York researchers participate in CFI-funded collaborative research partnerships

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York researchers are participating in collaborative research projects recently funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Innovation Fund.

Scott Menary
Scott Menary

Scott Menary, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Science, and his research team are collaborating in the ALPHA-g: An apparatus to explore antimatter gravity with cold trapped antihydrogen project, led by the University of Calgary, which was recently awarded more than $6 million in funding from CFI.  The ALPHA (Antihydrogen Laser PHysics Apparatus) Collaboration is leading the world in manufacturing, capturing (trapping), and studying atomic antimatter.  ALPHA’s third generation system (coined ALPHA-g) aims to determine the nature of the gravitational force between matter and antimatter. The initial question to be probed is, “Does antihydrogen fall ‘up’?” Further refinements will test if there are any small differences between how matter and antimatter interact gravitationally. Any difference would literally require a rethinking of the foundations of our understanding of nature.

The ALPHA collaboration consists of more than 40 scientists, of which one third are Canadian, from 14 institutions in eight countries. ALPHA-g will test the foundations of physics using cutting edge technology. Menary’s team will play a leading role in the Time Projection Chamber (TPC) and the scintillating bar cosmic ray detector (SCRD), and leads the CVD diamond antiproton beam monitor effort. These components are used for assessing how well ALPHA is doing with respect to antihydrogen creation and trapping.  The TPC will be built at TRIUMF, Canada’s laboratory for subatomic physics, while some parts of the SCRD and all the CVD diamond detectors will be constructed at York.

York researchers will also benefit from participation in the ARIEL-II: Driving Scientific Discovery and Health Science with TRIUMF’s Advanced Rare Isotope Laboratory project, led by the University of Victoria and the Advanced Design Leading to Manufacturing in Micro-Nano Technologies project led by Queen’s University.

“York is committed to working together with our academic partners to advance critical discovery through scientific research,” said Robert Haché, York’s Vice-President Research & Innovation. “These collaborative research teams are conducting innovative and important work that is helping us to better understand the world.”