In our working group we investigate the fundamental interactions and their symmetries using spin polarized gases and neutrons

Spin polarized gases 

The spin of atoms and nuclei is a well defined quantity and its equation of motion in external electric and magnetic fields is well known. For instance, the frequency of its precession in an external magnetic field can be measured very precisely. This can be used to search for tiny deviations of this precession frequency in different experimental environments, which can be used to investigate the standard model of particle physics. On the practical side, spin polarized gases can also be used in medical imaging of the lung.

Our research activities in the field of spin polarized gases (3He and 129Xe) are

  • Search for physics beyond the standard model in clock-comparison experiments
  • Search for the electric dipole moment of 129Xe as an example for time reversal violation
  • Precision measurements of magnetic fields
  • Polarized targets for accelerator experiments
  • Providing of hyperpolarized gases for magnetic resonance imaging of the lung
  • Technical developments in polarization physics

Neutron physics

The neutron plays an important role in many areas of physics. Besides the classical areas of nuclear and particle physics these encompass atomic physics, gravitation, solid state physics and biology. Examples are the search for the electric dipole moment of the neutron as a test of the standard model of particle physics and the rotation of the neutron spin in homogeneous and isotropic matter as the simplest proof of parity violation. A highlight of modern physics are quantum mechanical states, solely bound by gravitation, which were found with neutrons first. Neutrons also can be put to practical use like in neutron diffraction, which is a sensitive method to investigate the structure of solid and liquid materials.

Our research activities in the area of neutron physics are

  • Test of the standard electroweak model with the aSPECT spectrometer 
  • Search for the electric dipole moment of the neutron as a search for time reversal violation
  • Set-up of a source of ultra-cold neutrons at the TRIGA reactor in Mainz 
  • Investigation of gravitationally bound quantum mechanical states of the neutron