I Belle II starts collisions in 2019

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No LHC this year (long shutdown), but Belle II at SuperKEKB started taking data a few days ago. Here is a press release.

Belle II started last year with a low luminosity (low collision rate) - still good for detector calibration and so on. The goal for this year is to increase the luminosity and eventually collect enough data for interesting physics analyses.
Another change relative to last year is the inner tracking detector - last year dedicated radiation monitoring was installed in its place, now the collision point is surrounded by a tracking detector.

Currently a lot of the time is spent on machine studies to improve the performance - higher collision rates, lower background, less time spent on injections and so on. In between the accelerator delivers collisions to Belle II. With increasing collision rate more and more time will be spent on stable collisions and less time will be spent on machine studies.

Like last year you can follow the accelerator status live - also available as daily version and now with an archive. The sawtooth pattern, e.g. here, is data-taking with collisions: Over time the beam currents (red) decrease, after a while data-taking is stopped and more particles are filled in. Unlike for the LHC the particles don't have to increase their energy in the ring any more, SuperKEKB can inject more particles while some beam is still present.

The design luminosity is 1036/(cm2s), a factor 40 higher than the predecessor, Belle at KEKB. It will take years to reach that - beating the record of KEKB will be interesting already, and that should go much faster. A big challenge is the background level. Particles in the beams can hit the accelerator walls, emit synchrotron radiation or produce some high energetic particles in other ways, these things can then lead to secondary particles and so on, and everything that hits the detector makes data-taking more difficult. The accelerator group will have to put more and more particles in the accelerator and improving their focusing without increasing the background too much.
 

Ygggdrasil

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The goal for this year is to increase the luminosity and eventually collect enough data for interesting physics analyses.
What types of analyses do they hope to perform with the data? What are the main questions they aim to try to answer?
 
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I'm not an expert in Belle II physics but the main focus will be on events that are difficult to select: Belle II won't come close to the integrated luminosity (and therefore number of B mesons produced) of Belle this year, but it can read out the detector at much higher rates. One prominent example is the search for so-called dark photons: Particles that are produced like photons but then don't interact with the detector. The collisions could produce one regular photon and one dark photon, back to back and with a predicable energy. The regular photon is detected and nothing else. The detector is hit by photons often, you need a high readout rate to capture every event with a photon in order to check if there are other particles in the event.
Here is a projection on slide 9: Even with just 20/fb, about 2% the Belle dataset, Belle II could improve some upper limits significantly - or find strong evidence for dark photons if they exist somewhere in that range.
 

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Can I ask a slightly general question, but it is specifically relevant to this sort of collider?;

When fundamental particles get accelerated into each other, do the laws of quantum physics mean that ANY particles whose mass is less than the collision energy could (however unlikely) end up getting created?

I mean, if you throw two streams of electrons together with a collision energy of multiple GeV energy, then could you find protons and neutrons coming out of the reaction?
 
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Most of the particles have to be created in pairs. To conserve baryon numbers (essentially the difference between the number of quarks and antiquarks) a proton (a baryon) has to come with an antibaryon - this can be an antiproton, it can also be an antineutron plus some other particles, and some more options. Similar for a neutron.

SuperKEKB has enough energy to produce baryon/antibaryon pairs if they are not too heavy. Proton+antiproton or neutron+antineutron is not a very common result in electron/positron collisions but it does happen. There are also proton + antineutron + negative pion, neutron + antiproton + positive pion, proton + antiproton + neutral pion(s) and many more reactions.

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There was a fire in the same building as SuperKEKB's linear accelerator. The accelerator was not involved in the fire but soot from the fire reached the accelerator components, that lead to some downtime to clean it.

Based on the live status it is running again and taking data with collisions. The luminosity is about 1033/(cm2s), it still has to improve a lot.
 

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Thanks, yes, I can see the reason for the anti-particles to be produced as a pair with the particle.

That's quite mind blowing, really, that any sort of matter can be produced out of 'nothing else' just by energy. Makes me feel like the 'background' is actually the 'real' stuff of the universe, and it's the matter coming in and out of existence which is the actual fluctuation! Humbling!
 

vanhees71

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I don't understand this conclusion, particularly what you might mean by "just by energy". At the here discussed accelerator electrons and positrons are interacting not "just energy" (whatever this might be).
 

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I mean that the collision energy itself, if sufficient in magnitude, could produce any form of particles, not simply something related to the original particles carrying the collision energy.

Is that wrong? Are you saying there are limits on the types of particles such a collision might manufacture?
 
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Well, particles need an interaction with the original particles to be produced, at least indirectly. If there are e.g. truly sterile neutrinos then accelerators cannot produce them. Apart from that energy and conservation laws are the only limits. SuperKEKB's energy is optimized for the production of B mesons.
 
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The accelerator is making progress towards 24/7 data-taking. Two important differences to the LHC: The lifetime of the beam is much shorter, but particles are directly injected at their final energy - it is possible to refill the accelerator while there is still beam in the machine (the LHC has to discard the beam, ramp down the magnets, accumulate new particles, ramp up the magnets, and so on).
Injecting new particles is a dirty business, however - it leads to more particles hitting the beam pipe and other effects, increasing the background in the detector and elsewhere. Too much background and detector components can get damaged. As a safety measure the high voltage of some detector components can be ramped down. This is done at the LHC experiments, too*. It takes time, however. To avoid that SuperKEKB can do something called continuous injection, similar to the predecessor KEKB: New particles are injected in many small steps while collisions are ongoing. Instead of the sawtooth pattern seen before the beam currents stay nearly constant and the detector can take data continuously. It looks like they use this for the positron beam now, but not always for the electron beam. The positron beam is the more difficult one (larger losses, needs injection more often), so this should help with the collected data already. Current status, archived version

Luminosity: Up to ~2.5*1033, still a long way to go.


*LHCb does more than that: Their innermost detector, VELO, has two movable halves. While the particles are injected and accelerated they are retracted, a few centimeters away from the beam. Only after stable collisions are achieved they are moved in, to a position where they are just millimeters away from the collision point.
 

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