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  • richardmitnick 11:32 am on August 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , BNL, Successful Test of Small-Scale Accelerator with Big Potential Impacts for Science and Medicine   

    From BNL: “Successful Test of Small-Scale Accelerator with Big Potential Impacts for Science and Medicine” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    August 16, 2017
    Karen McNulty Walsh
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov

    “Fixed-field” accelerator transports multiple particle beams at a wide range of energies through a single beam pipe.

    1
    Members of the team testing a fixed-field, alternating-gradient beam transport line made with permanent magnets at Brookhaven Lab’s Accelerator Test Facility (ATF), left to right: Mark Palmer (Director of ATF), Dejan Trbojevic, Stephen Brooks, George Mahler, Steven Trabocchi, Thomas Roser, and Mikhail Fedurin (ATF operator and experimental liaison).

    An advanced particle accelerator designed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory could reduce the cost and increase the versatility of facilities for physics research and cancer treatment. It uses lightweight, 3D-printed frames to hold blocks of permanent magnets and an innovative method for fine-tuning the magnetic field to steer multiple beams at different energies through a single beam pipe.

    With this design, physicists could accelerate particles through multiple stages to higher and higher energies within a single ring of magnets, instead of requiring more than one ring to achieve these energies. In a medical setting, where the energy of particle beams determines how far they penetrate into the body, doctors could more easily deliver a range of energies to zap a tumor throughout its depth.

    Scientists testing a prototype of the compact, cost-effective design at Brookhaven’s Accelerator Test Facility (ATF)—a DOE Office of Science User Facility—say it came through with flying colors. Color-coded images show how a series of electron beams accelerated to five different energies successfully passed through the five-foot-long curve of magnets, with each beam tracing a different pathway within the same two-inch-diameter beam pipe.

    2
    Brooks’ proof-of-principle experiment showed that electron beams of five different energies could make their way through the arc of permanent magnets, each taking a somewhat different, color-coded path: dark green (18 million electron volts, or MeV), light green (24MeV), yellow (36MeV), red (54MeV), and purple (70MeV).

    “For each of five energy levels, we injected the beam at the ‘ideal’ trajectory for that energy and scanned to see what happens when it is slightly off the ideal orbit,” said Brookhaven Lab physicist Stephen Brooks, lead architect of the design. Christina Swinson, a physicist at the ATF, steered the beam through the ATF line and Brooks’ magnet assembly and played an essential role in running the experiments.

    “We designed these experiments to test our predictions and see how far away you can go from the ideal incoming trajectory and still get the beam through. For the most part, all the beam that went in came out at the other end,” Brooks said.

    The beams reached energies more than 3.5 times what had previously been achieved in a similar accelerator made from significantly larger electromagnets, with a doubling of the ratio between the highest and lowest energy beams.

    “These tests give us confidence that this accelerator technology can be used to carry beams at a wide range of energies,” Brooks said.

    No wires required

    Most particle accelerators use electromagnets to generate the powerful magnetic fields required to steer a beam of charged particles. To transport particles of different energies, scientists change the strength of the magnetic field by ramping up or down the electrical current passing through the magnets.

    Brooks’ design instead uses permanent magnets, the kind that stay magnetic without an electrical current—like the ones that stick to your refrigerator, only stronger. By arranging differently shaped magnet blocks to form a circle, Brooks creates a fixed magnetic field that varies in strength across different positions within the central aperture of each donut-shaped magnet array.

    When the magnets are lined up end-to-end like beads on a necklace to form a curved arc—as they were in the ATF experiment with assistance from Brookhaven’s surveying team to achieve precision alignment—higher energy particles move to the stronger part of the field. Alternating the field directions of sequential magnets keeps particles oscillating along their preferred trajectory as they move through the arc, with no power needed to accommodate particles of different energies.

    No electricity means less supporting infrastructure and easier operation—which all contribute to the significant cost savings potential of this non-scaling, fixed-field, alternating-gradient accelerator technology.

    Simplified design

    4
    Brooks’ successful test lays the foundation for the CBETA accelerator, in which bunches of electrons will be accelerated to four different energies and travel simultaneously within the same beampipe, as shown in this simulation.

    Brooks worked with George Mahler and Steven Trabocchi, engineers in Brookhaven’s Collider-Accelerator Department, to assemble the deceptively simple yet powerful magnets.

    First they used a 3D printer to create plastic frames to hold the shaped magnetic blocks, like pieces in a puzzle, around the central aperture. “Different sizes, or block thicknesses, and directions of magnetism allow a customized field within the aperture,” Brooks said.

    After the blocks were tapped into the frames with a mallet to create a coarse assembly, John Cintorino, a technician in Lab’s magnet division, measured the strength of the field. The team then fine-tuned each assembly by inserting different lengths of iron rods into as many as 64 positions around a second 3D-printed cartridge that fits within the ring of magnets. A computational program Brooks wrote uses the coarse assembly field-strength measurements to determine exactly how much iron goes into each slot. He’s also currently working on a robot to custom cut and insert the rods.

    The end-stage fine-tuning “compensates for any errors in machining and positioning of the magnet blocks,” Brooks said, improving the quality of the field 10-fold over the coarse assembly. The final magnets’ properties match or even surpass those of sophisticated electromagnets, which require much more precise engineering and machining to create each individual piece of metal.

    “The only high-tech equipment in our setup is the rotating coil we use to do the precision measurements,” he said.

    Applications and next steps

    The lightweight, compact components and simplified operation of Brooks’ permanent magnet beam transport line would be “a dramatic improvement from what is currently on the market for delivering particle beams in cancer treatment centers,” said Dejan Trbojevic, Brooks’ supervisor, who holds several patents on designs for particle therapy gantries.

    A gantry is the arced beamline that delivers cancer-killing particles from an accelerator to a patient. In some particle therapy facilities the gantry and supporting infrastructure can weigh 50 tons or more, often occupying a specially constructed wing of a hospital. Trbojevic estimates that a gantry using Brooks’ compact design would weigh just one ton. That would bring down the cost of constructing such facilities.

    “Plus with no need for electricity [to the magnets] to change field strengths, it would be much easier to operate,” Trbojevic said.

    The ability to accelerate particles rapidly to higher and higher energy levels within a single accelerator ring could also bring down the cost of proposed future physics experiments, including a muon collider, a neutrino factory, and an electron-ion collider (EIC). In these cases, additional accelerator components would boost the beams to higher energy.

    For example, Brookhaven physicists have been collaborating with physicists at Cornell University on a similar fixed-field design called CBETA. That project, developed with funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), is a slightly larger version of Brooks’ machine and includes all the accelerator components for bringing electron beams up to the energies required for an EIC. CBETA also decelerates electrons once they’ve been used for experiments to recover and reuse most of the energy. It will also test beams of multiple energies at the same time, something Brooks’ proof-of-principle experiment at the ATF did not do. But Brooks’ successful test strengthens confidence that the CBETA design is sound.

    “Everyone in Brookhaven’s Collider-Accelerator Department has been very supportive of this project,” said Trbojevic, Brookhaven’s Principal Investigator on CBETA.

    As Collider-Accelerator Department Chair Thomas Roser noted, “All these efforts are working toward advanced accelerator concepts that will ultimately benefit science and society as a whole. We’re looking forward to the next chapter in the evolution of this technology.”

    The magnets for Brooks’ experiment were built with Brookhaven’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development funds for the CBETA project as part of the R&D effort for an early version of Brookhaven’s proposed design for an EIC, known as eRHIC. Operation of the ATF is supported by the DOE Office of Science.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 10:11 am on August 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , BNL, Modulating semiconductors, ,   

    From BNL: “Scientists Find New Method to Control Electronic Properties of Nanocrystals” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    August 10, 2017
    Stephanie Kossman

    1
    From Left to Right: XPD beamline scientist Sanjit Ghose, postdoctoral researcher Anna Plonka, and Brookhaven Chemist Anatoly Frenkel.

    Researchers from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Stony Brook University, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered new effects of an important method for modulating semiconductors. The method, which works by creating open spaces or “vacancies” in a material’s structure, enables scientists to tune the electronic properties of semiconductor nanocrystals (SCNCs)—semiconductor particles that are smaller than 100 nanometers. This finding will advance the development of new technologies like smart windows, which can change opaqueness on demand.

    Scientists use a technique called “chemical doping” to control the electronic properties of semiconductors. In this process, chemical impurities—atoms from different materials—are added to a semiconductor in order to alter its electrical conductivity. Though it is possible to dope SCNCs, it is very difficult due to their tiny size. The amount of impurities added during chemical doping is so small that in order to dope a nanocrystal properly, no more than a few atoms can be added to the crystal. Nanocrystals also tend to expel impurities, further complicating the doping process.

    Seeking to control the electronic properties of SCNCs more easily, researchers studied a technique called vacancy formation. In this method, impurities are not added to the semiconductor; instead, vacancies in its structure are formed by oxidation-reduction (redox) reactions, a type of chemical reaction where electrons are transferred between two materials. During this transfer, a type of doping occurs as missing electrons, called holes, become free to move throughout the structure of the crystal, significantly altering the electrical conductivity of the SCNC.

    “We have also identified size effects in the efficiency of the vacancy formation doping reaction,” said Uri Banin, a nanotechnologist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. “Vacancy formation is actually more efficient in larger SCNCs.”

    In this study, the researchers investigated a redox reaction between copper sulfide nanocrystals (the semiconductor) and iodine, a chemical introduced in order to influence the redox reaction to occur.

    2
    (Top) The removal of copper from copper sulfide nanocrystals and the growth of copper iodine on nanocrystal facets is depicted by results from XAFS; (Bottom left) Larger nanocrystals are doped more efficiently by vacancy formation; (Right) Vacancy formation is observed by XRD.

    “If you reduce copper sulfide, you will pull out copper from the nanocrystal, generating vacancies and therefore holes,” said Anatoly Frenkel, a chemist at Brookhaven National Laboratory holding a joint appointment with Stony Brook University, and the lead Brookhaven researcher on this study.

    The researchers used the x-ray powder diffraction (XPD) beamline at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II)—a DOE Office of Science User Facility—to study the structure of copper sulfide during the redox reaction.

    BNL NSLS-II


    BNL NSLS II

    By shining ultra-bright x-rays onto their samples, the researchers are able to determine the amount of copper that is pulled out during the redox reaction.

    Based on their observations at NSLS-II, the team confirmed that adding more iodine to the system caused more copper to be released and more vacancies to form. This established that vacancy formation is a useful technique for tuning the electronic properties of SCNCs.

    Still, the researchers needed to find out what exactly was happening to copper when it left the nanocrystal. Understanding how copper behaves after the redox reaction is crucial for implementing this technique into smart window technology.

    “If copper uncontrollably disappears, we can’t pull it back into the system,” Frenkel said. “But suppose the copper that is taken out of the crystal is hovering around, ready to go back in. By using the reverse process, we can put it back into the system, and we can make a device that would be easy to switch from one state to the other. For example, you would be able to change the transparency of a window on demand, depending on the time of day or your mood.”

    To understand what was happening to copper, the researchers used x-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) spectroscopy at the Advanced Photon Source (APS)—also a DOE Office of Science User Facility—at Argonne National Laboratory. This technique allows the researchers to study the extremely small copper complexes that x-ray diffraction cannot detect. XAFS revealed that copper was combining with iodine to form copper iodine, a positive result that indicated copper could be put back into the nanocrystal and that the researchers have full control of the electronic properties.

    The researchers say the next step is to study materials in real-time during redox reactions using NSLS-II.

    This study was supported by the National Science Foundation, the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation, and Northwestern University. DOE’s Office of Science also supports operations at NSLS-II and APS.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 11:35 am on August 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 'Perfect Liquid' Quark-Gluon Plasma is the Most Vortical Fluid, , BNL, , New record for "vorticity", , , STAR detector's Time Project Chamber   

    From BNL: “‘Perfect Liquid’ Quark-Gluon Plasma is the Most Vortical Fluid” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    August 2, 2017
    Karen McNulty Walsh
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-8350

    Peter Genzer,
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    Swirling soup of matter’s fundamental building blocks spins ten billion trillion times faster than the most powerful tornado, setting new record for “vorticity”.

    1
    Ohio State University graduate student Isaac Upsal helped lead the analysis of results from the STAR detector that revealed a “vorticity” record for the quark-gluon plasma created in collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).

    BNL RHIC Campus

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector

    BNL RHIC PHENIX

    Particle collisions recreating the quark-gluon plasma (QGP) that filled the early universe reveal that droplets of this primordial soup swirl far faster than any other fluid. The new analysis of data from the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) — a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility for nuclear physics research at Brookhaven National Laboratory — shows that the “vorticity” of the QGP surpasses the whirling fluid dynamics of super-cell tornado cores and Jupiter’s Great Red Spot by many orders of magnitude, and even beats out the fastest spin record held by nanodroplets of superfluid helium.

    The results, just published in Nature, add a new record to the list of remarkable properties ascribed to the quark-gluon plasma. This soup made of matter’s fundamental building blocks — quarks and gluons — has a temperature hundreds of thousands of times hotter than the center of the sun and an ultralow viscosity, or resistance to flow, leading physicists to describe it as “nearly perfect.” By studying these properties and the factors that control them, scientists hope to unlock the secrets of the strongest and most poorly understood force in nature — the one responsible for binding quarks and gluons into the protons and neutrons that form most of the visible matter in the universe today.

    Specifically, the results on vorticity, or swirling fluid motion, will help scientists sort among different theoretical descriptions of the plasma. And with more data, it may give them a way to measure the strength of the plasma’s magnetic field — an essential variable for exploring other interesting physics phenomena.

    “Up until now, the big story in characterizing the QGP is that it’s a hot fluid that expands explosively and flows easily,” said Michael Lisa, a physicist from Ohio State University (OSU) and a member of RHIC’s STAR collaboration. “But we want to understand this fluid at a much finer level. Does it thermalize, or reach equilibrium, quickly enough to form vortices in the fluid itself? And if so, how does the fluid respond to the extreme vorticity?” The new analysis, which was led by Lisa and OSU graduate student Isaac Upsal, gives STAR a way to get at those finer details.

    3
    Telltale signs of a lambda hyperon (Λ) decaying into a proton (p) and a pion (π-) as tracked by the Time Projection Chamber of the STAR detector. Because the proton comes out nearly aligned with the hyperon’s spin direction, tracking where these “daughter” protons strike the detector can be a stand-in for tracking how the hyperons’ spins are aligned.

    Aligning spins

    “The theory is that if I have a fluid with vorticity — a whirling substructure — it tends to align the spins of the particles it emits in the same direction as the whirls,” Lisa said. And, while there can be many small whirlpools within the QGP all pointing in random directions, on average their spins should align with what’s known as the angular momentum of the system — a rotation of the system generated by the colliding particles as they speed past one another at nearly the speed of light.

    To track the spinning particles and the angular momentum, STAR physicists correlated simultaneous measurements at two different detector components. The first, known as the Beam-Beam Counters, sit at the front and rear ends of the house-size STAR detector, catching subtle deflections in the paths of colliding particles as they pass by one another. The size and direction of the deflection tells the physicists how much angular momentum there is and which way it is pointing for each collision event.

    Meanwhile, STAR’s Time Project Chamber, a gas-filled chamber that surrounds the collision zone, tracks the paths of hundreds or even thousands of particles that come out perpendicular to the center of the collisions.

    “We’re specifically looking for signs of Lambda hyperons, spinning particles that decay into a proton and a pion that we measure in the Time Projection Chamber,” said Ernst Sichtermann, a deputy STAR spokesperson and senior scientist at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Because the proton comes out nearly aligned with the hyperon’s spin direction, tracking where these “daughter” protons strike the detector can be a stand-in for tracking how the hyperons’ spins are aligned.

    “We are looking for some systematic preference for the direction of these daughter protons aligned with the angular momentum we measure in the Beam-Beam Counters,” Upsal said. “The magnitude of that preference tells us the degree of vorticity — the average rate of swirling — of the QGP.”

    4
    Tracking particle spins reveals that the quark-gluon plasma created at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider is more swirly than the cores of super-cell tornados, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, or any other fluid!

    Super spin

    The results reveal that RHIC collisions create the most vortical fluid ever, a QGP spinning faster than a speeding tornado, more powerful than the fastest spinning fluid on record. “So the most ideal fluid with the smallest viscosity also has the most vorticity,” Lisa said.

    This kind of makes sense, because low viscosity in the QGP allows the vorticity to persist, Lisa said. “Viscosity destroys whirls. With QGP, if you set it spinning, it tends to keep on spinning.”

    The data are also in the ballpark of what different theories predicted for QGP vorticity. “Different theories predict different amounts, depending on what parameters they include, so our results will help us sort through those theories and determine which factors are most relevant,” said Sergei Voloshin, a STAR collaborator from Wayne State University. “But most of the theoretical predications were too low,” he added. “Our measurements show that the QGP is even more vortical than predicted.”

    This discovery was made during the Beam Energy Scan program, which exploits RHIC’s unique ability to systematically vary the energy of collisions over a range in which other particularly interesting phenomena have been observed. In fact, theories suggest that this may be the optimal range for the discovery and subsequent study of the vorticity-induced spin alignment, since the effect is expected to diminish at higher energy.

    Increasing the numbers of Lambda hyperons tracked in future collisions at RHIC will improve the STAR scientists’ ability to use these measurements to calculate the strength of the magnetic field generated in RHIC collisions. The strength of magnetism influences the movement of charged particles as they are created and emerge from RHIC collisions, so measuring its strength is important to fully characterize the QGP, including how it separates differently charged particles.

    “Theory predicts that the magnetic field created in heavy ion experiments is much higher than any other magnetic field in the universe,” Lisa said. At the very least, being able to measure it accurately may nab another record for QGP.

    Research at RHIC and with the STAR detector is funded primarily by the DOE Office of Science.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

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    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 3:53 pm on July 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BNL, , Strange Electrons Break the Crystal Symmetry of High-Temperature Superconductors, Symmetry-breaking flow of electrons through copper-oxide, The symmetry-breaking voltage persisted up to room temperature and across the whole range of chemical compositions the scientists examined   

    From BNL: “Strange Electrons Break the Crystal Symmetry of High-Temperature Superconductors” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    July 26, 2017
    Justin Eure
    jeure@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-2347

    Peter Genzer
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    Brookhaven Lab scientists discover spontaneous voltage perpendicular to applied current that may help unravel the mystery of high-temperature superconductors.

    1
    Brookhaven Lab scientists (from left) Ivan Bozovic, Xi He, Jie Wu, and Anthony Bollinger with the atomic layer-by-layer molecular beam epitaxy system used to synthesize the superconducting cuprate samples.

    The perfect performance of superconductors could revolutionize everything from grid-scale power infrastructure to consumer electronics, if only they could be coerced into operating above frigid temperatures. Even so-called high-temperature superconductors (HTS) must be chilled to hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit below zero.

    Now, scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Yale University have discovered new, surprising behavior by electrons in a HTS material. The results, published July 27 in the journal Nature, describe the symmetry-breaking flow of electrons through copper-oxide (cuprate) superconductors. The behavior may be linked to the ever-elusive mechanism behind HTS.

    “Our discovery challenges a cornerstone of condensed matter physics,” said lead author and Brookhaven Lab physicist Jie Wu. “These electrons seem to spontaneously ‘choose’ their own paths through the material — a phenomenon in direct opposition to expectations.”

    Off-road electrons

    In simple metals, electrons move evenly and without directional preference — think of a liquid spreading out on a surface. The HTS materials in this study are layered with four-fold rotational symmetry of the crystal structure. Electric current is expected to flow uniformly parallel to these layers — but this is not what the Brookhaven group observed.

    “I’m from the Midwest, where miles of farmland separate the cities,” said Brookhaven physicist and study coauthor Anthony Bollinger. “The country roads between the cities are largely laid out like a grid going north-to-south and east-to-west. You expect cars to follow the grid, which is tailor-made for them. This symmetry breaking is as if everyone decided to leave the paved roads and drive straight across farmers’ fields.”

    In another twist, the symmetry-breaking voltage persisted up to room temperature and across the whole range of chemical compositions the scientists examined.

    “The electrons somehow coordinate their movement through the material, even after the superconductivity fails,” said Wu.

    Strong electron-electron interactions may help explain the preferential direction of current flow. In turn, these intrinsic electronic quirks may share a relationship with HTS phenomena and offer a hint to decoding its unknown mechanism.

    Seeking atomic perfection

    Unlike well-understood classical superconductivity, HTS has puzzled scientists for more than three decades. Now, advanced techniques are offering unprecedented insights.

    “The most difficult part of the whole work — and what helps set us apart — was the meticulous material synthesis,” said study coauthor Xi He.

    This work was a part of a larger project that took 12 years and encompassed the synthesis and study of more than 2,000 films of lanthanum-strontium-copper-oxide superconductors.

    “This scale of research is well-suited to a national laboratory environment,” said Ivan Bozovic, who leads the Brookhaven group behind the effort.

    They use a technique called molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) to assemble complex oxides one atomic layer at a time. To ensure structural perfection, the scientists characterize the materials in real time with electron diffraction, where an electron beam strikes the sample and sensitive detectors measure precisely how it scatters.

    “The material itself is our foundation, and it must be as flawless as possible to guarantee that the observed properties are intrinsic,” Bozovic said. “Moreover, by virtue of our ‘digital’ synthesis, we engineer the films at the atomic-layer level, and optimize them for different studies.”

    Swimming against the current

    The first major result of this comprehensive study by the MBE group at Brookhaven was published in Nature last year. It demonstrated that the superconducting state in copper-oxide materials is quite unusual, challenging the standard understanding.

    That finding suggested that the so-called “normal” metallic state, which forms above the critical temperature threshold at which superconductivity breaks down, might also be extraordinary. Looking carefully, the scientists observed that as external current flowed through the samples, a spontaneous voltage unexpectedly emerged perpendicular to that current.

    “We first observed this bizarre voltage over a decade ago, but we and others discounted that as some kind of error,” Bollinger said. “But then it showed up again, and again, and again — under increasingly controlled conditions — and we ran out of ways to explain it away. When we finally dove in, the results exceeded our expectations.”

    To pin down the origin of the phenomenon, the scientists fabricated and measured thousands of devices patterned out of the HTS films. They studied how this spontaneous voltage depends on the current direction, temperature, and the chemical composition (the level of doping by strontium, which controls the electron density). They also varied the type and the crystal structure of the substrates on which the HTS films are grown, and even how the substrates are polished.

    These meticulous studies showed beyond doubt that the effect is intrinsic to the HTS material itself, and that its origin is purely electronic.

    At the molecular level, common liquids look the same in every direction. Some, however, are comprised of rod-like molecules, which tend to align in one preferred direction. Such materials are called liquid crystals — they polarize light and are widely used in displays. While electrons in common metals behave as a liquid, in cuprates they behave as an electronic liquid crystal.

    “We need to understand how this electron behavior fits into the HTS puzzle as a whole,” He said. “This study gives us new ideas to pursue and ways to tackle what may be the biggest mystery in condensed matter physics. I’m excited to see where this research takes us.”

    Authors Bozovic and He share affiliation with Brookhaven Lab and Yale University.

    The research was funded by DOE’s Office of Science.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 9:17 pm on July 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BNL, , Helen Caines, , ,   

    From Yale: Women in STEM -“Yale’s Helen Caines takes a leadership role in international STAR experiment” 

    Yale University bloc

    Yale University

    July 12, 2017

    Jim Shelton
    james.shelton@yale.edu
    203-361-8332

    1
    The left half of this image shows the Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC. It is a detector that specializes in tracking the thousands of particles produced by each ion collision at RHIC. The right half of the image shows the end view of a collision of two 30-billion electron-volt gold beams in the STAR detector at RHIC. (Image courtesy of STAR)

    BNL RHIC Campus

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector

    BNL RHIC PHENIX

    Helen Caines has spent much of her professional life immersed in cosmic soup.

    While other physicists have chased gravitational waves, cultivated qubits, and mused about dark matter, Caines has focused squarely on the thick glop of particles that transformed into nuclear matter in the first milliseconds after the Big Bang. Through studying these particles, Caines believes, humanity can come to understand the basic processes that formed the early universe at that instant.

    Now Caines is a leading voice in explaining how much we’ve learned so far and what is to come. On July 1, she became co-spokesperson for the STAR experiment, an international collaboration of more than 600 physicists searching for the theorized “critical point” that transformed the universe from a soup of quarks into what we know as matter today.

    “We’re doing very exciting physics, things we never dreamed we’d be able to do when we started,” said Caines, an associate professor of physics and member of Yale’s Wright Lab. “STAR is a testament to how innovative a collaboration can be. We have the whole range of experience, from undergraduates to emeritus professors working with us.”

    The STAR experiment is focused on the dense, hot soup of quarks and gluons — known as the quark-gluon plasma — that is believed to have existed ten millionths of a second after the Big Bang. These conditions can be recreated in the laboratory by colliding heavy ions and studying the reactions — an endeavor that still amazes Caines even after more than 20 years of research.

    “It’s just so intriguing that you can smash heavy ions together and actually learn something about the early universe from it,” she said. “It’s like smashing two automobiles together and then trying to determine the make and model of each one.”

    2
    Helen Caines will co-lead the STAR experiment’s investigation of what happened ten millionths of a second after the Big Bang. (Photo by Michael Marsland)

    STAR launched in 1991 and is based at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory.


    The experiment began collecting data in 2000. More than 60 institutions in 13 countries are part of STAR.

    Yale’s involvement in the STAR experiment runs deep. Zhangbu Xu, co-spokesperson with Caines, has a Yale Ph.D., and Yale physics professor John Harris was the founding spokesperson, serving from 1991 until 2002. Current Yale collaborators, along with Caines and Harris, are emeritus professor Jack Sandweiss; adjunct professor Thomas Ullrich; graduate students Stephen Horvat, Daniel Nemes, and David Stewart; senior research scientist Richard Majka; research scientist Nikolai Smirnov; and postdoctoral associates Saehanseul Oh and Li Yi.

    “Yale has been committed to heavy ion physics research since the founding by professor D. Allan Bromley of the original Wright Nuclear Structure Laboratory in 1966 and its various upgrades of its tandem van de Graaff accelerators,” Harris said. Yale became a member institution of the STAR experiment in 1996, when Harris arrived on campus.

    Caines joined the experiment in 1996 as well. Her work involves measuring the high-momentum particles that are produced when ultra-relativistic heavy ions are collided. Specifically, she focuses on the particles’ movement through the surrounding soup. The work is helping scientists start to understand the properties and characteristics of a new state of matter in transition.

    This is where the so-called “critical point” becomes essential to physicists. Caines has been a major proponent for a program at RHIC called Beam Energy Scan, which has successfully concluded its first phase of experiments and is in the middle of its analysis.

    “BES covers the full range of collision energies at RHIC with the primary goal of potentially discovering a critical point that is predicted to exist in the phase diagram of nuclear matter,” Harris said. “At this critical point nuclear matter transforms into a plasma of quarks and gluons in a first order phase transition, where nuclear particles as we know them coexist for an instant with quarks and gluons in a very hot phase, about 100,000 times hotter than our Sun.”

    Caines will co-lead STAR in its continuing investigation of this nuclear phase and help lead a second phase of experiments over the next few years. She and Yale graduate student Horvat have identified an approximate region in collision energy and temperature where researchers may find the critical point — a region where the hotter phase of quarks and gluons gives way to the cooler nuclear phase.

    Caines’ colleagues say she is well suited to her new role.

    “These large collaborations require a lot from a spokesperson,” said Sarah Demers, the Horace Taft Associate Professor of Physics at Yale and a member of the ATLAS experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. “You need to be a physics detector expert, a physics analysis expert, and you need to be able to keep your colleagues inspired and behind a common plan. Helen is an excellent physicist, and she knows how to lead a team.”

    Caines received her Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham, U.K., in 1996. She was appointed assistant professor at Yale in 2004 and promoted to associate professor in 2010. She is a faculty member of Yale’s Wright Lab.

    Part of the satisfaction of her job, she said, is the opportunity to be surprised even after decades of research. The STAR experiment exemplifies this, she explained.

    “We’re at a very interesting stage,” Caines said. “We think we may find a place in nuclear matter, where things go wild.”

    See the full article here .

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    Yale University Campus

    Yale University comprises three major academic components: Yale College (the undergraduate program), the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the professional schools. In addition, Yale encompasses a wide array of centers and programs, libraries, museums, and administrative support offices. Approximately 11,250 students attend Yale.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:58 pm on July 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BNL, , New Droplet-on-Tape Method Assists Biochemical Research at X-Ray Lasers, , ,   

    From SLAC: “New Droplet-on-Tape Method Assists Biochemical Research at X-Ray Lasers” 


    SLAC Lab

    February 27, 2017 [Never saw this one before]

    1
    Acoustic droplet ejection allows scientists to deposit nanoliters of sample directly into the X-ray beam, considerably increasing the efficiency of sample consumption. A femtosecond pulse from an X-ray free-electron laser then intersects with a droplet that contains protein crystals. (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

    SLAC/LCLS

    2
    As the drops move forward, they are hit with pulses of visible light or treated with oxygen gas, which triggers different chemical reactions depending on the sample studied. (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

    Biological samples studied with intense X-rays at free-electron lasers are destroyed within nanoseconds after they are exposed. Because of this, the samples need to be continually refreshed to allow the many images needed for an experiment to be obtained. Conventional methods use jets that supply a continuous stream of samples, but this can be very wasteful as the X-rays only interact with a tiny fraction of the injected material.

    To help address this issue, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and other institutes designed a new assembly-line system that rapidly replaces exposed samples by moving droplets along a miniature conveyor belt, timed to coincide with the arrival of the X-ray pulses.

    The droplet-on-tape system now allows the team to study the biochemical reactions in real-time from microseconds to seconds, revealing the stages of these complex reactions.

    In their approach, protein solution or crystals are precisely deposited in tiny liquid drops, made as ultrasound waves push the liquid onto a moving tape. As the drops move forward, they are hit with pulses of visible light or treated with oxygen gas, which triggers different chemical reactions depending on the sample studied. This allows the study of processes such as photosynthesis, which determines how plants absorb light from the sun and convert it into useable energy.

    Finally, powerful X-ray pulses from SLAC’s X-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), probe the drops. In this study published in Nature Methods, the X-ray light scattered from the sample onto two different detectors simultaneously, one for X-ray crystallography and the other for X-ray emission spectroscopy. These are two complementary methods that provide information about the geometric and electronic structure of the catalytic sites of the proteins and allowed them to watch with atomic precision how the protein structures changed during the reaction.

    Below, see the conveyor belt in action at LCLS, a Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility.

    3
    Droplet-on-tape conveyor belt system delivers samples at the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

    See the full article here .

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    SLAC Campus
    SLAC is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the DOE’s Office of Science.
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  • richardmitnick 7:35 am on July 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , BNL, , , ,   

    From BNL: “Electron Orbitals May Hold Key to Unifying Concept of High-Temperature Superconductivity” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    July 6, 2017
    Karen McNulty Walsh,
    kmcnulty@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-8350

    Peter Genzer
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    1
    Iron-based superconductivity occurs in materials such as iron selenide (FeSe) that contain crystal planes made up of a square array of iron (Fe) atoms, depicted here. In these iron layers, each Fe atom has two active electron “clouds,” or orbitals—dxz (red) and dyz (blue)—each containing one electron. By directly visualizing the electron states in the iron planes of FeSe, the researchers revealed that that electrons in the dxz orbitals (red) do not form Cooper pairs or contribute to the superconductivity, but instead form an incoherent metallic state along the horizontal (x) axis. In contrast, all electrons in the dyz orbitals (blue) form strong Cooper pairs with neighboring atoms to generate superconductivity. Searching for other materials with this exotic “orbital-selective” pairing may lead to the discovery of new superconductors. No image credit.

    2
    The custom-built Spectroscopic Imaging Scanning Tunneling Microscope used for these experiments stands one meter high, with cryogenic circuitry at the top for cooling samples to temperatures just above absolute zero (nearly -273 degrees Celsius). Inside, a needle with single atom on the end scans across the crystal surface in steps as small as 2 trillionths of a meter, measuring the electron tunneling current at each location. These measurements reveal the quantum wavefunctions of electrons in the material with exquisite precision. No image credit.

    A team of scientists has found evidence for a new type of electron pairing that may broaden the search for new high-temperature superconductors. The findings, described in the journal Science, provide the basis for a unifying description of how radically different “parent” materials—insulating copper-based compounds and metallic iron-based compounds—can develop the ability to carry electrical current with no resistance at strikingly high temperatures.

    According to the scientists, the materials’ dissimilar electronic characteristics actually hold the key to commonality.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 11:23 am on July 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BNL, Center for Emergent Superconductivity, Chemical doping, , Electrolyte gating, ,   

    From BNL: “Brookhaven Scientists Study Role of ‘Electrolyte Gating’ in Functional Oxide Materials” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    July 3, 2017
    Stephanie Kossman
    skossman@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-8671

    Peter Genzer
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    1
    No image caption or credit.

    Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have broken new ground in the study of functional oxide materials. The researchers discovered a previously unknown mechanism involved in “electrolyte gating,” a method for increasing electrical conductivity in materials and potentially inducing superconductivity. Their work was published on Monday, July 3 in Quantum Materials, a Nature partner journal.

    Superconductivity is the ability of a material to conduct electricity with zero loss or resistance. This effect is 100 percent efficient but has only been achieved at extremely cold temperatures, making it impractical for most large-scale applications. In Brookhaven’s Oxide Molecular Beam Epitaxy Group, led by Ivan Bozovic, researchers have been investigating oxides – chemical compounds with oxygen atoms – as potential high-temperature superconductors.

    Seeking to induce superconductivity in tungsten oxide, the researchers used a method called electrolyte gating. In this technique, electrically charged compounds draw ions with opposite charges away from each other, creating large electric fields and increasing a material’s electrical conductivity.

    Similar effects have traditionally been produced using a technique called chemical doping, which requires scientists to add new atoms to materials. Though productive, chemical doping is inefficient for finding new materials with interesting and useful properties because the conductivity of “doped” materials is fixed and cannot be easily changed if researchers want to test a material under different conditions.

    On the other hand, “Electrolyte gating allows you to tune materials,” said Tony Bollinger, a physicist at Brookhaven and one of the paper’s authors. “You can have one sample that you grow and then can continuously change—or tune—as you test it. It saves you from having to go back and synthesize new materials.”

    Until now, the underlying mechanisms of electrolyte gating were not fully understood. There were two competing theories, one focused on an electrostatic effect, another focused on an oxygen-related (electrochemical) effect. The team at Brookhaven, however, discovered an entirely new mechanism at play, where hydrogen plays a key role.

    By using a new method for patterning materials, the researchers were able to monitor the electrical resistance in sections near the site of electrolyte gating, not just in the immediate area. In this area, they observed a drop in resistance and a migration of positive charge. Based on the distance the charge moved, they were able to determine hydrogen atoms were moving through tungsten oxide.

    “This means there is no universal mechanism for electrolyte gating,” Bollinger said. “It’s not always purely electrostatic or electrochemical. You have to look at your specific material and see what is going on there. Our findings give us a guide as we move forward and apply electrolyte gating to other materials.”

    Brookhaven’s researchers also developed other new techniques to confirm their observations in this study. For example, they grew materials with different layers of thickness in order to measure electrical resistance in progressively thicker portions of the material, finding electrolyte gating was affecting the whole material, not just the surface.

    “These techniques will increase the number of ways we can probe materials to see exactly what the influence of electrolyte gating is on them,” Bollinger said.

    Moving forward, the researchers say electrolyte gating can be used as a more efficient alternative to chemical doping and could speed up the process of discovering new superconducting materials.

    This work was supported in part by the Center for Emergent Superconductivity, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by DOE’s Office of Science.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world.Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 5:12 pm on June 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , BNL, , , , , HPSS -High Performance Storage System, , , , RACF - Resource Access Control Facility, Scientific Data and Computing Center   

    From BNL: “Brookhaven Lab’s Scientific Data and Computing Center Reaches 100 Petabytes of Recorded Data” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    Ariana Tantillo
    atantillo@bnl.gov

    Total reflects 17 years of experimental physics data collected by scientists to understand the fundamental nature of matter and the basic forces that shape our universe.

    1
    (Back row) Ognian Novakov, Christopher Pinkenburg, Jérôme Lauret, Eric Lançon, (front row) Tim Chou, David Yu, Guangwei Che, and Shigeki Misawa at Brookhaven Lab’s Scientific Data and Computing Center, which houses the Oracle StorageTek tape storage system where experimental data are recorded.

    Imagine storing approximately 1300 years’ worth of HDTV video, nearly six million movies, or the entire written works of humankind in all languages since the start of recorded history—twice over. Each of these quantities is equivalent to 100 petabytes of data: the amount of data now recorded by the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) and ATLAS Computing Facility (RACF) Mass Storage Service, part of the Scientific Data and Computing Center (SDCC) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory. One petabyte is defined as 10245 bytes, or 1,125,899,906,842,624 bytes, of data.

    “This is a major milestone for SDCC, as it reflects nearly two decades of scientific research for the RHIC nuclear physics and ATLAS particle physics experiments, including the contributions of thousands of scientists and engineers,” said Brookhaven Lab technology architect David Yu, who leads the SDCC’s Mass Storage Group.

    SDCC is at the core of a global computing network connecting more than 2,500 researchers around the world with data from the STAR and PHENIX experiments at RHIC—a DOE Office of Science User Facility at Brookhaven—and the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Europe.

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector

    BNL/RHIC PHENIX

    CERN/ATLAS detector

    In these particle collision experiments, scientists recreate conditions that existed just after the Big Bang, with the goal of understanding the fundamental forces of nature—gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear—and the basic structure of matter, energy, space, and time.

    Big Data Revolution

    The RHIC and ATLAS experiments are part of the big data revolution.

    BNL RHIC Campus


    BNL/RHIC

    These experiments involve collecting extremely large datasets that reduce statistical uncertainty to make high-precision measurements and search for extremely rare processes and particles.

    For example, only one Higgs boson—an elementary particle whose energy field is thought to give mass to all the other elementary particles—is produced for every billion proton-proton collisions at the LHC.

    CERN CMS Higgs Event


    CERN/CMS Detector

    CERN ATLAS Higgs Event

    More, once produced, the Higgs boson almost immediately decays into other particles. So detecting the particle is a rare event, with around one trillion collisions required to detect a single instance. When scientists first discovered the Higgs boson at the LHC in 2012, they observed about 20 instances, recording and analyzing more than 300 trillion collisions to confirm the particle’s discovery.

    LHC

    CERN/LHC Map

    CERN LHC Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

    At the end of 2016, the ATLAS collaboration released its first measurement of the mass of the W boson particle (another elementary particle that, together with the Z boson, is responsible for the weak nuclear force). This measurement, which is based on a sample of 15 million W boson candidates collected at LHC in 2011, has a relative precision of 240 parts per million (ppm)—a result that matches the best single-experiment measurement announced in 2007 by the Collider Detector at Fermilab collaboration, whose measurement is based on several years’ worth of collected data. A highly precise measurement is important because a deviation from the mass predicted by the Standard Model could point to new physics. More data samples are required to achieve the level of accuracy (80 ppm) that scientists need to significantly test this model.

    The volume of data collected by these experiments will grow significantly in the near future as new accelerator programs deliver higher-intensity beams. The LHC will be upgraded to increase its luminosity (rate of collisions) by a factor of 10. This High-Luminosity LHC, which should be operational by 2025, will provide a unique opportunity for particle physicists to look for new and unexpected phenomena within the exabytes (one exabyte equals 1000 petabytes) of data that will be collected.

    Data archiving is the first step in making available the results from such experiments. Thousands of physicists then need to calibrate and analyze the archived data and compare the data to simulations. To this end, computational scientists, computer scientists, and mathematicians in Brookhaven Lab’s Computational Science Initiative, which encompasses SDCC, are developing programming tools, numerical models, and data-mining algorithms. Part of SDCC’s mission is to provide computing and networking resources in support of these activities.

    A Data Storage, Computing, and Networking Infrastructure

    Housed inside SDCC are more than 60,000 computing cores, 250 computer racks, and tape libraries capable of holding up to 90,000 magnetic storage tape cartridges that are used to store, process, analyze, and distribute the experimental data. The facility provides approximately 90 percent of the computing capacity for analyzing data from the STAR and PHENIX experiments, and serves as the largest of the 12 Tier 1 computing centers worldwide that support the ATLAS experiment. As a Tier 1 center, SDCC contributes nearly 23 percent of the total computing and storage capacity for the ATLAS experiment and delivers approximately 200 terabytes of data (picture 62 million photos) per day to more than 100 data centers globally.

    At SDCC, the High Performance Storage System (HPSS) has been providing mass storage services to the RHIC and LHC experiments since 1997 and 2006, respectively. This data archiving and retrieval software, developed by IBM and several DOE national laboratories, manages petabytes of data on disk and in robot-controlled tape libraries. Contained within the libraries are magnetic tape cartridges that encode the data and tape drives that read and write the data. Robotic arms load the cartridges into the drives and unload them upon request.

    3
    Inside one of the automated tape libraries at the Scientific Data and Computing Center (SDCC), Eric Lançon, director of SDCC, holds a magnetic tape cartridge. When scientists need data, a robotic arm (the piece of equipment in front of Lançon) retrieves the relevant cartridges from their slots and loads them into drives in the back of the library.

    When ranked by the volume of data stored in a single HPSS, Brookhaven’s system is the second largest in the nation and the fourth largest in the world. Currently, the RACF operates nine Oracle robotic tape libraries that constitute the largest Oracle tape storage system in the New York tri-state area. Contained within this system are nearly 70,000 active cartridges with capacities ranging from 800 gigabytes to 8.5 terabytes, and more than 100 tape drives. As the volume of scientific data to be stored increases, more libraries, tapes, and drives can be added accordingly. In 2006, this scalability was exercised when HPSS was expanded to accommodate data from the ATLAS experiment at LHC.

    “The HPSS system was deployed in the late 1990s, when the RHIC accelerator was coming on line. It allowed data from RHIC experiments to be transmitted via network to the data center for storage—a relatively new idea at the time,” said Shigeki Misawa, manager of Mass Storage and General Services at Brookhaven Lab. Misawa played a key role in the initial evaluation and configuration of HPSS, and has guided the system through significant changes in hardware (network equipment, storage systems, and servers) and operational requirements (tape drive read/write rate, magnetic tape cartridge capacity, and data transfer speed). “Prior to this system, data was recorded on magnetic tape at the experiment and physically moved to the data center,” he continued.

    Over the years, SDCC’s HPSS has been augmented with a suite of optimization and monitoring tools developed at Brookhaven Lab. One of these tools is David Yu’s scheduling software that optimizes the retrieval of massive amounts of data from tape storage. Another, developed by Jérôme Lauret, software and computing project leader for the STAR experiment, is software for organizing multiple user requests to retrieve data more efficiently.

    Engineers in the Mass Storage Group—including Tim Chou, Guangwei Che, and Ognian Novakov—have created other software tools customized for Brookhaven Lab’s computing environment to enhance data management and operation abilities and to improve the effectiveness of equipment usage.

    STAR experiment scientists have demonstrated the capabilities of SDCC’s enhanced HPSS, retrieving more than 4,000 files per hour (a rate of 6,000 gigabytes per hour) while using a third of HPSS resources. On the data archiving side, HPSS can store data in excess of five gigabytes per second.

    As demand for mass data storage spreads across Brookhaven, access to HPSS is being extended to other research groups. In the future, SDCC is expected to provide centralized mass storage services to multi-experiment facilities, such as the Center for Functional Nanomaterials and the National Synchrotron Light Source II—two more DOE Office of Science User Facilities at Brookhaven.

    “The tape library system of SDCC is a clear asset for Brookhaven’s current and upcoming big data science programs,” said SDCC Director Eric Lançon. “Our expertise in the field of data archiving is acknowledged worldwide.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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  • richardmitnick 7:53 pm on June 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BNL, BNL "science raft", ,   

    From BNL: “Brookhaven Lab Reaches Major Milestone for Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Project” 

    Brookhaven Lab

    June 26, 2017
    Stephanie Kossman
    skossman@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-8671, or

    Peter Genzer,
    genzer@bnl.gov
    (631) 344-3174

    1
    Paul O’Connor (left) and Bill Wahl (right) pictured with components of the science raft.

    Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have completed the first “science raft” for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), a massive telescope designed to capture images of the universe like never before. The raft is part of the sensor array that will make up the crucial camera segment of the telescope, and its completion is the first major milestone for Brookhaven’s role in the project.

    The LSST project is a collaborative effort among more than 30 institutions from around the globe, funded primarily by DOE’s Office of Science and the National Science Foundation. SLAC National Accelerator Lab is leading the overall DOE effort, and Brookhaven is leading the conceptualization, design, construction, and qualification of the digital sensory array, the “digital film” for LSST’s camera.


    LSST Camera, built at SLAC



    LSST telescope, currently under construction at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing Gemini South and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescopes.

    Now under construction on a mountaintop in Chile, LSST will capture an image of the entire sky in the southern hemisphere every three nights, allowing researchers to create a time-lapse movie of the universe. Its camera will have an unparalleled field of view and, coupled with the light gathering power of the telescope, LSST will have a far greater capacity to survey the sky than has ever been previously available.

    The 3,200 megapixel sensor array being developed at Brookhaven is what will enable LSST to capture this extraordinary view when it begins operations in 2023.

    “It’s the heart of the camera,” said Bill Wahl, Science Raft Subsystem Manager of the LSST project at Brookhaven Lab. “What we’re doing here at Brookhaven represents years of great work by many talented scientists and engineers, which will lead to a collection of images that has never been seen before by anyone. It’s an exciting time for the project and especially for the Lab.”

    LSST’s scientists have designed a grid composed of more than 200 sensors, divided into 21 modules called science rafts. Each raft can function as a camera on its own but, when combined, they will stitch together a complete image of the visible sky. After years of design and construction, the first raft was qualified for use in the LSST camera in late May 2017. Brookhaven is now scheduled to construct approximately one raft per month.

    “Completion of the first raft is a big stepping stone,” said Paul O’Connor, Senior Scientist at Brookhaven Lab’s Instrumentation Division. Scientists at Brookhaven have successfully captured high-fidelity images using the newly completed raft, confirming the functionality of its design.

    Brookhaven began its LSST research and development program in 2003, with construction starting in 2014. In the time leading up to this milestone, an entire production facility, along with production and tracking software, needed to be created. During the past three years, Brookhaven and its vendors have been tackling the painstaking task of constructing these incredibly precise imaging arrays.

    The science raft “is an object that is tricky enough to build alone, but it also has to operate perfectly when in a vacuum and cooled to -100° Celsius,” O’Connor said. Cooling the rafts improves the camera’s sensitivity; however, it also causes parts to contract, making it increasingly complicated to design the rafts precisely.

    Ultimately, even with these challenges, the first raft was completed on time and the full digital sensor array is on track to be delivered to Chile by the end of 2019.

    Once operational in the Andes Mountains, LSST will serve nearly every subset of the astrophysics community. It is estimated that LSST will find tens of millions of asteroids in our solar system, in addition to offering new information about the creation of our galaxy.

    The main interest of the DOE in supporting the development of the LSST camera, however, is to investigate dark energy and dark matter – two anomalies that have baffled astrophysicists for decades.


    Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL


    NOAO/CTIO Victor M Blanco 4m Telescope which houses the DECam at Cerro Tololo, Chile, housing DECam

    “This is what a lot of people would say is the most pressing question of fundamental physics,” O’Connor said. “The nature of dark energy and dark matter don’t fit into the rest of physics.”

    Scientists intend to use LSST to infer the spatial distribution of dark matter by looking at the way its gravitational force bends light from luminous matter (matter in the universe that emits light).

    Images captured by LSST will also be made available to the public through a full-sky viewer similar to the Google Earth platform. This technology will give students and independent scientists the opportunity to investigate dark energy and dark matter, as well as for an average person to see and explore the stars.

    For more information on LSST, please visit https://www.lsst.org/

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition
    BNL Campus

    One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. The Laboratory’s almost 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff are joined each year by more than 5,000 visiting researchers from around the world. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE’s Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.
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