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  • richardmitnick 4:52 pm on October 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Fermilab MicroBooNE,   

    From FNAL: “UV laser calibration system installed in MicroBooNE” 

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014
    Rich Blaustein

    Fermilab’s MicroBooNE experiment, expected to launch in early 2015, could very well help determine whether a hypothesized fourth neutrino — referred to as a sterile neutrino — would join the three confirmed ones. Anticipating significant, perhaps momentous, findings, Fermilab and outside collaborators are working hard to ready MicroBooNE for take-off.

    In late September, MicroBooNE collaborators installed a new ultraviolet (UV) laser calibration system in MicroBooNE’s liquid-argon detector at Fermilab. Scientists at Switzerland’s University of Bern Laboratory for High Energy Physics, a MicroBooNE collaborator, designed and built the system specifically for the project.

    Antonio Ereditato (left), head of the Laboratory for High Energy Physics at the University of Bern, and scientist Thomas Strauss, also of the University of Bern, work on MicroBooNE’s UV laser calibration system. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    “This is exciting,” said Fermilab’s Sam Zeller, MicroBooNE co-spokesperson. “This is the first time anyone has deployed such a laser system in a liquid-argon detector for a major neutrino experiment.”

    Fermilab’s MiniBooNE experiment (MicroBooNE’s predecessor) and Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector experiment raised the possibility of a fourth neutrino. However, the two experiments, while producing many cited — and some differing — results, did not have sensitive liquid-argon detectors for charting neutrino activity.

    “We are recreating that same short-beamline environment, but with MicroBooNE, which has a more capable detector,” said University of Bern’s Michele Weber, MicroBooNE physics analysis coordinator. “We now have some means to address this new neutrino question.”

    Because of the high-resolution imaging capability of liquid-argon detectors such as MicroBooNE’s, it is important to ensure and monitor their correct functioning. One of the calibration system’s goals is to check the detector’s electric field and how it transfers deposits of charge, caused by neutrino interactions with the liquid argon, to the detector’s readout wires.

    With the University of Bern’s UV laser calibration system, ultraviolet laser beams, which are reliably straight, are shot through the argon-filled chamber when the neutrino beam is not activated to test whether the detector’s critical components — wiring, electrical field — are operating maximally or are skewing data readings.

    Physicist Antonio Ereditato, who heads the University of Bern laboratory, explains that a normal visible-light laser does not have enough energy to ionize the liquid argon and create tracks similar to those caused by the neutrinos. But a laser using ultraviolet light, which is higher in energy than visible light, can do the job under specific conditions.

    “The system creates ‘artificial’ tracks that mimic the ionization tracks left by particles. In short, this ultraviolet laser system checks, monitors and calibrates the liquid-argon detector,” Ereditato said.

    “That allows us to measure possible image distortions everywhere,” Weber said. Those distortions can then be accounted for in the data.

    The laser calibration system took eight years of R&D studies to develop. The Bern team also tested it on a liquid-argon detector prototype at their lab.

    “I always joke with the Bern team that the calibration system they built is like a Swiss watch,” Zeller said. “The laser itself, like exquisite clockwork, sweeps across the detector. It is absolutely beautiful.”

    Ereditato and Weber are also very happy with the system. They feel the MicroBooNE experiment embodies the international cooperation and goodwill that bodes well for the future of particle physics.

    “This experiment, which we worked so hard on, and Fermilab’s opening their doors and recognizing our work is very satisfying,” Weber said.

    “If there is another neutrino, it could open up an entirely new particle family — so there is some exciting physics possibly around the corner,” Zeller said. “We are ready to get going.”

    See the full article here.

    Fermilab Campus

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics.

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  • richardmitnick 11:19 am on January 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Fermilab MicroBooNE, , ,   

    From Fermilab: “MicroBooNE installs time projection chamber inside vessel, prepares for move” 

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014
    Sarah Witman

    On Dec. 20, Fermilab collaborators on the MicroBooNE experiment successfully installed the time projection chamber in the experiment’s vessel at the DZero assembly building.

    A crew installed MicroBooNE’s 5-ton time projection chamber in its cryostat last month. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    The completion of this step is a milestone in the experiment’s years-long narrative. Once the detector is moved to the new Liquid-Argon Test Facility, MicroBooNE scientists can begin a new stage of exploration of the behavior of chargeless, subatomic particles called neutrinos.

    Even though neutrinos are all around us, they are not fully understood. One of scientists’ longstanding questions about neutrinos is how one type morphs into another. MicroBooNE aims to address this and other questions and better explain neutrinos’ role in the universe.

    Once MicroBooNE is up and running, experimenters will shoot beams of neutrinos, manufactured at Fermilab, into the 10-meter-long time projection project chamber, which is filled with 89 tons of liquid argon and sits inside a silo-like vessel called a cryostat. When one of the neutrinos hits an argon nucleus, it will release particles, some of which are charged. This interaction, while it happens in the blink of an eye, will take many months to decipher. Thus scientists make sure that the detector “takes pictures” of all that goes on in its dark, cavernous depths.

    As part of that process, the experiment uses a uniform, high-voltage electric field across the cage-like frame of the time projection chamber. This ensures that, when a charged particle is released, it will travel through the liquid argon, stripping electrons off the argon atoms along the way. The electrons in turn are directed along the electric field to the wires that are positioned along one side of the detector.

    These delicate, gilded wires — all 8,256 of them — took MicroBooNE team members about two months to hand-string across the TPC. They “take the pulse” of each charged particle traversing the TPC and send information about its interaction to researchers’ computers.

    This information is translated into pixels, where each pixel represents the wire that recorded the interaction and each line of pixels represents that wire over time (usually a few microseconds, which is fairly long in particle physics). This “projection” of each wire’s activity over a period of time is where the time projection chamber gets its name, explained Jonathan Asaadi, a postdoc from Syracuse University working on the experiment.

    The wires are angled three different ways — vertically, and rotated 60 degrees to the left and right — so that a computer can construct a 3-D image of the interaction.

    MicroBooNE researchers use a computer algorithm — a similar type of algorithm, in fact, used for facial recognition in airport security — to try to interpret these images and find anomalies. Their different shapes and patterns indicate which type of neutrino was involved in the interaction.

    “By looking at interactions in our detector, we can measure the effective rate at which our neutrinos are changing form,” said Fermilab’s Jennifer Raaf, co-construction manager for MicroBooNE. “That tells us something, fundamentally, about physics.”

    Not only this, but MicroBooNE’s experimenters aim to demonstrate the detector technology needed for the proposed Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment. LBNE’s multi-kiloton detector would be a far more massive, higher-voltage version of MicroBooNE’s.

    The collaboration is now hooking up the TPC’s cables, after which they’ll test the electronics, cover the open end of the TPC with an endcap and weld the whole thing shut. Then the detector is ready for its move to the Liquid-Argon Test Facility.

    “We’ve been assembling the TPC for more than a year now, so it’s a great feeling to finally have it sitting on its resting pads inside the cryostat,” Raaf said. “Hopefully, the next steps will go as smoothly as the insertion did.”

    See the full article here.

    Fermilab Campus

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics.

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  • richardmitnick 4:13 pm on December 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Fermilab MicroBooNE, , , , ,   

    From Fermilab: “MicroBooNE, in 3-D” 

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013
    Andre Salles

    Imagine your job is to analyze the data coming from Fermilab’s MicroBooNE experiment.

    It wouldn’t be an easy task. MicroBooNE has been designed specifically to follow up on the MiniBooNE experiment, which may have seen hints of a fourth type of neutrino, one that does not interact with matter in the same way as the three types we know about. The big clue to the possible existence of these particles is low-energy electrons.

    But that experiment could not adequately separate the production of electrons from the production of photons, which would not indicate a new particle. MicroBooNE’s detector, an 89-ton active volume liquid-argon time projection chamber, will be able to. To take advantage of this, every neutrino interaction in the chamber will have to be examined to determine if it created an electron or a photon.

    And there will be a lot of interactions to study — the MicroBooNE collaboration expects to see activity in their detector once every 20 seconds, including nearly 150 neutrino interactions each day.

    If all goes to plan, human operators won’t have to worry about any of that. When MicroBooNE switches on next summer, it will sport one of the most sophisticated 3-D reconstruction software programs ever designed for a neutrino experiment.

    According to Wesley Ketchum and Tingjun Yang, two postdocs leading the software development team at Fermilab, MicroBooNE’s computers will be able to accurately reconstruct neutrino interactions and automatically filter the ones that create electrons. The key to accomplishing this lies in the design of the time projection chamber.

    Tingjun Yang (left) and Wesley Ketchum lead the effort to develop new 3-D reconstruction software for the MicroBooNE experiment. Here they stand inside the MicroBooNE time projection chamber. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    The MicroBooNE detector — the largest time projection chamber in the United States — will be filled with heavy liquid argon and placed in the path of the Booster’s neutrino beam. When neutrinos interact with the argon, they create charged particles that ionize the argon atoms. A high-voltage electric field will draw those ionization electrons toward three planes of wires, spaced three millimeters apart. As they pass through, each plane of wires will take a snapshot of the electrons. Taken together, the snapshots will form a full picture of the original particles.

    “Three planes of wires at different angles will provide a picture of the neutrino interaction in 3-D,” Ketchum said. “We only need two, but the third helps us get rid of ambiguity.”

    The software should be able to provide clear pictures of the data scientists are interested in studying.

    See the full article here [Sorry, the usually dependably archive link is not working. Go to the archive for today, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013]

    Fermilab Campus

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics.

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  • richardmitnick 11:01 am on August 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Fermilab MicroBooNE, , ,   

    From Fermilab: “Tracking particles with LArIAT” 

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013
    Laura Dattaro

    “A neutrino is a tricky thing: It rarely interacts with other particles, and it doesn’t leave a track as it enters a detector. But a relatively new technology, called a liquid-argon time projection chamber, is helping scientists to understand them. MicroBooNE, the second phase of the Booster Neutrino Experiment, is one example of a LArTPC, and in order to help it do its job, scientists are first building a test detector called LArIAT—essentially a mini MicroBooNE.

    Microboone Detector


    LArIAT—Liquid-Argon TPC In A Test beam—is a small version of MicroBooNE, with a capacity for about three-quarters of a ton of liquid argon instead of MicroBooNE’s 170 tons. Its aim is to study particle tracks to better understand how different types of particles – in particular electrons and photons—interact in liquid argon, and how these interactions appear in the collected data.

    ‘Understanding what a proton track looks like in comparison to a pion track or a kaon track is one of the goals of LArIAT,’ said Jennifer Raaf, a spokesperson for the experiment.”

    See the full article here.

    Fermilab campus

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics.

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  • richardmitnick 12:49 pm on March 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Fermilab MicroBooNE, ,   

    From Fermilab Today: “Fermilab’s MicroBooNE begins detector construction” 

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    Brad Hooker
    Friday, March 30, 2012

    “Fermilab’s neutrino experiment, MicroBooNE, is beginning the full construction phase for the detector, after DOE announced the official Critical Decision 3b approval on March 29.

    ‘This is a significant milestone for the MicroBooNE project,’ said project manager Gina Rameika, noting that the next step in the DOE CD process will be CD 4, which is approval to start operations, planned for mid-2014.

    In the last phase of the project, the MicroBooNE collaboration began acquiring precision-made parts for the detector from institutions like Brookhaven National Laboratory, Syracuse University and Yale University. Soon the team will begin assembling those pieces.

    The inner time projection chamber, which will provide three-dimensional reconstructions of neutrino events, will soon begin assembly within the DZero building, a former experiment hall for the Tevatron. When this is finished, the 33-foot-long TPC will slide into a cryostat-cooling chamber and move to its new housing at the Liquid Argon Test Facility, currently under construction at Fermilab. Once there, scientists will begin tracking neutrinos with liquid argon, allowing high sensitivity for the experiment.”

    The MicroBooNE experiment at Fermilab will detect neutrinos with a time projection chamber that holds about 100 tons of liquid argon cooled to minus 187 degrees Celsius. The TPC will be 12 meters long and have a width and height of 2.5 meters. Credit: Fermilab

    See the full article here.

    Wilson Hall

  • richardmitnick 11:14 am on November 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Fermilab MicroBooNE,   

    From Fermilab Today: “CDF and DZero buildings to house new projects “ 

    Fermilab continues to be a great source of strength in the U.S. Basic Research Community.

    “On Sept. 30, the CDF and DZero experiments at Fermilab recorded their final particle collisions. Now technicians and engineers are busy preparing the two buildings that supported the collider detectors to accommodate future uses, while preserving the two particle detectors and their control rooms for educational tours that will be offered starting in the fall of 2012.

    The 36,000-square-foot CDF assembly building, including its 50-ton crane, will become part of the Illinois Accelerator Research Center. Groundbreaking for the main IARC building, which will rise right next to the western side of the CDF building and connect with it on several levels, will take place on Dec. 16. While the IARC is under construction, the Particle Physics Division will use the east side of the CDF building for detector development and construction, including work on the Mu2e experiment. The CDF collaboration will continue to operate computers on the third floor for the analysis of CDF data.

    Artist’s rendering of IARC

    A portion of the DZero building will serve as an assembly area for the 170-ton detector of a new Booster neutrino experiment called MicroBooNE, while the DZero collaboration continues to use the complex as its home base.

    ‘Space in the high-bay area of the DZero assembly building will be ready for use by the MicroBooNE collaboration by the middle of January 2012,’ said George Ginther, a manager of the DZero decommissioning plans. The assembly of the MicroBooNE detector and its liquid-argon system will take about a year. When complete, the equipment will be moved into a new building in the Booster neutrino beam line.

    At CDF, the clearing out of the building is in progress.

    ‘We have removed about 30 pallets of material so far,’ said CDF decommissioning manager Jonathan Lewis. ‘Some things will be reused by other experiments, other things will go into storage at other locations on site, or are being recycled or thrown out. We need to have the west end of the building clear and ready for when the IARC construction gets into full swing in 2012.’

    See the full article here.

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