University of Hawai'i
(808) 956-8856 Telephone
For Immediate Release:
September 25, 2000
Contact: Frederick Harris, High Energy Physics Group (808) 956-2940, email@example.com
Thomas Conlon, SOEST Engineering Support Facility (808) 956-7304, firstname.lastname@example.org
|Hawai'i-built drift chamber headed for Beijing accelerator|
University of Hawai'i physicists and technicians, working with Chinese colleagues and an O'ahu engineering and fabrication firm, have completed a large, precision instrument for use in an international experiment in high energy physics. The main drift chamber, an aluminum cylinder about 8 feet long and 7 feet in diameter, will be shipped to Beijing within two weeks for use in Beijing Spectrometer (BES) research at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Beijing.
The chamber is the first of its class of instruments built at the University of Hawai'i, officials say. Such American-built devices are usually manufactured by universities on the U.S. mainland.
High energy physics involves the study of subatomic particles that are the building blocks of matter and the forces that act between them. Filled with gas and strung with thousands of high-voltage wires the size of a human hair, the drift chamber is used at the center of high energy colliders to trace the trajectories of charged particles coming out of collisions between beams of particles traveling at close to the speed of light. UH is also fabricating the amplifiers that will be attached to the wires and analyzes data collected by the spectrometer.
End plates for the new device were built at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa under the direction of the Department of Physics' High Energy Physics Group. Fabrication required drilling of 28,000 holes at extremely high precision-deviation could be no more than two-thousandths of an inch, said Frederick A. Harris, co-spokesperson for the experiment. The physicists turned to the Engineering Support Facility in the UHM School of Ocean and Earth Science for technical assistance. Under the direction of Tom Conlon, the facility designed and built a special drilling machine to accomplish the task. The outer cylinder of the apparatus was fabricated under stringent requirements at Bear Machinery in Kane'ohe, Hawai'i.
The cylinder will be shipped to IHEP for final alignment, hand-stringing of the wires and testing. Scientists hope to begin using the device in the collider and gathering data in 2002.
The massive size, cost and complexity of particle accelerators limit
the number of such facilities, and the Beijing institute is the only place
working in the energy range explored in the BES experiment. BES involves
universities in the United States, China, Japan and Korea in studies of
the fourth quark. UH faculty members Harris, Steve Olsen and Gary Varner
and graduate students Daniela Paluselli and Derrick Kong, form the largest
U.S. group participating in BES. Supported by a contract from the U.S. Department
of Energy, they are seeking to explain why matter prevailed over antimatter
in the early universe.