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A new facility for using protons to take microscopic images has been commissioned at the ring accelerator of the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH (Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research) in Darmstadt, Germany.
The proton microscope was developed by an international collaboration consisting of Los Alamos National Laboratory, GSI, the Technical University Darmstadt, and the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics, Russia.
Protons, like neutrons, are the building blocks of atomic nuclei. Similar to x-rays, they can be used to radiograph objects, generating images of them. Protons are able to penetrate hot dense matter that can’t be examined with light or x-rays. This technology, also known as “proton radiography,” was originally invented at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the 1990s, but has been adopted around the world. In the future, the technique will be used at an accelerator currently under construction in Darmstadt called the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) and at the proposed Matter and Radiation In Extremes (MaRIE) facility at Los Alamos.
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