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Particle Physics

Laboratory Investments

Ultrasensitive Nuclear Measurement Initiative

This initiative seeks to discover and exploit signatures from rare physical decays and trace radioisotopes across multiple domains to investigate the following key research questions:

  • How do we detect nuclear proliferation and verify future treaties?
  • How do we reveal environmental pathways using ultra-trace analysis of nature's radioisotopes?
  • What is the composition of the universe and the origin of mass?

The initiative addresses the need for increasingly sensitive nuclear measurement systems to discover, measure, and characterize rare physical events through

  • A robust fundamental physics program
  • A broad science base to exploit new radioisotope signatures to disrupt trafficking of nuclear materials
  • High-impact ultra-trace radionuclide measurement instrumentation in PNNL's Shallow Underground Laboratory.

The impact of this initiative will be to deliver targeted measurements and analyses to decision makers for evaluating the nuclear fuel cycle, to understand transport in environmental systems, and contribute to discoveries in particle physics.

Watch Physicist Bob Runkle discuss the initiative:

Nuclear Process Science Initiative

The Nuclear Process Science Initiative focuses on understanding, harnessing, and exploiting the interfacial phenomena controlling the behavior of materials in post-reactor nuclear fuel processing. The research outcomes are expected to benefit both legacy waste cleanup and national security. This initiative taps into expertise, capabilities, and facilities across PNNL, particularly the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory.

Nuclear Process Science Initiative

Nuclear Physics, Particle Physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology Initiative

The Nuclear Physics, Particle Physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology (NPAC) Initiative seeks to build capabilities around three central physics themes: Neutrino Physics and Fundamental Symmetries, Direct Detection of Dark Matter, and Direct Production of Beyond the Standard Model (BSM) Particles. Underpinning and cutting across these areas is a deep bench of core capabilities that serves the fundamental science mission, and applied missions across the Laboratory. This initiative will include

  • A comprehensive program to elucidate the properties of neutrinos in non-accelerator and accelerator-based experiments
  • A concerted effort to search for and identify elementary particle candidates thought to comprise the dark matter in the universe
  • Development and optimization of detectors for a future International Linear Collider to explore the physics of the Higgs sector and the manner in which dark matter is manifest in the new physics Beyond the Standard Model.

Particle Physics

Research Areas

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