Physics Division

Exploring high energy physics

Physics Division scientists and engineers investigate the field of high energy physics through experiments that strengthen our fundamental understanding of matter, energy, space, and time, and play a significant role in two of the three high energy physics frontiers as defined by the Department of Energy’s Office of High Energy Physics.

Exploring the intensity frontier

On the trail of one of the greatest mysteries in physics, researchers on the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE) seek to discover why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe. LBNE will use the most intense neutrino beam ever created and one of the largest neutrino detectors ever built to try to explain this asymmetry.

Exploring the cosmic frontier

Los Alamos has a long history of neutrino research, from the Nobel-prize winning 1950s Cowan-Reines experiment that confirmed the existence of the antineutrino to modern experiments using large water Cherenkov detectors.

The High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) telescope seeks to help solve the mystery of cosmic-ray origin. Surveying the sky with 300 Cherenkov detectors arrayed on the slopes of Mexico’s Pico de Orizaba volcano, HAWC builds on the experience of the Milagro, a detector experiment in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos, which discovered new sources of gamma rays.

Assembled in a cavern 2-kilometer beneath the surface of the Earth, Mini-CLEAN will search for a rare signal associated with weakly interacting massive particles, hypothetical particles making up dark matter, the most dominant form of matter in the universe.

These research projects reflect the Laboratory’s commitment to the fundamental science defined by the institutional strategic thrust called Beyond the Standard Model of Physics.

 

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HAWC site at Sierra Negra with an artist's conception of the 300 HAWC tanks overlaid to show the location of HAWC. The volcano Pico de Orizaba is visible in the background.

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