HEPL, founded in 1947 as Stanford's first Independent Laboratory, provides facilities and administrative structure enabling faculty to do research that spans across the boundaries of a single department or school—for example: physics & engineering or physics & biology/medicine. The Independent Laboratory concept, in many ways unique to Stanford, facilitates world-class research and teaching. The icons above represent 15 research programs currently administered by HEPL. Click on any icon for more information about that program. For more information about HEPL research, see the Research page.
On April 27, 2013, the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) aboard the Earth-orbitingFermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) detected a gigantic burst of gamma-rays near the constellation, Leo. The LAT autonomously reoriented its position to track this GRB for 20 hours. One gamma-ray from this burst measured 94+ billion electron volts—triple the energy of the previous high-energy detection. GeV emissions from this GRB lasted for hours, and were detected by the LAT for days, as well as by SWIFT and ground instruments, setting a new record for the longest emission from a GRB.
Stanford physics professor and former HEPL director, Peter Michelson, is the principal investigator of the Fermi LAT program, an internation collaboration that now includes over 400 researchers from 90 institutions in 12 countries. On November 21 2013, members of the LAT collaaboration published an article in the online journal, Science Express, summarizing the data analysis from this extraordinary gamma-ray burst. More...
A nanofabricated chip of fused silica just
3 millimeters long was used to accelerate
electrons at a rate 10 times higher than
conventional particle accelerators.
In 1932, physicist Ernest O. Lawrence invented the world's first circular particle accelerator, which he named the cyclotron, and for which he won a Nobel prize in 1939. The original cyclotron was 10cm (4 in) in diameter and cost $25 (about $400 today).
For much of the past 80 years, particle accelerators have been growing exponentially—in size, energy and cost—culminating with the The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) from 1998 to 2008. The LHC lies in a tunnel 175 metres (574 ft) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. It has a diameter of 8.6km (5.3 miles) and cost $5 billion.
While plans have been developed to build an even larger and more powerful particle accelerator, the $20+ billion cost of such an effort may prove prohibitive. However, there is an alternative: instead of growing the size of particle accelerators, what if it were possible to shrink particle accelerators down to the size of a microchip?
This is exactly what Stanford physicist and former HEPL Director, Robert Byer, in collaboration with a research team at Stanford's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, has recently accomplished. In a research letter publsihed November 6, 2013 in the journal, Nature, Dr. Byer's team reported on the successful demonstration of Micro-fabricated dielectric laser accelerators (DLAs). More...
On September 1, 2013, physics professor Sarah Church became the new Director of HEPL. Professor Church is the eleventh person to oversee and direct the lab's activities during its 58-year history, beginning in 1951 when the lab was officially founded as the Stanford "High Energy Physics Lab" (also abbreviated HEPL). In 1990, the lab was renamed the" W.W. Hansen Experimental Physics Lab," honoring pioneering physicist and engineer, William W. Hansen.
The directorship of HEPL is a rotating position among the faculty members whose research programs are administered by HEPL. Having just completed his four-year term as HEPL Director, Professor Peter Michelson is keeping busy as Chairman of the Physics Department, as well as Principal Investigator of the NASA-funded Fermi Gamma-ray Large-Area Space Telescope program. Professor Church, who heads the Church Group that builds instrumentation at centimeter and millimeter wavelengths to study the early universe, has kindly agreed to take the helm of HEPL for the next three-four years.