nEDM PROJECT COORDINATION

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sussex

Abstract

Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Publications

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Description This grant funded development work towards one of the most precise and exquisite measurements that it's possible to make in physics: the search for the so-called Electric Dipole Moment (EDM) of the neutron. This is a tiny distortion of the structure of the neutron (a subatomic particle), perhaps a billion times smaller than anything that LHC is capable of detecting. It is critically important for helping us to understand the origin of all of the matter in the Universe - including all of us, and the stars and planets - since the size of this subatomic distortion is intimately related to the question of the difference between matter and antimatter, which led to our Universe being matter-dominated. We use a sort of atomic clock to study the behaviour of neutrons in strong electric fields, which allow us ever increasing sensitivity in the measurement. This work aimed to operate the "atomic clock" in liquid helium, which should have allowed us a huge increase in sensitivity by using (amongst other things) higher electric fields, but although there were some important advances, e.g. in understanding processes of high-voltage breakdown in liquid helium, the project was too ambitious for the small UK group to carry alone.
Exploitation Route The fundamental work that we have carried out - demonstrated superthermal neutron production; 65% polarisation in helium, with clear path to improvement; neutron transport to and from storage cells; substantial advances in magnetic shielding; reliable operation of solid-state neutron detectors in LHe; detailed systematics studies - is of use to others in the field, both in the development of long-term cryogenic EDM projects, and also (in the case of systematics studies) in understanding issues with currently running EDM projects e.g. at PSI. It is possible that the HV breakdown work may be of broader interest to industry.
Sectors Education

 
Description CryoEDM 
Organisation Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Department Particle Physics Department
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Data acquisition; HV; field modelling; analysis; simulations
Collaborator Contribution Cryogenics, engineering, magnetometry...
Impact Papers: doi 10.1016/S0168-9002(02)00391-1, 10.1016/S0168-9002(02)00391-1. Demonstrated ultracold neutron production, transport, detection in superfluid helium
 
Description Sussex-RAL-ILL nEDM collaboration 
Organisation Institut Laue–Langevin
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The University of Sussex EPP group provided the (lion's share of the) intellectual leadership to the neutron EDM experiment at ILL.
Collaborator Contribution Rutherford Lab provided some physics input but their most substantive contribution was in technical support, apparatus design etc. ILL provided the neutrons, and occasional technical support.
Impact World-leading measurement of the electric dipole moment of the neutron.
 
Description Sussex-RAL-ILL nEDM collaboration 
Organisation Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Department High Power Targets Group
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The University of Sussex EPP group provided the (lion's share of the) intellectual leadership to the neutron EDM experiment at ILL.
Collaborator Contribution Rutherford Lab provided some physics input but their most substantive contribution was in technical support, apparatus design etc. ILL provided the neutrons, and occasional technical support.
Impact World-leading measurement of the electric dipole moment of the neutron.
 
Description Research-based Outreach 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact At the University of Sussex, we run a major outreach programme within the department of physics and astronomy, originally set up as part of the SEPnet initiative. The program involves members of the department at all levels, from taught undergraduate and postgraduate students, research students, post doctorial researchers and faculty. We have a wide range of practical activities available to take out to local schools, which are boxed up with a detailed lesson plan for department members to take to take out or use on site. The majority of our outreach activities are linked to our research.

Our annual reach is to 5,000 students per year, working with approximately 800 primary school students, 3500 secondary student, and 700 A-level students, in addition to the 2,000 members of the general public that experience our events. We currently run 130 events per year, reaching school and college students at 60 different schools. We have both schools visiting the University of Sussex campus in Brighton, and we also go out to schools.

Around half of our events involve communicating the research carried out at the University direct to schools, colleges and the public.
25% of our events involve describing our particle physics research, usually consisting of a research talk (about the Large Hadron Collider, SNO+, etc) which is reinforced by practical activities (such as building cloud chambers, or visiting our research labs). 20% of our events directly describe the astronomy research carried out at the University, usually as a research talk (about the Herschel Space Telescope, for instance) alongside practical activities, such as day-time or night-time astronomical observing.

Every week during the school terms, we run a School's Lab day, where a group of students visit the University for as full day of experiments specifically designed for the GCSE, AS and A2 level syllabus. During those days, the students visit a research lab, and get the opportunity to talk with our research students about their work. In addition, visiting A-level students also have a research lecture, and get to here the latest research being done here at Sussex.

Every year, we offer masterclasses in both astronomy and particle physics, with one day aimed at GCSE students, and another at A-level. These days involve research-level talks, visits to labs, as well as hands on experimental experience.


We have developed links with local schools and colleges. Teachers frequently approach us to request research related outreach activities (talks, lab tours, practical activities), ask for advice or to borrow equipment for teaching. In 2013, we ran the Institute of Physics sponsored Physic Update weekend conference for teachers.
Since we began our outreach program, undergraduate numbers has risen significantly within the department, from an intake of 40 students in 2009, up to the current (and
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2012,2013
URL http://www.sussex.ac.uk/physics/outreach
 
Description Schools Lab 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Groups of 10-15 pupils attend short talks about our research, which always spark discussion and debate.

Has become established part of SEPnet outreach programme. Capability is expanding, to reach more pupils.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2007,2008,2009,2010