Physics and Astronomy Assistant Professor Kent Leung was recently awarded a grant totaling $436,000 over five years from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to support research into the neutron’s extremely small electric dipole moment, which has never been measured. Determining its value could shed light on fundamental problems in physics, including how matter formed during the Big Bang or the existence of new particles that might explain dark matter.
The focus of this grant will be on the construction of measurement cells – toaster-sized devices that will hold ultracold neutrons cooled down to a fraction of a degree above absolute zero – to be installed in a building-size experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
“We are thrilled that Professor Leung brings a new and exciting research field to our department – that of low-energy nuclear physics,” says Marc Favata, chairperson of the Physics and Astronomy department. “In addition to contributing to world-class research, this award will provide great hands-on experiences for our students – introducing them to state-of-the-art hardware and technology.”