Physicists at Jefferson Lab are trying to find answers to some of nature's most perplexing questions about the universe by exploring the nucleus of the atom. Their goal is to answer such questions as: "What is the universe made of?" and "What holds everyday matter together?"
In their search for answers, physicists smash electrons into atoms using Jefferson Lab's Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility. CEBAF provides physicists with an unprecedented ability to study the basic building blocks of the visible universe: the nucleus of the atom, and its protons, neutrons, quarks and gluons.
To expand the opportunity for discovery for this type of research, Jefferson Lab is upgrading its facility by doubling the energy of its accelerator's electron beam from 6 billion electron volts (GeV) to 12 billion electron volts (GeV), constructing a new experimental hall and upgrading its existing experimental halls.
The 12 GeV Upgrade will allow Jefferson Lab to employ new methods for studying the basic properties of the building blocks of the universe, how they are formed, how they interact and the forces that mediate these interactions.
Through experiments aimed at revealing these and other secrets of matter, physicists will use the upgraded CEBAF to contribute to Jefferson Lab's mission of expanding our knowledge of nuclear and particle physics well beyond its current level.