Nuclear Physics Experiments


The experimental group is presently led by faculty members Prof. William Zajc and Assoc. Prof. Brian Cole and senior research scientist Cheng-Yi Chi. Our present work focuses on the PHENIX experiment which is running at BNL's Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider (RHIC). This machine will provide colliding beams of Au nuclei at 100 A GeV, a factor of 100 higher energy than previously available in the AGS fixed target program. Our group at Columbia is playing a major role in the design, construction, and management of PHENIX, one of the two large detectors to be built at RHIC.

A large part of our PHENIX effort at Nevis involves the PHENIX DAQ and Trigger system. Specifically, we are working on the Data Collection Module (DCM) electronics board, its software, the PHENIX Event Builder and the Level-2 Trigger.

One specific physics focus of part of our group on PHENIX is on

anti-nuclei production (at low luminosity) and Heavy Flavor production (at high luminosity). Check out the Heavy Flavor Physics Working group page.

Over the last several years many members of the group have also been involved in experiments at lower energy studying fixed-target heavy-ion collisions at the Brookhaven AGS.

Students Xihong Yang, David Winter, and Hiro Hiejima, with Prof. Brian Cole have worked on experiment E910 (shown above) to study proton + nucleus collisions. The experiment focuses on hadron particle production and in particular mechanisms for strangeness enhancement.