Physics Division

Leaders in nuclear physics

Physics Division scientists and engineers play an important role in the Laboratory’s Nuclear Physics program, funded by the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Physics.

Toward a new Standard Model

We lead efforts to discover new physics, beyond the Standard Model of particles and their interactions, by performing precise measurements of nuclear physics processes.

  • We search for new and exotic types of neutrinos, called sterile neutrinos, by observing the transformation of one type of neutrino into another in a beam produced at Fermilab.
  • We lead the construction of an experiment deep underground that will look for an extremely rare decay of germanium nuclei that, if it exists, will show that the neutrino is its own anti-particle.
  • We use ultracold neutrons to make precise measurements of neutron decay that could reveal the existence of previously unknown virtual particles or new interactions.
  • We lead the development of an experiment to search for the extremely small electric dipole moment of the neutron, which could shed light on why there is more matter than anti-matter in the universe.

Deepening our understanding of quantum chromodynamics

Quantum chromodynamics is the theory that the strong nuclear force holds together the atomic nucleus.

  • We lead experiments at the Relativistic Hadron Collider to understand the mystery of how the laws of quantum chromodynamics create the overall nucleon spin of 1/2.
  • We lead efforts using the collidor to understand a new state of matter, the quark-gluon plasma, formed when nuclear collisions lead to high energy densities, such as were present in the first few microseconds of the universe.

 

goal 1

The 800-ton detector, called MiniBooNE (Fermilab), searches for neutrino oscillations. The detector is located 500 meters from Fermilab's second neutrino source, the Booster Neutrino Beam or BNB. In photo, Jasmine Ma inspects one of the phototubes that detects light from neutrino interactions. (Courtesy: Peter Ginter)

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