The Electron Ion Collider
Dr L Gonella, Mr S Maple, Prof P Newman, Mr H Wennlöf, (with Prof P Jones, Nuclear Physics)
The Electron Ion Collider (EIC) concept is to build the first ever collider of polarised electrons with nuclei or polarised protons at Brookhaven National Laboratoty in the USA. It stands at the boundary of nuclear and particle physics, with a planned programme of measurements that image the quarks and gluons comprising hadrons, studying not only how they are distributed in longitudinal momentum, but also the correlations between them, leading to a detailed 3D picture. These measurements address underlying science questions such as: how the proton gets its spin; how hadrons acquire their mass from almost massless quarks; why quarks are confined within hadrons; and whether there are emergent forms of nuclear matter made from densely-packed gluons.
The project is currently in the planning / R&D phase, but has passed the US `CD0’ (mission need) milestone, such that it is moving forward towards realisation with the start of construction planned for 2023 and operation planned to start in 2030.
The Birmingham group has been developing a bespoke MAPS silicon sensor solution for vertexing and tracking detectors at the EIC for several years, a project which has now developed into an international collaboration. We are also working on the optimisation of the tracking detector layout and its response to heavy flavour quark production, as well as studying the prospects for measurements of diffractive processes in which the proton or ion remains intact despite being struck with high momentum transfer. We have held several leadership roles in the EIC User Group during the formative stage of the project, culminating in the 'Yellow Report' on Science Requirements and Detector Concepts. We are now making more detailed plans for collaboration towards the construction of a detector at one of the interaction points.
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