The device provides more than 10 times better magnetic shielding than previous state-of-the art shields. The record-setting performance makes it possible for scientists to measure certain properties of fundamental particles at higher levels of precision—which in turn could reveal previously hidden physics and set parameters in the search for new particles.
High precision measurements are one of three frontiers to search for physics beyond the Standard Model. The precision measurements complement other methods to search for new physics, including slamming particles together in a collider to generate new, high-energy particles, and peering into space to catch signals from the early universe.
Plans are already underway to use the new magnetic shield in an experiment to test limits for the distribution of charges (called the electric dipole moment, or EDM) of an isotope of xenon. An EDM that is higher than predicted by the Standard Model could signal the existence of a new particle whose mass is linked to the amount by which the EDM deviates from the expected value.