Scientists At Oak Ridge National Laboratory Are Trying To Open A Portal To A Parallel Universe

On June 30, 2019 NBC News reports, “At Oak Ridge National Laboratory in eastern Tennessee, physicist Leah Broussard is trying to open a portal to a parallel universe. She calls it an “oscillation” that would lead her to “mirror matter,” but the idea is fundamentally the same.”

Photo: ( “New Search for Mirror Neutrons at HFIR” – Figure 1: Cold neutron disappearance × regeneration experiment at the HFIR reactor, de- scribed in the text (color online).

The report goes on to say, “In a series of experiments she plans to run at Oak Ridge this summer, Broussard will send a beam of subatomic particles down a 50-foot tunnel, past a powerful magnet and into an impenetrable wall. If the setup is just right — and if the universe cooperates — some of those particles will transform into mirror-image versions of themselves, allowing them to tunnel right through the wall.

And if that happens, Broussard will have uncovered the first evidence of a mirror world right alongside our own.”

Abstract of the Scientific Experiment ‘New Search for Mirror Neutrons at HFIR’

“The theory of mirror matter predicts a hidden sector made up of a copy of the Standard Model particles and interactions but with opposite parity. If mirror matter interacts with ordinary matter, there could be experimentally accessi- ble implications in the form of neutral particle oscillations. Direct searches for neutron oscillations into mirror neutrons in a controlled magnetic field have previously been performed using ultracold neutrons in storage/disappearance measurements, with some inconclusive results consistent with characteristic os- cillation time of τ∼10 s. Here we describe a proposed disappearance and regen- eration experiment in which the neutron oscillates to and from a mirror neutron state. An experiment performed using the existing General Purpose – Small Angle Neutron Scattering instrument at the High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory could have the sensitivity to exclude up to τ<15 s in 1 week of beamtime and at low cost.”


Technology Used To Perform Experiment

Photo: General Purpose-Small Angle Neutron Scattering instrument at the High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (neutrons.ornl)

“The properties and performance of hard and soft matter systems is often intimately linked to the internal microstructure. Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) is a uniquely powerful tool for probing structural information on length scales ranging from 0.5-200nm. Among the features that make it so useful are the facts that neutrons are highly penetrating, low-energy, magnetic, and sensitive to the nuclei of atoms. These properties make it a complementary probe to x-ray scattering and microscopy techniques and make location of light elements, distinguishing between atoms nearby on the periodic table, isotopic labeling, and the separation of magnetic and nuclear scattering contributions possible. 

The General-Purpose Small-Angle Neutron Scattering Diffractometer (GP-SANS) CG-2 instrument is optimized for providing information about structure and interactions in materials in the range of 0.5–200 nm. It has a cold neutron flux on sample and capabilities comparable to those of the best SANS instruments worldwide, including a wide range of neutron wavelengths (5–20 Å), a resolution Δλ ⁄ λ 9-45%, and a 1-square-meter area detector with 5.2 × 4 mm2 pixel resolution with a maximum counting capability of up to 2 mHz. The sample-to-detector distance can be varied from 1–20 m, and the detector can be offset horizontally by up to 45 cm, allowing a total accessible Q range from 0.0007 to 1 Å-1. The 2-meter sample environment area will accommodate large, special-purpose sample environments such as cryomagnets, furnaces, mechanical load frames, and shear cells.”


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