The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility's 12 GeV (billion electron-volt) Upgrade was among the 12 projects identified as near-term priorities when Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham outlined the Department of Energy's 20-year facility plan on Nov. 10.
|Secretary Abraham said, "From the very large, with new pictures of how our universe evolved, to the very small with insights into the structure of the nucleus, the facilities we are proposing will secure American pre-eminence in science for the better part of the 21st century."
The plan prioritized a total of 28 projects, culled from the 53 projects initially proposed, and includes new scientific facilities and upgrades to current facilities that will keep the United States on the leading edge of world-class science.
Jefferson Lab's Upgrade will double the existing energy of its electron beam to create a 12-GeV beam capable of providing much more precise data on the structure of protons and neutrons. Specifically, the upgrade will enable scientists to address one of the great mysteries of modern physics — the strong force — the mechanism that "confines" quarks together. New supercomputing studies indicate that force fields called "flux-tubes" may be responsible, and that exciting these flux-tubes should lead to the creation of never-before-seen particles.
"Upgrades to facilities, such as the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator, would essentially create new facilities by applying advanced technology to our current stock of powerful research machines," Secretary Abraham said during his comments at a National Press Club luncheon. "The upgrade to this accelerator...will double its power and apply advanced computing power to help us explain the properties of one of the strangest particles yet discovered — the quark."
"From the very large, with new pictures of how our universe evolved, to the very small with insights into the structure of the nucleus, the facilities we are proposing will secure American pre-eminence in science for the better part of the 21st century."
The next step in Jefferson Lab's 12 GeV Upgrade construction project will be receipt of Critical Decision Zero (CD0) approval from the Department of Energy's Office of Science.