Department of Energy selects Brookhaven Lab as site of new Electron-Ion Collider

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The Department of Energy has selected a site on Long Island for a new Electron-Ion Collider (EIC).

The facility will be located at Brookhaven Lab and will allow scientists to look inside protons and atomic nuclei.

The EIC will be funded by the federal government through the DOE Office of Science.

"The EIectron-Ion Collider will open up a new frontier in nuclear physics that will expand our knowledge of the fundamental constituents of the atoms that make up all visible matter in the universe today and the force that holds it all together," said Brookhaven Lab Director Doon Gibbs. "We look forward to working with Jefferson Lab, other DOE labs, universities and the worldwide EIC user community—about 1000 scientists from 30 nations—to deliver the EIC and advance this important field of science."

Brookhaven Lab says the design for an EIC includes building a new electron storage ring and electron accelerator components that would operate seamlessly with existing infrastructure currently providing beams for the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a DOE Office of Science user facility that has been serving nuclear physicists since it began operations in 2000. It says the new electron ring will allow electrons to interact with protons and large nuclei to precisely probe and produce dynamic snapshots of the building blocks of these nuclear particles.

The lab says the EIC will allow nuclear physicists to track the arrangement of the quarks and gluons that make up the protons and neutrons of atomic nuclei. Scientists will use data collected from millions of collisions between electrons and protons and a wide range of larger atomic nuclei to study the "strong nuclear force" and to answer other longstanding questions in physics, including where the proton gets its "spin."

The Department of Energy says the EIC will be designed and constructed over 10 years at an estimated cost between $1.6 billion and $2.6 billion. It said it will smash electrons into protons and heavier atomic nuclei in an effort to penetrate the mysteries of the "strong force" that binds the atomic nucleus together.




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