Brookhaven Electron-Ion Collider

After many years of evaluation the United States Department of Energy decided that EIC (Electron-Ion Collider) would be built at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island in New York in the next 10 years. Brookhaven Lab currently hosts the RHIC (Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider). The focus of RHIC is the study of quark-gluon plasma. EIC’s  goal will be nuclear femtography.

“EIC will perform precision nuclear femtography by zeroing in on the substructure of quarks and gluons in heavy ions using collisions with high-energy electrons, in a comparable manner to the seminal studies of the proton using electron-proton collisions at DESY’s HERA accelerator between 1992 and 2007. While HERA ran at a centre-of-mass energy of 318 GeV, the EIC will operate from 20 to 140 GeV.” CERN Courier

“Meanwhile, a complementary project, the Electron-Ion Collider of China (EicC), which primarily targets sea quarks rather than gluons, is also moving forward, though on a longer timescale. The EicC garnered publicity in December with news that design work will proceed with a view to beginning construction at a new campus in Huizhou, in Guangdong province in southern China. First physics is foreseen towards the end of the next decade.”CERN Courier

EIC website

This document (Electron-Ion Collider: The Next QCD Frontier) presents the rationale for EIC

“Nuclear science is concerned with the origin and structure of the core of the atom, the nucleus and the nucleons (protons and neutrons) within it, which account for essentially all of the mass of the visible universe. Half a century of investigations have revealed that nucleons are themselves composed of more basic constituents called quarks, bound together by the exchange of gluons, and have led to the development of the fundamental theory of strong interactions known as Quantum Chromo-Dynamics (QCD). Understanding these constituent interactions and the emergence of nucleons and nuclei from the properties and dynamics of quarks and gluons in QCD is a fundamental and compelling goal of nuclear science. QCD attributes the forces among quarks and gluons to their “color charge”. In contrast to the quantum electromagnetism, where the force carrying photons are electrically neutral, gluons carry color charge. This causes the gluons to interact with each other, generating a significant fraction of the nucleon mass and leading to a little-explored regime of matter, where abundant gluons dominate its behavior. Hints of this regime become manifest when nucleons or nuclei collide at nearly the speed of light, as they do in colliders such as HERA, RHIC and the LHC. The quantitative study of matter in this new regime requires a new experimental facility: an Electron Ion Collider (EIC). In the last decade, nuclear physicists have developed new phenomenological tools to enable remarkable tomographic images of the quarks and gluons inside unpolarized as well as polarized protons and neutrons. These tools will be further developed and utilized to study predominantly the valence quarks in the nucleon at the upgraded 12 GeV CEBAF at JLab and COMPASS at CERN. Applying these new tools to study the matter dominated by gluons and sea quarks originating from gluons will require the higher energy and beam polarization of an EIC.”

Summaries from the the Department of Energy

“The EIC will be funded by the federal government through the DOE Office of Science, drawing on expertise from throughout the DOE national laboratory complex and at universities and research institutions around the world, including Stony Brook University, a managing partner of Brookhaven Lab. International participation is also anticipated. Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) in Newport News, Virginia, is expected to be a major partner in the project and make significant contributions. Expertise and participation from across the national laboratory complex will be required to implement the facility successfully.

The design for an EIC at Brookhaven includes building a new electron storage ring and electron accelerator components that would operate seamlessly with existing infrastructure currently providing beams for the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a DOE Office of Science user facility that has been serving nuclear physicists since it began operations in 2000. The new electron ring will allow electrons to interact with protons and large nuclei to precisely probe and produce dynamic snapshots of the building blocks of these nuclear particles.”

“Acting somewhat like a CT scanner for atoms, the EIC will allow nuclear physicists to track the arrangement of the quarks and gluons that make up the protons and neutrons of atomic nuclei. Scientists will use data collected from millions of collisions between electrons and protons and a wide range of larger atomic nuclei to study the “strong nuclear force” and to answer other longstanding questions in physics, including where the proton gets its “spin.”

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