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Picture of the Week

LUX dark matter detector

Detecting dark matter

The kind of matter and energy we can see and touch – whether it is in the form of atoms and molecules, or heat and light, only forms a tiny proportion of the content of the Universe, only about 5%. Over a quarter is dark matter, which is totally invisible but whose gravitational attraction can be detected; while over two thirds is dark energy, a force that pushes the Universe to expand ever faster.
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Reactor pressure

5 August 2013

Reactor pressure. Photo: O. Usher (UCL MAPS)

Don't panic! Nothing is going to explode!

UCL's Christopher Ingold Laboratories might look as forbidding as a nuclear power station. But the reactor here has nothing nuclear about it. What's more, the pressure here is reassuringly low... because the reactor is switched off.

Reactors come in all shapes, sizes and purposes.

While in popular language the word typically refers to nuclear reactions, for scientists, reactors are simply vessels in which any kind of reaction takes place, whether that is chemical, biological, nuclear or anything else.

In this laboratory, the reactor is part of a large-scale facility for making nanoparticles. Part of the work of the Clean Materials Technology Group, this room-sized contraption is a step towards developing the technology for industrial scales, where these tiny particles serve valuable roles in fields as varied as medicine and manufacturing.  

Valve

Photo credit: O. Usher (UCL MAPS)

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High resolution images

Reactor pressure dial

Pump valves

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Page last modified on 05 aug 13 16:28