Dalila Robledo

Electrostatic potential field maps of antimatter traps using numerical analysis

According to the Standard Model, all baryonic matter is predicted to have a corresponding antiparticle. From this premise, we currently dont understand why we observe more matter than antimatter, making the study of antimatter a fascinating subject. My research project is with the ALPHA experiment at CERN, which produces antihydrogen. Composed of an antiproton and a positron bind together, antihydrogen is the matter counterpart of hydrogen. Because of its neutrality and correspondence with the hydrogen atom, it is a desirable system for experimental study. My summer project involves numerical simulations of the positron accumulator Penning trap and ALPHA-g atom trap. The former is one of the first stages of the experiment where positrons are prepared, and the latter is a new upgrade of the experiment where antihydrogen is confined in order to perform gravity measurements to test the Standard Model. The goal is to solve for and display the potential wells used for confinement in order to make direct changes of the traps voltage while getting a preview of the field inside the trap.

Message to Sponsor

I would like to thank the McKinley Fund for helping me fulfill my hope of exploring research at a world-class fundamental physics experimental facility in Switzerland. Through this project I experienced the importance of conducting research in order to understand some of the building blocks of the universe, as well as how valuable an undergraduates contribution can be. Ive been able to exercise the education Ive acquired thus far and, more importantly, Ive gained practical tools that are beyond what the classroom offers. In addition, I expanded my professional network and practiced my scientific communication skills. This summer I realized how research triggers my imagination through a scientific lens and has ultimately reassured that I will pursue a doctorate degree. One of the immediate influences this has enabled is the opportunity to further work with the ALPHA experiment at CERN this fall semester of 2018. The McKinley Fund has not only facilitated a complete focus on my research project for which I'm deeply grateful, but it has also inspired me to look forward to the day I get to pay it forward either via my research or by supporting other students.
  • Major: Physics
  • Sponsor: McKinley Fund
  • Mentor: Joel Fajans