Fermilab features

The forthcoming Mu2e experiment at Fermilab will kidnap muons and trap them in aluminum atoms. But what exactly happens when you shoot a muon at an aluminum foil? While Mu2e is under construction, its scientists are already getting some valuable answers from a smaller accomplice: AlCap.

Imagine an instrument that can measure motions a billion times smaller than an atom that last a millionth of a second. Fermilab’s Holometer is currently the only machine with the ability to take these very precise measurements of space and time, and recently collected data has improved the limits on theories about exotic objects from the early universe.

Four years ago, Fermilab accelerator physicist Arden Warner watched national news of the BP oil spill and found himself frustrated with the cleanup response. “My wife asked ‘Can you separate oil from water?’ and I said ‘Maybe I could magnetize it!’” Warner recalled. “But that was just something I said. Later that night while I was falling asleep, I thought, you know what, that’s not a bad idea.” Sleep forgone, Warner began experimenting in his garage. With shavings from his…

The Fermilab Holometer has reached its design luminosity, building up more than 1 kilowatt of infrared laser power stored in a 40-meter-long Michelson interferometer. This light intensity corresponds to more than 10 billion trillion photons per second hitting the interferometer optics. It also allows scientists to measure the optics’ positions to a resolution 1,000 times smaller than the size of a proton.