California

Three United States DOE national laboratories – SLAC, Fermilab and Jefferson Lab – have partnered to build an advanced particle accelerator that will power the LCLS-II X-ray laser. Thanks to technology developed for nuclear and high-energy physics, the new X-ray laser will produce a nearly continuous wave of electrons and allow scientists to peer more deeply than ever before into the building blocks of life and matter.

Scientists are working on a pixelated detector capable of clearly and quickly capturing neutrino interactions — a crucial component for the near detector of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. Using technological solutions developed at University of Bern and Berkeley Lab, a prototype detector called ArgonCube is under construction in Bern and will arrive at Fermilab next year.

It took three sky surveys to prepare for a new project that will create the largest 3-D map of the universe’s galaxies and glean new insights about the universe’s accelerating expansion. This Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument project will explore this expansion, driven by a mysterious property known as dark energy, in great detail. The surveys, which wrapped up in March, have amassed images of more than 1 billion galaxies and are essential in selecting celestial objects to target with DESI, now under construction in Arizona.

From Berkeley Lab, Dec. 4, 2018: Key components of Berkeley Lab’s Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument are installed after months of planning, prep work. A team at Fermilab built the corrector, hexapod, and other top-end support structures. The structures are designed to align the lenses with an accuracy of tens of microns (millionths of a meter) – similar to the width of the thinnest human hair.

The building boom

These international projects, selected during the process to plan the future of U.S. particle physics, are all set to come online within the next 10 years.

A specialized measuring machine at SLAC is helping scientists build precise detectors for the ATLAS experiment.

Some scientists spend decades trying to catch a glimpse of a rare process. But with good experimental design and a lot of luck, they often need only a handful of signals to make a discovery.