Why is JLab Unique?

The lab gives scientists a unique and unprecedented probe to study quarks, the particles that make up protons and neutrons in the atom's nucleus. The accelerator delivers a continuous beam to a target, like hydrogen, carbon, gold or lead. When the beam collides with its target, particles scatter. By studying the speed, direction and energy of the scattered particles scientists will learn more about how the nucleus is put together.

Did You Know?

  1. JLab's is thought of as the world's most powerful microscope for studying the nucleus of the atom.
  2. If JLab weren't superconducting it would require three times as much power to operate and performance would be greatly reduced.
  3. The base of the tunnel is 30 feet below the Earth's surface and rests on the "Yorktown Formation," an old sea bed. The walls of the tunnel are almost 2 feet thick.
  4. Approximately 25,000 cubic yards of concrete were used to build the tunnel - the equivalent of 12 miles of concrete trucks lined up end to end.
  5. JLab's accelerator tunnel has more than 2,200 magnets in 58 varieties. They range in size from a few inches to two yards and weigh as much as 5 tons.
  6. The Machine Control Center is the nerve center for operating the accelerator. Its control system monitors more than 100,000 signals per second and remotely controls 300,000 data channels when the accelerator is running.
  7. A billion times per second, JLab focuses a million electrons into a beam the width of a human hair.
  8. Do you know what to do with an electron beam? See what Jefferson Lab does.
  9. JLab's electron beam travels the 7/8-mile tunnel five times in about 22 millionths of a second. At that speed, the electron beam could circle the earth 7-1/2 times in one second. (Full 1.4M mpeg)
  10. The mass of an object increases as its speed increases. At 6 billion electron-Volts, the electrons in the CEBAF beam increase in mass 11,742 times.
  11. Approximately 700 people are employed at JLab.
  12. Approximately 1,300 scientists from around the world use the facility to conduct experiments.
  13. Unsure about a word we used on the website? Check this vocabulary list.