Physicists bring together detector and accelerator to explore 'new physics' beyond the Standard Model

April 20, 2017, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
The Belle II detector stands 26-feet high and wide. Credit: Courtesy of Belle II Collaboration

To study some of the tiniest particles in the universe, an international band of over 750 physicists from 23 countries is building a massive instrument. The instrument will smash subatomic particles together and analyze the debris to look for signs of as-yet-unseen particles predicted to be fundamental to the workings of the universe.

Last week at the KEK laboratory in Tsukuba, Japan, researchers put together two key components of the instrument by nestling a 1,400-ton detector called Belle II into the 3-kilometer-long ring of the SuperKEKB accelerator.

When the instrument becomes fully functioning next spring, SuperKEKB will send electrons smashing into their antimatter cousins called positrons, right in the middle of the 26-foot Belle II detector. Belle II will track the direction, momentum, and energy of the resulting to help scientists understand some of the mysteries of the Standard Model of physics, such as why matter outlived antimatter in the earliest moments of our universe.

The detector will also help researchers search for new particles and behaviors that might indicate new physics currently only predicted by theory.

Moving the 1,400 pound detector into place and hooking it up to the accelerator took many hands. Credit: Courtesy of Belle II Collaboration

The centerpiece of the U.S. contribution, known as iTOP, flies past flags from a handful of participating countries. Credit: Courtesy of Belle II Collaboration

Explore further: First particles circulate in SuperKEKB accelerator

Related Stories

First particles circulate in SuperKEKB accelerator

April 14, 2016

The SuperKEKB particle accelerator at the KEK research center in Japan has recently reached a major milestone: electrons and positrons have been circulated for the first time around the rings. The accelerator is now being ...

The world's newest atom-smasher achieves its 'first turns'

March 2, 2016

One of the world's top particle accelerators has reached a milestone, achieving its "first turns"—circulating beams of particles for the first time—and opening a new window into the universe, a view that will give physicists ...

Raising the (G)bar for antimatter exploration

March 20, 2017

The absence of antimatter in the universe is a long-standing jigsaw puzzle in physics. Many experiments have been exploring this question by finding asymmetries between particles and their antimatter counterparts.

New source of asymmetry between matter and antimatter

January 31, 2017

The LHCb experiment has found hints of what could be a new piece of the jigsaw puzzle of the missing antimatter in our universe. They have found tantalising evidence of a phenomenon dubbed charge-parity (CP) violation in ...

Explainer: What is antimatter?

January 26, 2016

Antimatter was one of the most exciting physics discoveries of the 20th century. Picked up by fiction writers such as Dan Brown, many people think of it as an "out there" theoretical idea – unaware that it is actually being ...

Recommended for you

Strained materials make cooler superconductors

April 24, 2018

University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers have added a new dimension to our understanding of why straining a particular group of materials, called Ruddlesden-Popper oxides, tampers with their superconducting properties.

Researchers investigate 'why clothes don't fall apart'

April 23, 2018

Cotton thread is made of many tiny fibers, each just 2-3 cm long, yet when spun together the fibers are capable of transmitting tension over indefinitely long distances. From a physics perspective, how threads and yarns transmit ...

Swirling liquids work similarly to bitcoin

April 23, 2018

Fluid dynamics is not something that typically comes to mind when thinking about bitcoin. But for one Stanford physicist, the connection is as simple as stirring your coffee.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.