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  • richardmitnick 6:10 pm on October 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Fermilab NOvA,   

    From Symmetry: “500-mile neutrino experiment up and running” 

    Symmetry

    October 06, 2014
    Media Contacts:

    Andre Salles, Fermilab Office of Communication, media@fnal.gov, 630-840-3351
    Rhonda Zurn, University of Minnesota, rzurn@umn.edu, 612-626-7959

    Science Contacts:

    Mark Messier, NOvA co-spokesperson, messier@indiana.edu, 812-855-0236
    Gary Feldman, NOvA co-spokesperson, gfeldman@fas.harvard.edu, 617-496-1044
    Peter Shanahan, Fermilab physicist, NOvA experiment, shanahan@fnal.gov, 630-840-8378
    Marvin Marshak, Ash River Laboratory director, University of Minnesota, marshak@umn.edu, 612-624-1312

    With construction completed, the NOvA neutrino experiment has begun its probe into the mysteries of ghostly particles that may hold the key to understanding the universe.

    It’s the most powerful accelerator-based neutrino experiment ever built in the United States, and the longest-distance one in the world. It’s called NOvA, and after nearly five years of construction, scientists are now using the two massive detectors—placed 500 miles apart—to study one of nature’s most elusive subatomic particles.

    Scientists believe that a better understanding of neutrinos, one of the most abundant and difficult-to-study particles, may lead to a clearer picture of the origins of matter and the inner workings of the universe. Using the world’s most powerful beam of neutrinos, generated at the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago, the NOvA experiment can precisely record the telltale traces of those rare instances when one of these ghostly particles interacts with matter.

    Construction on NOvA’s two massive neutrino detectors began in 2009. In September, the Department of Energy officially proclaimed construction of the experiment completed, on schedule and under budget.

    “Congratulations to the NOvA collaboration for successfully completing the construction phase of this important and exciting experiment,” says James Siegrist, DOE associate director of science for high energy physics. “With every neutrino interaction recorded, we learn more about these particles and their role in shaping our universe.”

    NOvA’s particle detectors were both constructed in the path of the neutrino beam sent from Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, to northern Minnesota. The 300-ton near-detector, installed underground at the laboratory, observes the neutrinos as they embark on their near-light-speed journey through the Earth, with no tunnel needed. The 14,000-ton far-detector—constructed in Ash River, Minnesota, near the Canadian border—spots those neutrinos after their 500-mile trip and allows scientists to analyze how they change over that long distance.

    FNAL NOvA experiment

    For the next six years, Fermilab will send tens of thousands of billions of neutrinos every second in a beam aimed at both detectors, and scientists expect to catch only a few each day in the far detector, so rarely do neutrinos interact with matter.

    From this data, scientists hope to learn more about how and why neutrinos change between one type and another. The three types, called flavors, are the muon, electron and tau neutrino. Over longer distances, neutrinos can flip between these flavors. NOvA is specifically designed to study muon neutrinos changing into electron neutrinos. Unraveling this mystery may help scientists understand why the universe is composed of matter and why that matter was not annihilated by antimatter after the big bang.

    Scientists will also probe the still-unknown masses of the three types of neutrinos in an attempt to determine which is the heaviest.

    “Neutrino research is one of the cornerstones of Fermilab’s future and an important part of the worldwide particle physics program,” says Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer. “We’re proud of the NOvA team for completing the construction of this world-class experiment, and we’re looking forward to seeing the first results in 2015.”

    The far detector in Minnesota is believed to be the largest free-standing plastic structure in the world, at 200 feet long, 50 feet high and 50 feet wide. Both detectors are constructed from PVC and filled with a scintillating liquid that gives off light when a neutrino interacts with it. Fiber optic cables transmit that light to a data acquisition system, which creates 3-D pictures of those interactions for scientists to analyze.

    The NOvA far detector in Ash River saw its first long-distance neutrinos in November 2013. The far detector is operated by the University of Minnesota under an agreement with Fermilab, and students at the university were employed to manufacture the component parts of both detectors.

    “Building the NOvA detectors was a wide-ranging effort that involved hundreds of people in several countries,” says Gary Feldman, co-spokesperson of the NOvA experiment. “To see the construction completed and the operations phase beginning is a victory for all of us and a testament to the hard work of the entire collaboration.”

    The NOvA collaboration comprises 208 scientists from 38 institutions in the United States, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Greece, India, Russia and the United Kingdom. The experiment receives funding from the US Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies.

    See the full article, with video, here.

    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


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  • richardmitnick 11:40 am on July 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From Fermilab: “NOvA collaboration celebrates in northern Minnesota” 


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

    Friday, July 25, 2014
    Fermilab Leah Hesla
    Leah Hesla

    In 2012, upon beholding the newly completed NOvA far-detector building in northern Minnesota, the University of Minnesota’s Marvin Marshak didn’t believe the collaboration would be able to adequately populate it. At the time, the mammoth structure, which is the length of two basketball courts and would house the future NOvA detector, impressed visitors with the full force of not only its size, but its emptiness.

    far
    Fermilab NOvA Far detector

    “It was scary. We looked at this building and thought, ‘Are we really going to be able to fill this place up?'” said Marshak, NOvA laboratory director. “People looked like tiny little insects against the backdrop of the building.”

    His worries were needless. On Thursday, the NOvA collaboration celebrated the new detector, which now fills the building nicely, in Ash River, Minnesota.

    The celebration came near the conclusion of NOvA’s collaboration meeting, which took place in Minneapolis. Attendees took a one-day excursion to the far detector, 280 miles north, to see the detector.

    The collaboration also discussed the beginning of data taking with the full detectors in the next few weeks. A celebration at Fermilab is planned for later this year.

    NOvA, a Fermilab-hosted neutrino experiment, makes use of two detectors: a smaller, underground detector at Fermilab and the much larger, 14-kiloton detector in Minnesota. The neutrino beam, originating at Fermilab through the NuMI beamline, travels 500 miles from the near detector through the Earth to the far detector.

    Fermilab NUMI Tunnel project
    NumI Tunnel

    Fermilab NOvA experiment

    NOvA scientists will work to uncover the true mass ordering of neutrinos’ three types. They’ll also look for evidence of CP violation, which could help explain why there is so much more matter than antimatter in our universe and, thus, why we’re here.

    “We’re going to kick all the physics analyses into high gear and get ready for first publications,” said Indiana University’s Mark Messier, NOvA co-spokesperson. “We hope to have first results by the end of the year.”

    It’s been a long time coming. Researchers submitted a letter of intent to show their interest in a new neutrino experiment in 2002. In the years since, the collaboration has been hard at work designing, developing, producing and installing hardware, software, fiber optics and even the glue that would hold the kiloton-scale blocks’ components together.

    With almost all of the modules of the detector already taking data, it’s a new era for NOvA and the Fermilab neutrino program.

    “We’re excited to get this experiment up and running — we’ve been working toward this for a long time,” said Fermilab’s Pat Lukens, far detector manager.

    “For at least the next 10 years, there are only two long-baseline neutrino beam experiments in the world — NOvA and T2K,” Marshak said, referring to the Japanese experiment. “Some of the answers we’re looking for are going to come from the experiments that we have right now.”

    Fermilab LBNE
    Fermilab LBNE

    See the full article here.

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    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 2:53 pm on May 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From Symmetry: “NOvA’s first neutrino” 

    Symmetry

    May 06, 2014
    Kathryn Jepsen

    The first picture of a neutrino that traveled from Illinois to Minnesota shows the NOvA experiment’s advantage in studying neutrino properties.

    Neutrinos are notoriously hard to see. But detecting these tiny particles is only part of the challenge of studying them; scientists also need to figure out their identities.

    Neutrinos come in not just one but three types, called flavors: electron, muon and tau. When a neutrino shows up in a particle detector, it usually leaves a calling card in the form of an electron, a muon or a tau particle. This lets a scientist know which flavor of neutrino dropped by.

    But sometimes, the neutrino opts to play ding-dong-ditch instead, depositing a fraction of its energy in the detector before speeding away. This is called a neutral current event, and, in many cases, it is the bane of the modern neutrino physicist’s existence.

    “Every experiment has to deal with this in one way or another,” says physicist Mark Messier of Indiana University, co-leader of the NOvA experiment.

    Fermilab NOvA experiment
    NOvA map

    The neutrino’s game of ring-and-run can lead to confusion, as the signal it leaves behind in a particle detector can look awfully similar to the mark of an electron neutrino, even when the particle speeding away is of another type. This can artificially inflate the number of electron neutrinos a physicist counts.

    To combat this problem, researchers on the NOvA experiment made their detector out of light plastic. Particles can move relatively freely through this low-density material, making it easier for scientists to see what kind of message they leave behind.

    On November 12, 2013, the NOvA detector in Minnesota saw its first neutrino sent in a beam from Fermilab in Illinois. From the looks of the display, that neutrino bumped into a nucleus in the detector, transferring some of its energy but leaving no electron, muon or tau: a neutral current event. The energy left behind produced a particle that decayed immediately into two photons (shown in yellow and magenta) and a proton (shown in cyan).

    neut

    “This is something we built the detector to do,” Messier says. “We went to great lengths to build this funny plastic structure, and this is the payoff.”

    Correctly identifying neutral current events helps NOvA scientists count only true electron neutrino events as they observe how neutrinos oscillate between flavors on their trek from Illinois to Minnesota. It could also help them to search for a fourth type of neutrino, the so-called sterile neutrino, which would affect how often neutral current events occur.

    See the full article here.

    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.



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  • richardmitnick 12:29 pm on February 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From Fermilab: “NOvA experiment sees first long-distance neutrinos” 


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

    Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014
    Media Contacts:
    Andre Salles, Fermilab Office of Communication, media@fnal.gov, 630-840-3351
    Rhonda Zurn, University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering, rzurn@umn.edu, 612-626-7959
    Science Contacts:
    Mark Messier, NOvA co-spokesperson, messier@indiana.edu, (812) 855-0236
    Gary Feldman, NOvA co-spokesperson, gfeldman@fas.harvard.edu, (617) 496-1044
    Marvin Marshak, Ash River Laboratory director, marshak@umn.edu, (612) 624-1312

    far detetcor
    Workers at the NOvA hall in northern Minnesota assemble the final block of the far detector in early February 2014. The nearly completed detector is in the background. Photo courtesy of the NOvA Collaboration

    Scientists on the world’s longest-distance neutrino experiment announced today that they have seen their first neutrinos.

    The NOvA experiment consists of two huge particle detectors placed 500 miles apart, and its job is to explore the properties of an intense beam of ghostly particles called neutrinos. Neutrinos are abundant in nature, but they very rarely interact with other matter. Studying them could yield crucial information about the early moments of the universe.

    far detector
    Workers at the NOvA far-detector building in Ash River, Minn., pivot NOvA block 1 into position. Block 0 can be seen in the background.

    near detectot
    Contractors remove conduits from the east wall of the NOvA near-detector hall. Photo: Cindy Arnold

    nova map

    “NOvA represents a new generation of neutrino experiments,” said Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer. “We are proud to reach this important milestone on our way to learning more about these fundamental particles.”

    Scientists generate a beam of the particles for the NOvA experiment using one of the world’s largest accelerators, located at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago. They aim this beam in the direction of the two particle detectors, one near the source at Fermilab and the other in Ash River, Minn., near the Canadian border. The detector in Ash River is operated by the University of Minnesota under a cooperative agreement with the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

    accelerator
    Fermilab accelerator

    Billions of those particles are sent through the earth every two seconds, aimed at the massive detectors. Once the experiment is fully operational, scientists will catch a precious few each day.

    Neutrinos are curious particles. They come in three types, called flavors, and change between them as they travel. The two detectors of the NOvA experiment are placed so far apart to give the neutrinos the time to oscillate from one flavor to another while traveling at nearly the speed of light. Even though only a fraction of the experiment’s larger detector, called the far detector, is fully built, filled with scintillator and wired with electronics at this point, the experiment has already used it to record signals from its first neutrinos.

    “That the first neutrinos have been detected even before the NOvA far detector installation is complete is a real tribute to everyone involved. That includes the staff at Fermilab, Ash River Lab and the University of Minnesota module facility, the NOvA scientists, and all of the professionals and students building this detector,” said University of Minnesota physicist Marvin Marshak, Ash River Laboratory director. “This early result suggests that the NOvA collaboration will make important contributions to our knowledge of these particles in the not so distant future.”

    Once completed, NOvA’s near and far detectors will weigh 300 and 14,000 tons, respectively. Crews will put into place the last module of the far detector early this spring and will finish outfitting both detectors with electronics in the summer.

    “The first neutrinos mean we’re on our way,” said Harvard physicist Gary Feldman, who has been a co-leader of the experiment from the beginning. “We started meeting more than 10 years ago to discuss how to design this experiment, so we are eager to get under way.”

    The NOvA collaboration is made up of 208 scientists from 38 institutions in the United States, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Greece, India, Russia and the United Kingdom. The experiment receives funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies.

    The NOvA experiment is scheduled to run for six years. Because neutrinos interact with matter so rarely, scientists expect to catch just about 5,000 neutrinos or antineutrinos during that time. Scientists can study the timing, direction and energy of the particles that interact in their detectors to determine whether they came from Fermilab or elsewhere.

    Fermilab creates a beam of neutrinos by smashing protons into a graphite target, which releases a variety of particles. Scientists use magnets to steer the charged particles that emerge from the energy of the collision into a beam. Some of those particles decay into neutrinos, and the scientists filter the non-neutrinos from the beam.

    Fermilab started sending a beam of neutrinos through the detectors in September, after 16 months of work by about 300 people to upgrade the lab’s accelerator complex.

    “It is great to see the first neutrinos from the upgraded complex,” said Fermilab physicist Paul Derwent, who led the accelerator upgrade project. “It is the culmination of a lot of hard work to get the program up and running again.”

    Different types of neutrinos have different masses, but scientists do not know how these masses compare to one another. A goal of the NOvA experiment is to determine the order of the neutrino masses, known as the mass hierarchy, which will help scientists narrow their list of possible theories about how neutrinos work.

    “Seeing neutrinos in the first modules of the detector in Minnesota is a major milestone,” said Fermilab physicist Rick Tesarek, deputy project leader for NOvA. “Now we can start doing physics.”

    Note: NOvA stands for NuMI Off-Axis Electron Neutrino Appearance. NuMI is itself an acronym, standing for Neutrinos from the Main Injector, Fermilab’s flagship accelerator.

    mi
    Main injector

    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 3:25 pm on January 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    From Fermilab: “Final block of NOvA near detector in place” 


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

    Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014
    No Writer Credit

    Since June, crews have been assembling the massive NOvA near detector in the Minos cavern, located 350 feet underground at Fermilab. On Friday, Jan. 10, the final 21,000-pound plastic block of that detector was put into place, signaling a significant milestone in what will be one of the largest and most sophisticated neutrino experiments in the world.

    block
    Members of the NOvA crew put the final NOvA near-detector block into place in the Minos cavern. Photo: Cindy Arnold

    Construction of the near detector began in June, after the excavation of the NOvA cavern was completed in May. The detector consists of a muon catcher and eight PVC blocks standing 15 feet high and wide and about 6 feet deep. Each block was assembled at the CDF assembly building, driven to Minos on a truck and then carefully lowered down an open shaft to the cavern floor, where workers wheeled it into place.

    In the coming months, the near detector will be filled with liquid scintillator and wired with the sensors needed to take neutrino data. It will weigh about 300 tons. Meanwhile, in northern Minnesota, construction is nearly complete on the 14,000-ton far detector, and the NOvA experiment is already receiving a beam of neutrinos from Fermilab’s Main Injector.

    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 3:21 pm on December 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From Fermilab- “Day in the life: Neutrino detector block” 


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

    Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013
    Sarah Witman

    When the sun rises over Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory each morning, it beams down on a relatively unchanging landscape: 10 square miles of prairie dotted with various lab buildings. On most days, not much stirs that early in the morning. Some days, though, the sunrise coincides with a big event at Fermilab: NOvA block moving day.

    nova
    A close look at the assembly of the NOvA near detector reveals a massive yet meticulous process. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    NOvA is Fermilab’s largest neutrino experiment. It features two large detectors, one of which is located at Fermilab and is made up of eight 23,411-pound plastic blocks each measuring about 15 feet high, 15 feet wide and 6 feet thick.

    Those involved in a NOvA block moving day wake up very early so they can complete the move before the end of the day. They try to avoid what would be a race against the sun since their work is meticulous and there is no room for error.

    “These blocks are not redundant,” says Fermilab scientist Ting Miao, the project’s manager. “If one gets damaged in the move, there’s no way to replace it — by design. It’s really a one-shot business.”

    Further, here from Symmetry-

    The NOvA experiment studies subatomic particles called neutrinos by sending the world’s most intense neutrino beam from Fermilab to a detector on site (called the near detector) and to another, larger detector (called the far detector) located just shy of the Canadian border. No special tunnel is needed for the neutrinos to travel this distance since they pass undetected through matter all the time.

    Neutrinos currently baffle scientists in that they morph from one type to another. By studying the morphing of one type of neutrinos, muon neutrinos, to another type, electron neutrinos, NOvA experimenters hope to better understand the function of these invisible particles.

    That’s where the NOvA blocks come in. These scoreboard-sized plastic blocks are designed to hold liquid scintillator, a chemical made up of 95 percent mineral oil and 5 percent pseudocumene, which is imperative to the neutrino-detecting process. Liquid scintillator has extraordinary properties: When light shines on it, it gets much brighter. In the NOvA detector, a device called an avalanche photodiode will convert that light to an electronic signal that physicists can read with special electronics. This means that when a neutrino interacts with the detector, scientists will be able to measure the energy of that interaction and study it.

    The first block of the NOvA near detector was installed in August 2013, and the last will be installed this month.

    block
    Technicians inspect a partially assembled NOvA detector block. Photo by: Sarah Witman, Fermilab

    Preparing for move day

    When modules for the blocks arrive at the assembly hall at Fermilab—27 of these PVC slabs comprise one block—skilled technicians gently clean them off and use a big yellow vacuum suction lifter to pick one up and take it over to a complex-looking glue machine. The rubbery suction cups that enable the vacuum to lift such heavy loads are custom-made, out of mostly silicon, for NOvA at Argonne National Laboratory.

    “A green light on the fixture tells the technician when he’s got a good vacuum,” explains Dervin Allen, who oversees the block assembly.

    When all is in place, the machine heats up, spraying glue down from 55-gallon barrels all along the module’s smooth, white surface.

    Allen, who says he is immune to the heavy scent of glue pervading the assembly hall, says the glue comes two parts, adhesive and activator, that are pumped into clear plastic tubes called stirrers. A coiling white tendril inside the stirrer, like a flat corkscrew, blends the two together at the opportune moment so the glue doesn’t harden too soon and gum up the machine.

    When the module is completely coated with glue, it is flipped over and placed carefully on a stack of completed modules. A technician sets heavy metal plates on top of them for 20 minutes to help set the glue. This stack will eventually form the “block.” While that module dries, the team moves on to the next one.

    One might wonder why pieces as critical as these blocks would be made out of such seemingly simple materials: plastic and glue.

    According to Miao, if the blocks were metal, the metal’s atoms would interfere with the experiment’s function by setting off additional interactions, while plastic would result in only minimal interactions. Plastic is also lightweight, low-cost, and can be molded or bonded together—with something as straightforward as glue—in a way that is watertight.

    “With the lightweight plastic material as a container for the liquid scintillator, the NOvA detector is close to 100 percent active, volume-wise,” he says, explaining that an “active” or “smart” material is one that can withstand a variety of reactions. “And these days, plastic can be made very strong. This plastic is a specially designed type of PVC. It has to hold tons of material. Aluminum or steel could do that, but it would be too heavy, among other things.”

    NOvA’s plastic detectors will be the largest of their kind, he says.

    Move day

    Once the block is completely assembled, it can start its journey its new home in the NOvA near-detector cavern underneath the MINOS surface building at Fermilab.

    First, a semi truck pulls into the assembly hall. Alignment rods that kept the block square during assembly are removed, and a new frame is placed around it. Black glue plastered onto the ends of the modules fills in gaps and helps ease the pressure as the block is hoisted onto the truck with a crane, Allen says.

    The truck’s driver takes the long way to MINOS, behind Fermilab’s resident bison herd, to avoid construction and other possible obstacles that might disturb the bulky but fragile structure. Miao says they usually clip along at a cautious pace of 5 to 10 miles per hour.

    Once the truck arrives at MINOS, the team is in the home stretch. A crane removes the block from the truck and places it in the MINOS surface building’s high bay, where alignment technicians survey the positions of each module. Then, using the crane, they rotate the block into a vertical position and then replace the frame around the block with a lighter one, so as not to exceed the crane’s 15-ton capacity for lowering it down a 300-foot shaft into the cavern.

    “The shaft is a very tight fit because the block was originally designed to be about two-thirds this size,” Miao says, explaining that the detector was altered in accordance with accelerator upgrades to make them a perfect match. “There is a space of less than 6 inches on all sides.”

    Ernie Villegas, lead engineer for the NOvA near detector, says getting the blocks through the shaft is always the most challenging part. But, he says, helping to plan the construction of the far detector in Ash River, Minn., was harder—that one will have 28 blocks in all, ones that are closer to three stories high, making it what is likely the largest freestanding PVC structure in the world.

    “It’s been an interesting time,” he says.

    Looking forward, Miao says that after the last near-detector block is put in position, it should take several months to fill up the empty blocks with liquid scintillator. They hope the near detector will be ready by late March or early April.

    Here is a video provided by Fermilab to educate us on the experiment.

    See the full Fermilab article here.

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    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 4:50 pm on December 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From Fermilab: Video on the NOvA Experiment 


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

    Here is a great 7 minute video from Fermilab which explains the NOvA neutrino experiment. Learn and enjoy.

    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 1:17 pm on December 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    NOvA at Fermilab 


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

    Watch this video about the NOvA neutrino project managed by Fermilab.

    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 10:52 am on December 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From Fermilab: “Two million gallons in the NOvA detector” 


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

    Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013
    Andre Salles

    The construction of the 14-kiloton NOvA far detector in Minnesota hit a major milestone this week: Collaboration members poured the 2 millionth gallon of scintillating oil into the detector.

    space
    Scientists suspect that neutrinos played a major role in the evolution of the universe, contributing to its mass as much as stars and planets. The NOvA experiment will study the strange properties of neutrinos, especially the elusive transition of muon neutrinos into electron neutrinos.

    The experiment will begin taking data in 2013 and construction will be complete in January 2014. The first run will last six years.

    det
    Kyle Wood (left) and James Hoffman, both of the University of Minnesota, work to fill the 14-kiloton far detector with liquid scintillator. The crew just reached the 2-million-gallon mark, with 700,000 gallons to go. The far detector, which is being constructed in northern Minnesota, is scheduled to be completed next summer. Photo: William Miller, NOvA installation manager

    The NOvA detector, when completed early next year, will stand 50 feet high, 50 feet wide and span more than 200 feet. It is constructed of PVC modules, each wired with light-sensing fiber-optic cable, and will be filled with a liquid scintillator. According to Deputy Project Manager Rick Tesarek, the liquid — which emits detectable light when charged particles interact with it — is cheaper by weight than solid plastic scintillator.

    Workers are constructing the NOvA far detector near Ash River in Minnesota, just south of the Canadian border. The last of 28 plastic blocks is scheduled to be completed and placed by March, with all 2.7 million gallons of liquid scintillator poured by April and the final bank of electronics installed by June. The detector is already receiving neutrino beam from Fermilab’s particle accelerator complex, and the first detector modules are recording data.

    chart
    NOvA is on track to finish filling the detector with scintillator oil by spring.

    map
    Geography of the NOvA project

    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 2:28 pm on May 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
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    From Fermilab: “NOvA near-detector cavern construction completed, ready for research equipment” 

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

    Monday, May 20, 2013
    Sarah Khan

    After breaking ground in May 2012, the NOvA near-detector cavern, situated 350 feet underground, is nearly complete—ahead of schedule, no less—and has been ready to accommodate NOvA research equipment since it received beneficial occupancy on May 10.

    cavity

    The lab originally planned for completion in mid-June this year, said FESS engineer Russ Alber. But construction subcontractor Kiewit Infrastructure Co. has been working ahead of schedule and is now ready to turn the cavern over to Fermilab scientists and engineers.

    Kiewit is finishing the last steps to cavern construction, which include building a movable walkway that slides down the length of the cavern and entry doors to the cavern.

    The empty space is now ready to start taking experiment equipment.

    ‘It’s exciting for us,’ Alber said. ‘This is not a typical building with typical construction techniques, so we’re glad to have completed this one ahead of schedule.’

    Without all the clutter from building materials, the 75-foot-long cavern seems, well, cavernous.

    But it won’t be empty for long. Scientists will soon install networking and computing components to process neutrino data once the detector is up and running, said near-detector project manager Ting Miao.

    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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