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Press Release 13-029

NSF-funded Researchers Propose Promising New Technique for Probing Earth's Deep Interior

Approach is based on theoretical particle physics

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Illustration showing earth with a yellow core and arrows showing direction of a fifth force

The long-range spin-spin interaction (blue wavy lines) in which the spin-sensitive detector on Earths surface interacts with geoelectrons (red dots) deep in Earths mantle. The arrows on the geoelectrons indicate their spin orientations, opposite that of Earths magnetic field lines (white arcs). Illustration: Marc Airhart (University of Texas at Austin) and Steve Jacobsen (Northwestern University).

Credit: Marc Airhart, University of Texas at Austin, and Steve Jacobsen, Northwestern University.


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A map of polarized electron-spin density

The polarized electron-spin density on a plane that contains Earth's rotation axis and Amherst, Mass. The black arrows indicate only the direction of the electron spins, while the color shading of the plot indicates the magnitude of the polarized electron spin density. The density of the arrows on the plot is not meaningful. The component of the field into or out of the page is not shown. The electron spin density within the core (white central circle) is assumed to be zero. The violet arrow corresponds to the north orientation and location of the Amherst apparatus. The vertical axis is along Earths rotation axis, and the axis labels have units of kilometers.

Credit: Daniel Ang / Larry Hunter


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cover of the journal Science showing an African woman

The research team's results are described in the Feb. 22 issue of the journal Science.

Credit: Copyright AAAS 2013