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Photos: The forefront of particle physics

A look at accelerators, solenoids and other devices used in particle and radiation research.

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1 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

DESY accelerator module

The accelerator module at the TESLA Test Facility at Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), in Hamburg, Germany. The module was specially illuminated for a showcase event called "Science Night," the first in Hamburg.

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2 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Fermilab's neutrino test

Scientist Ioanis Kourbanis checks a beam-focusing horn for the MiniBooNE experiment conducted by the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, or Fermilab, near Chicago. The goal of the experiment is to determine how many types of neutrinos exist. Neutrinos are electrically neutral particles of very little mass that are created during nuclear reactions.

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3 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Cockcroft-Walton pre-accelerator

The Cockcroft-Walton pre-accelerator, where protons begin their journey through the Fermilab accelerator complex.

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4 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Medea detector

Detail of the Medea detector at South National Laboratories, in Catania, Italy. The Medea detector is used to measure gamma rays and particles produced by collisions between heavy ions. Detection of gamma rays and other extremely high-energy particles enables researchers to obtain information about the collision's first moments, in which nuclear matter reaches conditions of extremely high density and temperature.

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5 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

The synchrophasotron

The synchrophasotron, a 10-billion-electrovolt (GeV) proton and light nuclei accelerator.

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6 of 6 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

scintillating fibers

The peculiarity of the scintillating fibers shown in this detector is that they emit light when charged particles pass through them, a characteristic that makes them useful as components in particle detectors. Italy's National Institute for Nuclear Physics (known as Infn) has developed an extremely advanced system of scintillating fibers in cooperation with the firm Pol.Hi.Tech., a specialist in nuclear-medicine equipment. Recently, scintillating fibers also have been used to make high-tech cloth for fashion clothing.

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