Mighty muons

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British scientists have unveiled a machine that they hope will provide valuable insights into superconducting materials, which allow electricity to flow with virtually no resistance.

The £10m muon source - muons are heavy charged particles - will also allow scientists to probe aspects of nuclear fusion and magnetism at the atomic level.

The facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire was funded by the Japanese, who wanted to perform muon catalysed fusion research, while British scientists provided the expertise to build the equipment. Use of the machine is split equally between UK and Japanese scientists.