June 8, 2023
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A group of IUB physics undergraduates and high school students have made major progress toward their goal of designing and constructing an apparatus to demonstrate the quantum entanglement of the linear polarization of gamma rays emitted back-to-back upon positron annihilation in matter. In addition to their creative repurposing of equipment for the project, such as the reuse of some of the barium fluoride detectors from the CREST cosmic ray balloon experiment led by (now emeritus) IUB physics professor Jim Musser with the help of electronic engineer Paul Smith and electronic firmware engineer Dan Ulmes, they have also been able to garner other forms of support. IU physics undergrad Daniel Lutes led the proposal which won a $2K grant from the Reichert Foundation in summer 2022. This foundation supports the development of new upper-level undergraduate labs under the condition that the work be done by undergraduate students.
As Daniel will start his physics PhD research at Northwestern in fall 2023 at their new Center for Fundamental Physics, more undergraduate students have joined to carry the project forward. First-year physics students Ania Lagodzki and Edwin Shipp joined the project in fall 2022.
Ania was accepted into the Emerging Scholars Research Experience for Undergraduate Women program, supported by the IUB Center of Excellence for Women and Technology (CeWIT), and Edwin won a Cox Research Scholar award. Over the 2022-2023 academic year they both learned machining from senior research machinist Gary Wood, made use of the IUB 3D printing resources to make a key apparatus component, and consulted with CEEM mechanical designer Mark Luxnat to finalize the apparatus design. In April 2023 Edwin Shipp won the Drs. Sidney and Becca Fleischer Research Scholarship from the IU College of Arts and Sciences for this work. This latter award comes with $5K of support for research work in summer 2023 and $1K for research expenses or travel to deliver a talk at a scientific meeting. Edwin started to work on the project as a high school student at Bloomington High School North, as did Liam Bultman. Edwin worked on the project in spring 2022 while still in high school through BHSN's internship program. Liam will graduate from BHSN in June 2023.
IU students Amanda DeGuire, Micah Roberson, and Arpan Ojha have joined the project in summer 2023, and IU physics graduate student Daniel Seijas, and lab coordinator Andrew Orvedahl are also working on aspects of the project over the summer. A poster outside Swain Hall SW028 presents the current status.