JARA-FAME - Exploring the fate of antimatter
The abbreviation FAME stands for Forces and Matter Experiments. The scientists in this section are concerned with basic physical research in the field of nuclear and particle physics. The experiments serve to explore the forces and the matter that gave rise to our very existence.
If the Big Bang had generated equal quantities of matter and antimatter then the two forms of matter should have annihilated each other resulting in radiation. The fact of our existence therefore leads to the following questions:
- Have matter and antimatter become separated? Are there regions in our universe that consist entirely of antimatter?
- And if there aren't any, how did the matter–antimatter asymmetry come to exist? What mechanisms have led to matter gaining the upper hand?
The work of the JARA-FAME members can be divided into two main scientific pillars:
The search for antimatter in the universe
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) on the International Space Station (ISS) examines cosmic radiation outside the Earth's atmosphere. If it could detect only one single anticarbon nucleus in space, this would be positive proof that stars consisting of antimatter do exist. The data from the experiment are being evaluated at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre in collaboration with JARA-HPC.
The search for differences between matter and antimatter
The differences between matter and antimatter discovered so far are by no means sufficient to explain the survival of an adequate quantity of matter after the Big Bang. The JEDI project – Jülich Electric Dipole Moment Investigation – is devoted to the search for a permanent electric dipole moment (EDM) in protons and light nuclei. Such an EDM would demonstrate another difference between matter and antimatter. The members of JARA-FAME use the COSY particle accelerator in their research on such an electric dipole moment.
Apart from the search for an EDM, it is hoped that this research will provide promising findings on the differences between neutrinos and antineutrinos. Interest focuses on the three neutrino generations – electron, muon, and tau neutrinos. In future, JARA-FAME will be able to investigate which is the heaviest and which the lightest neutrino at the Jiangmen Underground Neutrino Observatory (JUNO) currently under construction in the south of China.
In addition to contributions to the experiments described above, the three cross-programme activities of theory, data processing, and detector development link this section in which the expertise at Jülich and Aachen proves a perfect complement.