Muon tomography detects and images dense nuclear materials with high atomic number by measuring the multiple Coulomb scattering of traversing atmospheric cosmic ray muons. The technique is most interesting for detecting nuclear threat materials behind heavy shielding, which blocks emerging radiation and externally probing radiation. Cosmic ray muons will penetrate several feet of lead and so can image substantially shielded targets. This $1.2M project has given experimental proof that muon tomography can be done with compact tracking stations that employ GEM detectors.
Nuclear physicists are considering the construction of an electron-ion collider (EIC) at Brookhaven National Lab or Jefferson Lab. One major question that this new accelerator will try to address is the current "proton spin problem" of nuclear physics, i.e. to nail down how the spin of the proton actually arises from the spin of its quark and gluon constituents. Our group is contributing to R&D on particle detectors that can precisely and economically track the subatomic particles produced in the future high-energy electron ion collisions.