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Future high energy physics project passes approval milestone

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Tom Browder, (808) 956-2936
Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Posted: Jan 18, 2013

One of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s future physics projects, Belle II at the KEK Super B Factory, has passed a critical U.S. funding and approval milestone and is on track for operation at 2015 in Tsukuba, Japan. For large new projects, the U.S. Department of Energy has a multi-stage approval process with a series of critical decisions (CD). After a series of lengthy reviews, U.S. Belle II has passed the CD-1 benchmark and is preparing for CD-2/3 in 2013.

B Factories are high energy particle accelerators that produce particles containing particles containing b (beauty) quarks in large numbers, close to 1 billion/year. UH Mānoa Physics professors Tom Browder, Sven Vahsen and Gary Varner along with other UH Mānoa postdoctoral researchers and graduate students participated in the Belle experiment at the KEK B Factory in Tsukuba, Japan. The Belle experiment is most celebrated for its critical role in experimentally verifying the theoretical scheme of Kobayashi and Maskawa, who were awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics.
The KEK Super B Factory will produce a hundred times more b-quarks than the existing facility at KEK. However, this requires significant improvements in the capabilities of the devices used to detect them. Operation of the KEK Super B Factory accelerator is expected to begin in Fall 2014 with Belle II detector roll-in in late 2015.

Vahsen is the level-2 manager for the BEAST-II accelerator background commissioning detector, Varner is the level-2 manager for the particle identification system, and Browder is the U.S. Belle II spokesperson. UH Mānoa is responsible for major components of the particle identification readout systems using Varner's renowned "oscilloscope on a chip" application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) as well as the background commissioning system, which detects neutrons with Vahsen's innovative micro-time projection chambers (micro-TPCs).
In addition to the three UH Mānoa faculty members, senior researcher Michael Jones, postdoctoral scholars Matt Barrett, Brian Kirby, Igal Jaegle, Bostjan Macek and Jared Yamaoka, engineers Matt Andrew, Marc Rosen and Xiaowen Shi, and graduate students Michael Hedges and Ilsoo Seong are members of the Belle II project.

Other collaborating institutes in the $15 million dollar U.S. Belle II project include the University of Cincinnati, Luther College, Kennesaw State, Indiana University, University of Pittsburgh, University of South Alabama, Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI), Wayne State University and Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL).

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