NPL News

Professor Peng elected Academician of the Academia Sinica

Illinois Physics Professor Jen-Chieh Peng has been elected an Academician of the Academia Sinica, Division of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, in recognition of outstanding research achievements in nuclear and particle physics, antiquark structure in nucleons and nuclei, fundamental symmetries, and neutrino physics. Academia Sinica, headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan, is a prestigious research academy comprising twenty-four Institutes and eight research centers. The election of Academicians occurs once every two years. Currently, there are a total of 68 Academicians in the Division of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, including five Nobel laureates in physics and one in chemistry.
Author: NPL News
Published on 8/16/2022

High-precision construction of sPHENIX detector components wraps up at NPL

The sPHENIX experiment is a collaboration of about 300 scientists who are exploring some of nature’s most basic and intriguing phenomena through study of the quark-gluon plasma (QGP). The QGP—an extremely hot and dense liquid that filled the universe for a few millionths of a second after the Big Bang—can only be produced in the high-energy collisions of heavy ions such as gold or lead. The planned sPHENIX experiment’s new sophisticated detectors will enable the search for more detailed descriptions of the physics governing the QGP. 
Published on 1/26/2022

Dr. Mike Phipps Successfully Defends Thesis

Dr. Mike Phipps successfully defended his thesis in December 2021. Mike’s work involved development of ATLAS new Reaction Plane Detector (RPD) along with performance projections for physics observables. This starts with a review of past ψ1-based physics measurements. The radiation levels expected during Runs 3 and 4 are then quantified and radiation studies discussed that led to the selection of the detector's radiation hard active material. Then the design itself will be presented and features and biases of this design explored through simulation. This allows for performance-based design optimization and provides the level of understanding necessary to reconstruct the detector's response as precisely as possible. A number of machine learning-based approaches to this reconstruction will be presented that allow for resolution
improvements of up to 12%. These competitive simulation-based projection results will be compared to the resolutions to which other experiments have measured ψ1, and finally, projections will be presented for several Run 4 optimization strategies that may boost performance by an additional 35%.
Author: Mike Suchor
Published on 1/25/2022

Key Magnet Installed at sPHENIX Detector

After years of careful planning, crews at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory installed an enormous superconducting magnet that will be the centerpiece of the sPHENIX detector. sPHENIX is an ongoing upgrade to the PHENIX experiment at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a DOE Office of Science user facility for nuclear physics research.
Author: NPL News
Published on 11/17/2021

Dr. Tom Neulinger Successfully Defends Thesis

Dr. Tom Neulinger successfully defended his thesis on Tue. Sep. 21.  Tom’s work involved measurements of the coating materials for the neutron EDM experiment at ILL (panEDM).  Using ultracold neutrons from the SUN-2 superfluid helium source at the ILL, Tom measured the storage time from 10 K to 300 K  for Cytop, a commercial fluoropolymer, and for deuterated polyethylene.  These coatings have properties useful both for coating the source volume of the upgraded SuperSUN source, as well as for the target chamber of the panEDM experiment itself.
Author: NPL News
Published on 9/29/2021

UIUC sPHENIX group successfully completes pre-production of EMCal absorber blocks

sPHENIX is an experiment at Brookhaven National Lab designed to study the microscopic properties of the quark gluon plasma with also some cold QCD potential. The experiment is scheduled to see first beam in 2023 and will take data through at least 2025, until the final preparations for the Electron Ion Collider will shut down RHIC. The UIUC Nuclear Physics group is in charge of building the absorber blocks for the sPHENIX electromagnetic calorimeter (EMCal). The blocks are shipped to our collaborators at BNL, where they are equipped with light guides and SiPMs and glued into sectors of 96 blocks each.
Published on 1/5/2021

UIUC COMPASS group unravels proton quark structure using Frontera supercomputer

After the successful completion of the COMPASS data-production project on the local supercomputer Blue Waters in late 2019, we moved our productions in 2020 to the next-generation NSF-funded supercomputer Frontera at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC). The COMPASS experiment at CERN uses nuclear-polarized targets and pion or polarized muon beams to study proton structure including transverse momentum dependent (TMD) degrees of freedom and generalized parton distributions (GPDs). The raw TMD- and GPD-related COMPASS data, which had previously been transferred from CERN, were moved bundled in tar archives from Blue Waters to Frontera using the Globus Online service.
Author: C. Riedl
Published on 1/5/2021

Publishing during the pandemic

PhD student Travis Dore and Assistant Professor Jaki Noronha-Hostler wrote a paper on the effects of shear and bulk viscosity and their influence on the search for the Quantum Chromodynamics critical point. We used relativistic hydrodynamics and studied at what point hydrodynamics breaks down as one approaches a critical point and also how out out-of-equilibrium effects influence the search for the critical point. This was recently accepted for publication in Phys. Rev. D:

PhD student Patrick Carzon and former Postdoc Dr. Matt Sievert (who recently left for a professorship at New Mexico State University) and Assistant Professor Jaki Noronha-Hostler published a paper on the possibility of a deformed 208^Pb nucleus. Most people assume lead 208 is spherical because it has double magic numbers but there is an unresolved puzzle in ultra-central heavy-ion collisions that a pear shape lead nucleus may resolve. However, from our study we find that it does not capture the correct fluctuations of the nucleus. This was accepted for publication in Phy Rev. C
Published on 10/19/2020

ICASU Welcomes New Graduate Fellow

The Illinois Center for Advanced Studies of the Universe (ICASU) welcomes the first ICASU graduate fellow, Debora Mroczek. Debora joins Professor Jacquelyn Noronha-Hostler’s research group, where she will use machine learning to map the Quantum Chromodynamic (QCD) phase diagram.
Published on 10/19/2020

Mr. Marco Meyer Successfully Defends Thesis

Mr. Marco Meyer, a graduate student at University of Paris-Saclay in France, has successfully defended his Ph.D thesis on November, 21st, 2019. Dr. Meyer's Ph.D thesis research was based on the COMPASS experiment at CERN. He led the effort to extract the absolute Drell-Yan cross sections using the 190 GeV pion beam on several targets. New information on the pion valence quark distributions as well as the nuclear modifications of parton distributions has been obtained from this research. Marco's Ph.D research supervisors are Dr. Stephane Platchkov at CEA Saclay, and Prof. Jen-Chieh Peng at UIUC. Marco spent one year at UIUC during 2018-2019 to complete the final phase of his Ph.D research. 
Author: Jen-Chieh Peng
Published on 11/25/2019