Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New experiment could reveal make-up of the universe

Date:
November 13, 2009
Source:
University of Liverpool
Summary:
Scientists in England are constructing highly sensitive detectors as part of an international project to understand the elements that make up the universe.

Scientists at the University of Liverpool are constructing highly sensitive detectors as part of an international project to understand the elements that make up the universe.

The detectors will become part of the Advanced Gamma Tracking Array (AGATA) experiment, currently based in Italy, which aims to create a 'fingerprint' of the inside of the atomic nucleus to understand the structure of all matter in the Universe, including human beings and the stars.

The experiment will help scientists analyse particle interactions that produce gamma rays, which are also commonly used for their penetrating properties in medical diagnostics and treatments such as PET scans and radiation therapy. Scientists will use these interactions - and the energy required to make them - to probe rare 'exotic' nuclei. These are formed by nuclear reactions, which occur in the heart of stars as well as the large accelerator facilities used to study them on earth.

Exotic nuclei are difficult to detect and consist of extreme proton and neutron ratios, making them highly unstable. The new experiment will help scientists understand why some nuclei are more stable than others and why they have a wide variety of different shapes.

The University's Department of Physics is home to the only gamma ray detector scanning system in Europe. The machine will scan the new detectors to help 'read' the signals produced by AGATA so that scientists can understand the properties required to create and sustain life in the Universe.

Dr Andy Boston, from the University's Department of Physics, explains: "There is a huge abundance of elements in the Universe, but we know very little about why this is. We can only begin to understand how these are formed by looking at a broad spectrum of nuclei, beyond those available on earth. We look at the stars to do this because they contain exotic nuclei. These nuclei have extreme proton and neutron ratios which make them unstable and decay very quickly, until the stable nuclei we have on earth are left behind.

"If we can understand the structure of these exotic nuclei then we can begin to understand the abundance of elements in the Universe today. State-of-the-art computers will help us do this by reconstructing the path of gamma rays around the new detector and recording the energy created.

"This energy, which is characteristic of the energy inside a nucleus, will help us create a 'fingerprint' of elements that make up our universe and produce a picture that will further understanding of how we interact with the natural world."

Technology built for AGATA will also help improve gamma-ray machines for medical imaging, as well as provide the expertise to develop portable radiation monitors that could be used by security services to detect dirty bombs and monitor radioactive waste.

The project is supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Liverpool. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Liverpool. "New experiment could reveal make-up of the universe." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090806112353.htm>.
University of Liverpool. (2009, November 13). New experiment could reveal make-up of the universe. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090806112353.htm
University of Liverpool. "New experiment could reveal make-up of the universe." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090806112353.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) Argentina launches a home-built satellite, a first for Latin America. It will ride a French-made Ariane 5 rocket into orbit, and will provide cell phone, digital TV, Internet and data services to the lower half of South America. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

NASA (Oct. 17, 2014) Power spacewalk, MAVEN’s “First Light”, Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) The smallest of Saturn's main moons, Mimas, wobbles as it orbits. Research reveals it might be due to a global ocean underneath its icy surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins