Monday, May 10, 2010

MoEDAL To Look For Magnetic Monopole

MoEDAL is to become the seventh detector at the LHC, as approved by the CERN Research Board. It has the arduous task for trying to detect the elusive magnetic monopole, if it exists.

The MoEDAL detector is like a giant camera for photographing new physics in the form of highly ionizing particles, and the plastic NTDs are its "photographic film". When a relativistic magnetic monopole – which has approximately 4700 times more ionizing power than a conventional charged minimum-ionizing particle – crosses the NTD stack it damages polymeric bonds in the plastic in a small cylindrical region around its trajectory. The subsequent etching of the NTDs leads to the formation of etch-pit cones around these trails of microscopic damage. These conical pits are typically of micrometre dimensions and can be observed with an optical microscope. Their size, shape and alignment yield accurate information about the effective Z/β ratio, where Z is the charge and β the speed, as well as the directional motion of the highly ionizing particle.

So which is more "earth-shattering" in terms of revolutionizing physics, finding the Higgs, or the magnetic monopole?

I vote for the latter.


1 comment:

Valandil said...

Well, it depends on how you look at it. The NON-discovery of the Higgs boson would have a lot of repercussions in the standard theory, maybe as much as the discovery of a magnetic monopole in EM.