Scientists are searching for a mirror universe using Adafruit parts @NBCNewsMACH @leahjbroussard #Adafruit #Magnetometer #Sensors @Adafruit

Leah Broussard studies subatomic particles at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Via NBC News MACH, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in eastern Tennessee, physicist Leah Broussard is trying to open a portal to a parallel universe.

She calls it an “oscillation” that would lead her to “mirror matter,” but the idea is fundamentally the same. In a series of experiments she plans to run at Oak Ridge this summer, Broussard will send a beam of subatomic particles down a 50-foot tunnel, past a powerful magnet and into an impenetrable wall. If the setup is just right — and if the universe cooperates — some of those particles will transform into mirror-image versions of themselves, allowing them to tunnel right through the wall. And if that happens, Broussard will have uncovered the first evidence of a mirror world right alongside our own.

“It’s pretty wacky,” Broussard says of her mind-bending exploration.

The mirror world, assuming it exists, would have its own laws of mirror-physics and its own mirror-history. You wouldn’t find a mirror version of yourself there (and no evil Spock with a goatee — sorry “Star Trek” fans). But current theory allows that you might find mirror atoms and mirror rocks, maybe even mirror planets and stars. Collectively, they could form an entire shadow world, just as real as our own but almost completely cut off from us.

The scientific paper on (PDF, free) describes the science and experiment in detail:

An important challenge for disappearance and regeneration searches is the implementation of the magnetic field control system. To render inhomogeneities in the magnetic field negligible, ideally the magnetic field would need to be determined to better than a few mG. The spatial and temporal nonuniformity of the current (pre-upgrade/somewhat magnetic) collimation section of beamline was studied using an array of HMC5883L magnetometer boards, read out by an Arduino Uno and Raspberry Pi 3.

The typical temporal variation (FWHM) was measured to be up to 10 mG, limited by noise in the system. Short duration changes in the field as large as 1 G were observed due to changing experimental conditions in the GP-SANS or neighboring beamlines; these periods could be vetoed during data-taking. The magnitude of the magnetic field varies by up to 500 mG along most of the beamline, but increases significantly near the beamline exit.

The HMC5883L magnetometer boards are the Adafruit #1746 per a footnote in the paper on page 7. Adafruit has discontinued this particular board but has several magnetometers/compasses, and other boards on their site at The chip is the same magnetometer sensor that is inside the LSM303 magnetometer / accelerometer. So if you want an accelerometer as well as a magnetometer, check out the LSM303 – it has basically this sensor plus a nice digital 3-axis accelerometer!

LS303 Accelerometer/Magnetometer
Magnetometers at Adafruit – the LSM303DLHC contains the HMC5883L inside.

Read more about the mirror universe article on NBC News MACH and the scientific paper for experimental details.

Genevieve Martin / Oak Ridge National Laboratory/ U.S. Dept. of Energy
Leah Broussard at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


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