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  • The next large nuclear physics research facility being proposed to the DOE for construction is an Electron-Ion Collider (EIC). An EIC could provide unique capabilities for the study of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), the theory that describes how quarks and gluons build protons, neutrons and nuclei. In March 2013, NSAC ranked an EIC as “absolutely central” in its ability to contribute to world-leading science research. Two facilities, Jefferson Lab and Brookhaven National Lab in New York, are developing facility concepts.

  • A Jefferson Lab EIC would accelerate two beams of sub-atomic particles to nearly the speed of light before slamming the beams together. A stream of electrons and a stream of protons or ions would collide at two interaction points. These interaction points will be surrounded by large detectors, which will record the results of these interactions for scientists to interpret.

  • Building an Electron-Ion Collider at Jefferson Lab would capitalize on the lab’s existing Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility and on the lab’s expertise in designing and building particle accelerators. The essential new elements of an EIC facility at Jefferson Lab would include an electron storage ring and an entirely new, modern ion acceleration and storage complex that would be constructed in a large-scale civil engineering project.

  • The Electron-Ion Collider is considered to be essential to the United States’ ability to contribute to world-leading scientific research. Researchers hope such a machine can help answer fundamental questions about ordinary matter, revealing for the first time and in detail how matter’s smallest building blocks and nature’s universal forces combine to build our visible universe.

  • Exploring the Nature of Matter

    Plans and proposals for the next, great physics machine for studying the intrinsic bits of everyday matter are starting to form. The proposed Electron-Ion Collider could ensure that the cutting-edge science that has kept Jefferson Lab and the United States at the frontier of nuclear physics research for 25 years will continue for decades to come.