Dr. Pancella’s research is in the area of Nuclear Physics. He uses experimental techniques to get information about the force which holds nuclei together, the strongest force known in the universe. 

Experiments in this field require the use of large particle accelerators, and are always performed in collaboration with teams of other scientists. Pancella’s work has most often been performed at the Indiana University Cyclotron Facility ( using an accelerator called the “Cooler”. The Cooler has provided very high-quality beams of protons and deuterons, with the capability of spin polarizing these ions. In addition, his group has developed the capability of using polarized hydrogen and deuterium targets in this beam, allowing the study of the complete spin dependence of the strong nuclear force in what has been called the intermediate energy range (up to about 450 MeV proton lab kinetic energy). 

Two of the most interesting recent results involve production of the neutral pion. The PINTEX group (Polarized INternal Target EXperiments) delivered the first cross section measurements for neutral pion production from proton-proton collisions very near threshold, then was able to extend those measurements to higher energies (maintaining the separation of individual partial waves) using spin dependence. The initial measurements created a flurry of activity in theoretical circles when the measured cross section turned out to be 5-8 times larger than expected. The Cooler-CSB group (Charge Symmetry Breaking) succeeded in observing the “forbidden” process whereby an alpha particle and a neutral pion are produced in collisions between deuterons. It is hoped that this latter measurement will provide a deeper insight into the role of conservation laws in the strong force, and perhaps a glimpse of how quarks manifest themselves in nuclear processes. 



Paul Pancella
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008-5252
Phone (269) 387-4962
Fax (269) 387-4939 


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Last Updated February 12, 2002