Jefferson Lab
1999 JLab News Release
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    Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility Scientific Achievements for 1999

  • A recent experiment at the Department of Energy's Jefferson Lab has announced results that could prove among the decade's most important in the field of nuclear physics: strange quarks are suprisingly scarce in ordinary nuclear matter. This finding, and expected follow-on results, should enlarge our understanding of proton structure, leading to a more complete understanding of the nuclear material that makes up most of the world around us. The research team partially credits the experiment's success to the quality of the beam from Jefferson Lab's accelerator, which has unprecedented resolution and extraordinary stability, eliminating effects that could destroy the interpretability of the experimental data.

  • The DOE's Jefferson Lab's Free Electron Laser (FEL) exceeded its design goal of 1,000 watts (a million times more powerful than the laser in a supermarket scanner) by producing 1,720 watts of infrared light in July. At kilowatt levels, the Jefferson Lab FEL offers researchers a unique tool for science and industrial processing with light. The FEL may have a wide range of applications in manufacturing, including processing of plastics, more durable synthetic fibers, corrosion resistant metals and advanced materials and components for electronics and microtechnologies. Initial industrial experiments are investigating roughening plastics, creating hardened and corrosion-resistant metal surfaces, and machining miniature structures in ceramics.

  • Inventors at DOE's Jefferson Lab have patented a new type of fire detection system that detects the early start of a fire using infrared light to detect combustion products before visible flame and smoke appear. The new system can be used in many different applications. For example, if dissimilar materials that have different extinguishing requirements are stored in the same location, this system could detect which material is burning and expel the correct agent to extinguish the fire. Other applications include those where the protection of high-value or mission critical facilities such as in a museum is a priority.

  • The DOE's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility's polarized electron beam is delighting researchers with high levels of polarization and current, and with exceptionally high polarized source operational "up" time. Polarization refers to the state of electrons in the beam - getting millions of electrons rotating the same way as they move through the accelerator to the target material. Polarized beam allows physicists to add another parameter during an experiment - providing more control or more defined data. Beam has been running with high average current and ~40% polarization and more recently has been delivering polarizations above 70% with lower beam currents. This facility is delivering more polarized electrons than any other facility in the world.

  • A new diagnostic tool has been developed by a spin-off company that helps detect breast cancer using licensed technology developed at DOE's Jefferson Lab for its nuclear physics mission. This tool will use nuclear medical imaging known as scintimammography to pinpoint cancerous breast tissue. Tumors can be detected with this technology of five times smaller volume than with standard mammography x-rays. This technology will be used when x-rays mammograms show an abnormality and will prevent some breast biopsies. Clinical trials were conducted at the University of Virginia and John Hopkins University. The device is currently being marketed by Dilon Technologies.

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