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DARPA to Host Proposers Day for Muons for Science and Security Program

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will hold a Proposers Day on Aug. 5 for a four-year program that seeks to build a compact source of subatomic particles called muons to support national security and scientific applications.

The Muons for Science and Security program intends to use laser plasma acceleration to initially develop 10 giga-electronvolt particles in the space of tens of centimeters and come up with scalable processes to generate conditions that can build muons exceeding 100 GeV, DARPA said Friday.

Our goal is to develop a new, terrestrial muon source that doesn’t require large accelerators and allows us to create directional beams of muons at relevant energies, from 10s to 100s of GeVs – to either image or characterize materials,” said Mark Wrobel, MuS2 program manager at DARPA’s defense sciences office. 

MuS2 will lay the ground work needed to examine the feasibility of developing compact and transportable muon sources,” he added.

The program will have two phases and Phase 1 will call for participants to perform preliminary modeling and scaling studies, validate models using experiments and generate 10 GeV muons over a 24-month period.

Under Phase 2 of the MuS2 program, research teams will come up with scalable accelerator designs exceeding 100 GeVs over a period of two years.

DARPA wants teams to have expertise in the areas of simulation, experimentation and laser driver and system studies.

To address these diverse research areas, we anticipate building integrated teams composed of academia, national laboratories, and defense industries,” Wrobel noted.

Potential applications of muons include detecting the presence of special nuclear materials and other threat components and mapping the location of underground tunnels and chambers.