We study the physical laws of nature using Ultracold Neutrons (UCN)... and other tools.
To answer the essential question of
What are the properties of the early universe?
- Theoretical predictions of the amount of helium leftover in the Big Bang sharpens by measuring the decay rate of the free neutrons. Recent bottle experiments reach record-breaking precision. But the neutron lifetime puzzle, yet to be resolved, is addressed by preparing an improved apparatus to re-measure the lifetime of neutrons’ decay-in-flight.
- Another beta-decay experiment using tritium with the non-invasive detection of the cyclotron motions of the betas provides a promising way to weigh the absolute mass of the nearly weightless neutrinos, which provides another key element of the Big-Bang nucleosynthesis.
- Finally, to understand why the Big Bang left the universe with the surplus of matter over anti-matter that we see today, laboratory experiments are under development to search for a crucial clue: an extremely small separation of the positive and negative electrical charges within a neutron.
In our lab, we develop tools using ultracold neutrons (UCN) and design experiments sensitive enough to prove physics at TeV scales. Below is one such example: undergraduate research assistant, Bailey Slaughter, sitting inside a Halbach magnetic array; she was mapping the magnetic fields which are used to levitate ultracold neutrons in the UCNtau experiment. This magnet-lined bathtub has been used to conduct the world's most sensitive measurement of the neutron decay lifetime. To learn more about the UCNtau experiment, click here. To learn more about the other competing experiment (BL3), click here.
Here is another example: postbaccalaureate, Joshua Burdine, standing between the opened door of the completed Magnetically Shielded Room during the acceptance test (November 2021). This magnetically shielded room will be used to suppress the ambient field by 100,000 to perform a measurement of the electric dipole moment of the neutron. To learn more about the LANL nEDM experiment, click here.
Our research on nEDM is highlighted in a short (4-min) National Public Radio program: Why Corned Beef Sandwiches — And The Rest Of The Universe — Exist
To learn more about the nEDM research, click here.
To learn more about my research interest, click here.