New Accelerator in Full Operation to Decipher Universe Updated in May 2018
On March 22, the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization or KEK for short (Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture) announced that its large-scale accelerator "Super KEKB" has successfully gone into full operation. By April, KEK plans to begin experiments to create an environment that simulates the universe immediately after its birth.
Super KEKB is the largest cylindrical accelerator in Japan with a circumference of 3 kilometers and 10 meters in depth. KEKB, which had been operated until 2010, went through upgrade work during 2010-2016 to drastically improve its performance. A measurement detector called “Bell Ⅱ” which is able to capture the collapse of elementary particles, was installed in April 2017. The rate of collision between electrons and positrons* has been accelerated to almost the speed of light. The speed of collision between electrons and positrons inside the vacuum pipe has been accelerated 40 times in comparison to the conventional accelerator KEKB. *Antimatters of electrons
According to KEK, an electron beam was injected into the accelerator’s pipe measuring 3 kilometers in circumference on March 19. By March 21, the beam which had reached the speed of light stabilized to a steady orbit and was confirmed to go into successful full-scale operation.
Immediately after the universe was born, it was believed that there were equal numbers of "substances" and "antimatters" in space. Antimatters are known to have electrically opposite properties. However, the number of antimatters decreased and the amount of substances had remained. This has become a major mystery in astrophysics. KEKB was used in experiments to verify the theory established by Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa (2008 Nobel Prize in Physics).
More than 700 researchers from over 20 countries, including Japan, will participate in research using Super KEKB.