Siberia | Technology & innovation

Siberian scientists make aerogel for detecting particles

26 Apr '12
Siberian scientists have created a multi-layer aerogel to accurately measure speed of elementary particles, news agency RIA Novosti reports citing Yevgeny Kravchenko, the senior scientist of the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SB RAS).

Aerogel is the least dense of solid materials. It consists of water by 99.8% and nano-sized silicon dioxide fibers by 0.2%. Aerogel-based equipment works in accelerators or open space.

Aleksander Danilyuk, chair of the group of aerogel materials of the Institute of Catalysis of SB RAS, explained that aerogel production is costly. Its main consumers are scientific organizations. Mass production of aerogel is carried out in two labs in the world, which have obtained the material with best optical parameters. The labs are Japanese company Matsushita and the Institute of Catalysis of SB RAS. The latter leads in aerogel transparency and block size. Technology of production of multi-layer aerogel fully belongs to the Siberian institute. Aerogel-based system got the name FARICH, standing for focusing aerogel Cherenkov detector of particles.

The Institute of Nuclear Physics, in cooperation with a group of physicists from the Institute of Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), developed FARICH system for modernization of ALICE detector on the Big Hadron Collider in the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). CERN plans to carry an experiment with the four-layer aerogel in June 2012.
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