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UNBC physicists play role in new experimental research facility


At TRIUMF, Canada’s national research laboratory for particle and nuclear physics located in Vancouver, scientists from Canada and Japan have recently completed building a new experimental facility, the Ultracold Neutron (UCN) facility, which is currently being tested and commissioned.

The federal Canada Foundation for Innovation has recently provided $5 million of funding to help researchers build a state-of-the-art experimental facility that will be used in conjunction with the UCN facility to complete world-leading high-precision measurements of the neutron electric dipole moment (n-EDM).

Dr. Elie Korkmaz
Dr. Elie Korkmaz

The n-EDM experiment seeks to answer questions of cosmological importance relating to the very existence of matter (what everything in existence in the universe is made of) and its dominance over antimatter (the opposite of normal matter).

The research is a collaborative effort led by the University of Winnipeg (which received $3 million), with the University of British Columbia (which received $1.8 million) and University of Northern British Columbia (which received $200,000) as partners. The $5 million contribution from the CFI is being matched by various other sources including the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund.

“The ultimate goal of this experiment is to improve the current experimental n-EDM precision by 10-100 times over the next few years, which will open the door for the potential discovery of new physics beyond the currently accepted (but widely believed to be incomplete) Standard Model of particle physics,” explained UNBC Physics Professor Dr. Elie Korkmaz, who is leading UNBC’s research efforts as part of the UCN/n-EDM collaboration.

“The CFI funds will be used to build, support, and maintain the infrastructure specific to the n-EDM experiment,” said Dr. Korkmaz. “The UNBC group will be involved in many aspects of the experiment, but primarily the design, building and testing the magnetic field systems and sensors surrounding the n-EDM cell.”

UNBC became an associate member of the TRIUMF consortium in 2011 primarily in support of the UCN project and other projects at the TRIUMF ISAC facility in which physics faculty (Dr. Korkmaz and Dr. Ahmed Hussein) are involved.

“The UCN/n-EDM project targets an area of strength in basic research in fundamental physics, simultaneously addressing applied research and use or development of new technologies in materials science, surface nanoscience, magnetic systems, and NMR techniques,” explained Dr. Korkmaz.

He added tangible benefits for society, health, the economy, and the environment can be clearly identified in this project, including partnerships with industry and future commercialization of established new technologies, as well as advanced training of highly qualified personnel.

The project is part of the CFI Investment of more than $554 million in 117 new infrastructure projects at 61 universities, colleges and research hospitals across Canada.

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