University of Swansea - Equipment Account

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: College of Science

Abstract

Antimatter lies at the heart of one of the most profound mysteries in our current understanding of the universe. Since the discovery of quantum mechanics, the description of the very small, and Einstein's general relativity theory, the description of the very large, the two have been at odds with each other. Quantum mechanics predicts the existence of a mirror image of matter, the so-called antimatter, which was soon confirmed. However, quantum mechanics also predict that the universe should be symmetric with respect to matter and antimatter or in other words that half the universe should be made of antimatter. Until now we have found no evidence of bulk antimatter in the universe a fact that remains a mystery in science. This is where Einstein may perhaps enter the stage. Einstein's theory describes the development of the very large (stars, galaxies, the universe) very well, but it is not compatible with the quantum world. A description of our world capable of encompassing both the very large and the very small has thus far eluded science. Such a description will have to include an explanation for the apparent lack of antimatter in the universe.

The recent start up of the LHC forms part of the effort to address this fundamental problem in our understanding of the world around us. This fellowship forms part of another, low energy, approach to the same issue. We are working towards detailed studies of the structure of neutral atoms made of antimatter. According to quantum mechanics their structure should be exactly the same as their matter counterparts. To accomplish this goal we are trapping Antihydrogen and plan to compare it to Hydrogen. As quantum mechanics predicts that these atoms should have identical internal structure to any level of precision, any difference we may discover will deliver ground-breaking information for our understanding of the universe. The making and trapping of these anti-atoms is a delicate affair, and the work here builds on many years of experience in the production of Antihydrogen and the recent successful trapping of the same. The motivation for making atoms is that these are neutral and can be probed by one of the best precision tools available to science - lasers. Precise measurements on atomic systems have been perfected over the last century and the advent of lasers accelerated the field far beyond other fields of precision measurement, such that today, we can measure transitions in atoms with up to 17 decimal places of precision. We plan to apply the techniques with this unfathomable precision to study our trapped Antihydrogen atoms.

However, this lofty goal requires very precise control over the formation of the Antihydrogen. The Antihydrogen must be trapped to allow for precise measurements of its internal structure. As Antihydrogen is neutral, it cannot be easily trapped. However, we can trap Antihydrogen in a magnetic trap. This is possible as Antihydrogen, though neutral, has a structure, which causes it to have a small magnetic moment, or in other words behave as a very small magnet. The tricky bit to trapping the Antihydrogen is that this dipole moment is so small, that even with state-of-the-art magnetic fields, our trap can only hold atoms so slow that their energy corresponds to a temperature less than half a degree above absolute zero. We are therefore currently only able to trap about one atom at a time. This project aims to facilitate the production of very cold Antihydrogen by using Beryllium ions, which can be cooled using a technique called laser-cooling. These ions can be cooled to a few thousandth of a degree above absolute zero, and can thus be used as a heat sink for the particles used to form Antihydrogen. This effort will significantly increase the number of trapped atoms and allow us to study the differences between Antihydrogen and Hydrogen in great detail. If any difference is found it will have a profound impact on physics as we know it.

Planned Impact

Academic beneficiaries of this work have been discussed previously under the appropriate heading.

In the past as well as in connection with the recent breakthrough our work has achieved impact via the massive media publicity it has received across the scientific and popular press. This has included articles in the national press in many countries, and interviews with radio and television. A recent example is "Scientists trap antimatter long enough to study how it works." (A. Jha, The Guardian, 5/6/11). The proposed work should see further scientific breakthroughs, which will achieve similar publicity. We will continue to engage with the press to promote our work and plan taking communication courses to improve the impact of this. We will also continue to engage through semi-popular articles targeting non- specialists and school students.

The benefits to stakeholders, society and people come in a variety of forms. While fundamental science of the nature proposed here is not targeted towards specific applications or improvements in industry or civilian life, it is crucial to the health of society that we continue to question the nature of the world around us. Asking and answering questions about the natural world is an important part of a modern democratic society as it helps shake people out of complacency and stagnation. Is it also crucial to the continued health of UK industry that we continue to develop home grown knowledge at the forefront of science. Recent focus has been on applied science and the application of science directly to industry, but it is often forgotten that the science needed to get to the knowledge that may then be redirected to target specific societal issues is the fundamental science which is driven purely by the desire to understand the world around us.

In more concrete terms, the massive publicity our research is host to inspires thousands of students to engage through site visits and school presentations both in Swansea and at CERN (which has about 30000 visitors per year). It encourages them to question the world around them and established truths, a critical element in a healthy society, and in particular it inspires them to enter STEM disciplines themselves and become the builders of the future of the UK and the world. We will continue to engage with students and the public through outreach at fairs, site-visits at CERN and Swansea as well as talks targeting the general public and school visits.

Direct benefits come from the output of trained personnel. This benefits both the personnel and the UK who acquire a highly qualified work force in the process. PDRA's and students are given great opportunities to work at the world particle physics flagship CERN and on our world-renowned research. Apart from the concrete science skills earned, the strict requirements imposed by beam-time (such as readiness and just-in-time problem-solving), our experiment employs a large panoply of experimental techniques and physics sub-disciplines, which make our students and PDRA's highly valuable at the end of service. Being at CERN has the side-benefit for the UK students that it gives them international experience highly sought after in an increasingly globalised world.

The Co-I is engaged in particular in the student aspect of impact through taking the initiative to propose and then organise a winter school on the physics of trapped charged particles and plan to continue such activities in the future.
 
Description This grant was awarded to purchase six pieces of equipment to enhance the research capabilities and environment for research engineers associated with the EPSRC COATED2 CDT (EP/L015099/1). All pieces of equipment were purchased and installed by June 2015 as agreed with EPSRC. The first cohort of research engineers started on the COATED2 grant in October 2015 and hence the timeframe has not been long enough yet to generate publications from their research that commenced in February 2016 after an initial period of training modules. However, the purchasing of this equipment has had some significant impacts with regards to securing industry commitments and further equipment as outlined in the Narrative impact section.
Exploitation Route Equipment being used to develop industrial links and opportunities for those companies as per Narrative Impact section.
Sectors Construction,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description The acquisition of the six pieces of equipment purchased through this CDT capital equipment award has significantly enhanced the capabilities of the CDT and research environment for the research engineers. The enhanced research capabilities have helped to ensure: • A full cohort of 10 research engineers in 2015 all with industry partners. • Commitment of £36,000 of actual cash from Industrial partners per research engineer (total = £360,000). • The securing of a further £1.2 million of funds for equipment to enhance doctoral training as part of the WEFO/ESF funded Materials and Manufacturing Academy at Swansea University. • Creation of a new training module for the postgraduate community in Swansea on "Instrumental and analytical techniques" to ensure that skills across a wide portfolio of advanced equipment becomes embedded within graduating cohorts. This is in line with EPSRC's goal of improving skills on such equipment as outlined in the "Materially better" review undertaken by EPSRC in 2013. In summary, the investment by EPSRC to improve the research capabilities and environment of the COATED2 CDT has facilitated the successful recruitment of students and industrial companies to the CDT's first cohort and enabled the generation of £1.56 million of further income from other sources to support CDT activities and research capabilities.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Construction,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description CERN teachers programme for welsh teachers
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The welsh teachers programme at CERN, spear headed by Swansea in collaboration with Lynn Evans (former head of the LHC programme) highlighted the need to enthuse physics teachers in Wales. Funding for this programme and others has now been granted by the Welsh government under the NNEST umbrella.
URL http://gov.wales/newsroom/educationandskills/2017/welsh-teachers-return-from-cern-to-teach-what-matt...
 
Description EPSRC Standard Grant (Responsive Mode)
Amount £3,824,192 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P024734/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2017 
End 03/2021
 
Description Physics with Trapped Antihydrogen
Amount £2,596,600 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/L014734/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2014 
End 01/2017
 
Title SDR-EVC 
Description We have successfully combined the known techniques of Strong Drive Rotating (SDR) wall and Evaporative Cooling (EVC) to develop a new technique that we have dubbed SDR-EVC. The technique allows tailoring non-neutral plasmas held in Penning traps on all their parameters except their temperature (i.e. you can tailor their number, density and size). The technique is particularly useful in connection with use of positrons, as it allows one to stabilize the number of particles for experiments with positrons, that are often accumulated in a fashion that cause some fluctuation in the number, density and size of what's accumulated. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This new tool has assisted in the development of new techniques for trapping antihydrogen that has allowed an order of magnitude increase in the rate at which we can trap antihydrogen. It has also been of great use for allowing us to accumulate antihydrogen a trap and thus reaching much larger numbers than hitherto possible. Finally the stability it engenders has made the experiments on antihydrogen more reliable and reproducible facilitating a number of recent breakthroughs in antihydrogen physics. 
 
Description ALPHA Collaboration at CERN 
Organisation European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
Department ALPHA Experiment
Country Switzerland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We have contributed : Trap Design, Experiment Design, Cryostat design, Magnet controls, Acquisition and Control software, Run coordination, Physics coordination to the partnership.
Collaborator Contribution The other partners in ALPHA are responsible for (overall) : Positron Accumulation (Swansea but not this grant) Antiproton Catching Trap Detector and detector readout DAQ software Lasers for spectroscopy. Microwave setup.
Impact Lots of publications - pending research fish allows me to access them from here. It's multidisciplinary as it's using several normally rather distinct fields of physics : Laser Physics, Atomic Physics, Plasma Physics, Cryogenics, High Energy Physics, Fundamental Physics, Detector Physics
 
Description Antimatter Lectures and Tours at CERN 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I give antimatter related lectures on a regular basis for school groups from Wales, UK, Denmark and Finland. Typically I entertain a about 300 pupils per year this way. The lectures are followed by guided visits to the experiments, in particular the ALPHA experiment where UK is a lead contributor.
I have many repeat visits (same teacher, new students) - and both teachers and students give very enthusiastic feedback from these visits.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity Pre-2006,2006,2007,2008,
 
Description Antimatter Matters exhibition at the Gravity Fields Festival in Grantham 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Antimatter Matters Royal Society Exhibition was moved to the thirds gravity fields festival and participated in the activities in the Guildhall.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.gravityfields.co.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=17942&p=0
 
Description Article in Advances Wales (Welsh Government) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I participated in an article in Advances Wales showcasing our antihydrogen research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://businesswales.gov.wales/sites/business-wales/files/documents/Advances%2079%20final.pdf
 
Description CERN Teachers Programme Antimatter Activity 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I prepare an execute a small antimatter themed programme with presentation and tour for the CERN teachers programme. I focus on teachers programmes from Wales, England and Denmark. The target teachers are high school teachers (A and AS levels) in physics. The return I get is very enthusiatic and many of the teachers return later with their school classes on a regular basis, thus this is a key way to spread enthusiasm for and knowledge about the science we do.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
 
Description Christmas lecture in Aberystwyth 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I was invited to give a "fun and educational" Christmas lecture of a group of local schools (sixt form / A-levels) at Aberytswyth University.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Hosting schools at the Antimatter Factory (both for visits and presentations) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact We should around about 30 school classes per year with about 30 students in each in the experiment. Many of them also enjoy an introductory presentation about our experiments. The feedback is always very positive to the likes of "the antimatter visit was the best part", and the teachers report really positively about it. We therefore have a number of Schools who return annually or bi-annually and pre-emptively contact us to exactly get the "antimatter experience".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014,2015,2016
 
Description Manchester Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of the Manchester Science Festival the royal society invited us to present our Antimatter Matters exhibit. This was a great opportunity to reach further audiences with this activity that we had already tuned for schools and the general public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/science-exhibition-manchester/exhibits/
 
Description Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition : Antimatter Matters 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In collaboration with about 10 other UK institutions members of the LHCb collaboration at CERN the UK ALPHA members (Swansea, Liverpool and Manchester) organised (Responsible organisers Prof. N. Madsen (Swansea), C. Lazzaroni (Birmingham), T. Shears (Liverpool) and C. Parkes (Manchester)) a stand/exhibit at the annual Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. This is a competition based invitees-only exhibition (i.e. you compete to get invited to exhibit) and it's very professional (in both presentation and organisation).
A great number of schools visit the exhibit and also many members of the general public. A number of special events were also hosted,with MEP's as wells FRS.
The RS and well as ourselves collected feedback from participants who greatly appreciated and reported increased interest in science thanks to our exhibit.

We continue to tour the exhibit at various UK science events - so more events will be reported here.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/summer-science-exhibition/exhibits/antimatter-m...
 
Description Welsh and UK teachers programmes @ CERN 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In collaboration with CERN's teachers programmes I deliver presentations and discussions on the subjects of our research (Antimatter) to UK high school teachers. Each year there are currently three teachers programmes (one week each, with about 25 participants) of which one has been focussed on physics teachers in Welsh Schools (A and AS levels).
These programmes help enthuse teachers to bring modern and contemporary physics into the class room as well as show them how they can bring their own students to CERN in an effort to highten their interest in STEM subjects.
In collaboration with CERN we have received very very positive feedback on this.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018,2019
URL https://home.cern/students-educators/teacher-programmes