Deep dive into the atomic nucleus

Author: Iqbal Pittalwala
September 23, 2021

Miguel Arratia, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy, has received a $508,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to perform experiments using the electron accelerator facility at the Jefferson Laboratory, or JLab, in Newport News, Virginia, the world’s premier laboratory for imaging the subatomic structure of matter.

Miguel Arratia
Miguel Arratia.

“We will use an intense electron beam to shine high-energy gamma rays on nuclear targets and measure the reaction products with large-area particle detectors,” said Arratia, the principal investigator of the three-year grant. “From this, we can deduce how the fundamental building blocks of matter are arranged and interact to make up the atomic nucleus.”

With this grant, UCR officially joins the CLAS12 scientific collaboration of about 250 institutions around the world. The grant will also support a student and a postdoctoral researcher, who will work with Arratia.

Arratia explained that recent technological advances in the JLab facility allow scientists to peer into the atomic nucleus deeper and more accurately than ever before, allowing for new and unexpected discoveries.

“This research can help us advance our knowledge of the origin of the properties of the atomic nucleus,” he said.