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  • richardmitnick 2:02 pm on September 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A2D2, , FNAL, IARC-Fermilab’s Illinois Accelerator Research Center, , , ,   

    From Symmetry: “Concrete applications for accelerator science” 

    Symmetry Mag

    Symmetry

    09/21/17
    Leah Poffenberger

    1
    Photo by Reidar Hahn, Fermilab

    A project called A2D2 will explore new applications for compact linear accelerators.

    Particle accelerators are the engines of particle physics research at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. They generate nearly light-speed, subatomic particles that scientists study to get to the bottom of what makes our universe tick. Fermilab experiments rely on a number of different accelerators, including a powerful, 500-foot-long linear accelerator that kick-starts the process of sending particle beams to various destinations.

    But if you’re not doing physics research, what’s an accelerator good for?

    It turns out, quite a lot: Electron beams generated by linear accelerators have all kinds of practical uses, such as making the wires used in cars melt-resistant or purifying water.

    A project called Accelerator Application Development and Demonstration (A2D2) at Fermilab’s Illinois Accelerator Research Center will help Fermilab and its partners to explore new applications for compact linear accelerators, which are only a few feet long rather than a few hundred. These compact accelerators are of special interest because of their small size—they’re cheaper and more practical to build in an industrial setting than particle physics research accelerators—and they can be more powerful than ever.

    “A2D2 has two aspects: One is to investigate new applications of how electron beams might be used to change, modify or process different materials,” says Fermilab’s Tom Kroc, an A2D2 physicist. “The second is to contribute a little more to the understanding of how these processes happen.”

    To develop these aspects of accelerator applications, A2D2 will employ a compact linear accelerator that was once used in a hospital to treat tumors with electron beams. With a few upgrades to increase its power, the A2D2 accelerator will be ready to embark on a new venture: exploring and benchmarking other possible uses of electron beams, which will help specify the design of a new, industrial-grade, high-power machine under development by IARC and its partners.

    It won’t be just Fermilab scientists using the A2D2 accelerator: As part of IARC, the accelerator will be available for use (typically through a formal CRADA or SPP agreement) by anyone who has a novel idea for electron beam applications. IARC’s purpose is to partner with industry to explore ways to translate basic research and tools, including accelerator research, into commercial applications.

    “I already have a lot of people from industry asking me, ‘When can I use A2D2?’” says Charlie Cooper, general manager of IARC. “A2D2 will allow us to directly contribute to industrial applications—it’s something concrete that IARC now offers.”

    Speaking of concrete, one of the first applications in mind for compact linear accelerators is creating durable pavement for roads that won’t crack in the cold or spread out in the heat. This could be achieved by replacing traditional asphalt with a material that could be strengthened using an accelerator. The extra strength would come from crosslinking, a process that creates bonds between layers of material, almost like applying glue between sheets of paper. A single sheet of paper tears easily, but when two or more layers are linked by glue, the paper becomes stronger.

    “Using accelerators, you could have pavement that lasts longer, is tougher and has a bigger temperature range,” says Bob Kephart, director of IARC. Kephart holds two patents for the process of curing cement through crosslinking. “Basically, you’d put the road down like you do right now, and you’d pass an accelerator over it, and suddenly you’d turn it into really tough stuff—like the bed liner in the back of your pickup truck.”

    This process has already caught the eye of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will be one of A2D2’s first partners. Another partner will be the Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, which will test the utility of compact accelerators for water purification. Many other potential customers are lining up to use the A2D2 technology platform.

    “You can basically drive chemical reactions with electron beams—and in many cases those can be more efficient than conventional technology, so there are a variety of applications,” Kephart says. “Usually what you have to do is make a batch of something and heat it up in order for a reaction to occur. An electron beam can make a reaction happen by breaking a bond with a single electron.”

    In other words, instead of having to cook a material for a long time to reach a specific heat that would induce a chemical reaction, you could zap it with an electron beam to get the same effect in a fraction of the time.

    In addition to exploring the new electron-beam applications with the A2D2 accelerator, scientists and engineers at IARC are using cutting-edge accelerator technology to design and build a new kind of portable, compact accelerator, one that will take applications uncovered with A2D2 out of the lab and into the field. The A2D2 accelerator is already small compared to most accelerators, but the latest R&D allows IARC experts to shrink the size while increasing the power of their proposed accelerator even further.

    “The new, compact accelerator that we’re developing will be high-power and high-energy for industry,” Cooper says. “This will enable some things that weren’t possible in the past. For something such as environmental cleanup, you could take the accelerator directly to the site.”

    While the IARC team develops this portable accelerator, which should be able to fit on a standard trailer, the A2D2 accelerator will continue to be a place to experiment with how to use electron beams—and study what happens when you do.

    “The point of this facility is more development than research, however there will be some research on irradiated samples,” says Fermilab’s Mike Geelhoed, one of the A2D2 project leads. “We’re all excited—at least I am. We and our partners have been anticipating this machine for some time now. We all want to see how well it can perform.”

    See the full article here .

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


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  • richardmitnick 10:28 am on September 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alex Himmel of Fermilab, , , Chao Zhang of BNL, Congratulations to two award-winning DUNE collaborators, FNAL, , ,   

    From NUS TO SURF: “Congratulations to two award-winning DUNE collaborators” 

    NUS TO SURF

    1

    “It is great news that the US DOE has recognized the talents of two early career DUNE scientists — both Alex and Chao have made invaluable contributions to DUNE and are both deserving recipients of these prestigious funding awards.”
    — DUNE spokespersons Mark Thomson and Ed Blucher

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF, Lead, South Dakota, USA


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford



    SURF building in Lead SD USA

    2
    Chao Zhang of BNL. Credit: BNL

    Exerpted and adapted from Three Brookhaven Lab Scientists Selected to Receive Early Career Research Program Funding, BNL Newsroom, 15 Aug 2017.

    Brookhaven Lab physicist and DUNE collaborator Chao Zhang was selected by DOE’s Office of High Energy Physics to receive funding for a project titled Optimization of Liquid Argon TPCs for Nucleon Decay and Neutrino Physics. Liquid Argon TPCs form the heart of many large-scale particle detectors designed to explore fundamental mysteries in particle physics.

    Chao’s aim is to optimize the performance of the DUNE far detector LArTPCs to fully realize their potential to track and identify particles in three dimensions, with a particular focus on making them sensitive to rare proton decays.

    His team at Brookhaven Lab will establish a hardware calibration system to ensure the experiment’s ability to extract subtle signals using specially designed cold electronics that will sit within the detector. They will also develop software to reconstruct the three-dimensional details of complex events, and analyze data collected at a prototype experiment (ProtoDUNE, located at Europe’s CERN laboratory) to verify that these methods are working, before incorporating any needed adjustments into the design of the detectors for DUNE.

    “I am honored and thrilled to receive this distinguished award,” said Chao. “With this support, my colleagues and I will be able to develop many new techniques to enhance the performance of LArTPCs, and we are excited to be involved in the search for answers to one of the most intriguing mysteries in science, the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe.”

    Read full article.


    Alex Himmel of Fermilab. Credit: Fermilab

    This article is excerpted and adapted from a Fermilab news article, 14 September 2017.

    Fermilab’s Alex Himmel expects to spend a large chunk of his career working on the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), the flagship experiment of the U.S. particle physics community. That is incentive, he says, to lay the groundwork now to ensure its success.

    The Department of Energy has selected Himmel, a Wilson fellow, for a 2017 DOE Early Career Research Award to do just that. He will receive $2.5 million over five years to build a team and optimize software that will measure the flashes of ultraviolet light generated in neutrino collisions in a way that will determine the energy of the neutrino more precisely than is currently possible.

    Photons released from neutrino collisions will arrive at their detectors deteriorated and distorted due to scattering and reflections; the light measured is not the same as what was given off.

    “What we want to know is, given an amount of energy deposited in the argon, how much light do we see, taking out all the other things we know about how the light moves inside the detector,” he explained.

    Researchers are already looking forward to the long-term, positive impact of Himmel’s research.

    “Alex has been a true leader in understanding the physics potential of scintillation light in liquid-argon detectors,” said Ed Blucher. “His plan to develop techniques to make the most effective use of photon detection will help to enable the best and broadest possible physics program for DUNE.”

    Himmel has deep ties with Fermilab and neutrinos, starting with his first job as a summer student at Fermilab when he was 16. In 2012, he won the Universities Research Association Thesis Award for his research on muon antineutrino oscillations at Fermilab’s MINOS experiment.

    Read full article.

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  • richardmitnick 4:03 pm on September 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , FNAL, Light dark matter, , SENSEI prototype,   

    From Symmetry: “SENSEI searches for light dark matter” 

    Symmetry Mag

    Symmetry

    09/15/17
    Leah Poffenberger

    Technology proposed 30 years ago to search for dark matter is finally seeing the light.

    1
    FNAL SENSEI prototype. Photo by Reidar Hahn, Fermilab

    In a project called SENSEI, scientists are using innovative sensors developed over three decades to look for the lightest dark matter particles anyone has ever tried to detect.

    Dark matter—so named because it doesn’t absorb, reflect or emit light—constitutes 27 percent of the universe, but the jury is still out on what it’s made of. The primary theoretical suspect for the main component of dark matter is a particle scientists have descriptively named the weakly interactive massive particle, or WIMP.

    But since none of these heavy particles, which are expected to have a mass 100 times that of a proton, have shown up in experiments, it might be time for researchers to think small.

    “There is a growing interest in looking for different kinds of dark matter that are additives to the standard WIMP model,” says Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory scientist Javier Tiffenberg, a leader of the SENSEI collaboration. “Lightweight, or low-mass, dark matter is a very compelling possibility, and for the first time, the technology is there to explore these candidates.”

    Sensing the unseen

    In traditional dark matter experiments, scientists look for a transfer of energy that would occur if dark matter particles collided with an ordinary nucleus. But SENSEI is different; it looks for direct interactions of dark matter particles colliding with electrons.

    “That is a big difference—you get a lot more energy transferred in this case because an electron is so light compared to a nucleus,” Tiffenberg says.

    If dark matter had low mass—much smaller than the WIMP model suggests—then it would be many times lighter than an atomic nucleus. So if it were to collide with a nucleus, the resulting energy transfer would be far too small to tell us anything. It would be like throwing a ping-pong ball at a boulder: The heavy object wouldn’t go anywhere, and there would be no sign the two had come into contact.

    An electron is nowhere near as heavy as an atomic nucleus. In fact, a single proton has about 1836 times more mass than an electron. So the collision of a low-mass dark matter particle with an electron has a much better chance of leaving a mark—it’s more bowling ball than boulder.

    Bowling balls aren’t exactly light, though. An energy transfer between a low-mass dark matter particle and an electron would leave only a blip of energy, one either too small for most detectors to pick up or easily overshadowed by noise in the data.

    “The bowling ball will move a very tiny amount,” says Fermilab scientist Juan Estrada, a SENSEI collaborator. “You need a very precise detector to see this interaction of lightweight particles with something that is much heavier.”

    That’s where SENSEI’s sensitive sensors come in.

    SENSEI will use skipper charge-couple devices, also called skipper CCDs. CCDs have been used for other dark matter detection experiments, such as the Dark Matter in CCDs (or DAMIC) experiment operating at SNOLAB in Canada.

    3
    DAMIC experiment operating at SNOLAB

    These CCDs were a spinoff from sensors developed for use in the Dark Energy Camera in Chile and other dark energy search projects.

    Dark Energy Survey


    Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL


    NOAO/CTIO Victor M Blanco 4m Telescope which houses the DECam at Cerro Tololo, Chile, housing DECam at an altitude of 7200 feet

    CCDs are typically made of silicon divided into pixels. When a dark matter particle passes through the CCD, it collides with the silicon’s electrons, knocking them free, leaving a net electric charge in each pixel the particle passes through. The electrons then flow through adjacent pixels and are ultimately read as a current in a device that measures the number of electrons freed from each CCD pixel. That measurement tells scientists about the mass and energy of the particle that got the chain reaction going. A massive particle, like a WIMP, would free a gusher of electrons, but a low-mass particle might free only one or two.

    Typical CCDs can measure the charge left behind only once, which makes it difficult to decide if a tiny energy signal from one or two electrons is real or an error.

    Skipper CCDs are a new generation of the technology that helps eliminate the “iffiness” of a measurement that has a one- or two-electron margin of error. “The big step forward for the skipper CCD is that we are able to measure this charge as many times as we want,” Tiffenberg says.

    The charge left behind in the skipper CCD can be sampled multiple times and then averaged, a method that yields a more precise measurement of the charge deposited in each pixel than the measure-one-and-done technique. That’s the rule of statistics: With more data, you get closer to a property’s true value.

    SENSEI scientists take advantage of the skipper CCD architecture, measuring the number of electrons in a single pixel a whopping 4000 times.

    “This is a simple idea, but it took us 30 years to get it to work,” Estrada says.

    From idea to reality to beyond

    A small SENSEI prototype is currently running at Fermilab in a detector hall 385 feet below ground, and it has demonstrated that this detector design will work in the hunt for dark matter.

    FNAL DAMIC

    Skipper CCD technology and SENSEI were brought to life by Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) funds at Fermilab and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). LDRD programs are intended to provide funding for development of novel, cutting-edge ideas for scientific discovery.

    The Fermilab LDRDs were awarded only recently—less than two years ago—but close collaboration between the two laboratories has already yielded SENSEI’s promising design, partially thanks to Berkeley lab’s previous work in skipper CCD design.

    Fermilab LDRD funds allow researchers to test the sensors and develop detectors based on the science, and the Berkeley Lab LDRD funds support the sensor design, which was originally proposed by Berkeley Lab scientist Steve Holland.

    “It is the combination of the two LDRDs that really make SENSEI possible,” Estrada says.

    Future SENSEI research will also receive a boost thanks to a recent grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation.

    “SENSEI is very cool, but what’s really impressive is that the skipper CCD will allow the SENSEI science and a lot of other applications,” Estrada says. “Astronomical studies are limited by the sensitivity of their experimental measurements, and having sensors without noise is the equivalent of making your telescope bigger—more sensitive.”

    SENSEI technology may also be critical in the hunt for a fourth type of neutrino, called the sterile neutrino, which seems to be even more shy than its three notoriously elusive neutrino family members.

    A larger SENSEI detector equipped with more skipper CCDs will be deployed within the year. It’s possible it might not detect anything, sending researchers back to the drawing board in the hunt for dark matter. Or SENSEI might finally make contact with dark matter—and that would be SENSEI-tional.

    See the full article here .

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 4:03 pm on August 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , FNAL, , , , , , SURF LBNF/ DUNE,   

    From Symmetry: “Mega-collaborations for scientific discovery” 

    Symmetry Mag

    Symmetry

    08/24/17
    Leah Poffenberger

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    DUNE joins the elite club of physics collaborations with more than 1000 members. Photo by Reidar Hahn, Fermilab.

    Sometimes it takes lot of people working together to make discovery possible. More than 7000 scientists, engineers and technicians worked on designing and constructing the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and thousands of scientists now run each of the LHC’s four major experiments.

    LHC

    CERN/LHC Map

    CERN LHC Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

    Not many experiments garner such numbers. On August 15, the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) became the latest member of the exclusive clique of particle physics experiments with more than a thousand collaborators.

    Meet them all:

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    4,000+: Compact Muon Solenoid Detector (CMS) Experiment

    CMS is one of the two largest experiments at the LHC. It is best known for its role in the discovery of the Higgs boson.

    The “C” in CMS stands for compact, but there’s nothing compact about the CMS collaboration. It is one of the largest scientific collaborations in history. More than 4000 people from 200 institutions around the world work on the CMS detector and use its data for research.

    About 30 percent of the CMS collaboration hail from US institutions*. A remote operations center at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, serves as a base for CMS research in the United States.

    4

    3,000+: A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS (ATLAS) Experiment

    The ATLAS experiment, the other large experiment responsible for discovering the Higgs boson at the LHC, ranks number two in number of collaborators. The ATLAS collaboration has more than 3000 members from 182 institutions in 38 countries. ATLAS and CMS ask similar questions about the building blocks of the universe, but they look for the answers with different detector designs.

    About 30 percent of the ATLAS collaboration are from institutions in the United States*. Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, serves as the US host.

    2,000+: Linear Collider Collaboration

    Proposed LC Linear Collider schematic. Location not yet decided.

    The Linear Collider Collaboration (LCC) is different from CMS and ATLAS in that the collaboration’s experiment is still a proposed project and has not yet been built. LCC has around 2000 members who are working to develop and build a particle collider that can produce different kinds of collisions than those seen at the LHC.

    LCC members are working on two potential linear collider projects: the compact linear collider study (CLIC) at CERN and the International Linear Collider (ILC) in Japan. CLIC and the ILC originally began as separate projects, but the scientists working on both joined forces in 2013.

    Either CLIC or the ILC would complement the LHC by colliding electrons and positrons to explore the Higgs particle interactions and the nature of subatomic forces in greater detail.

    1,500+; A Large Ion Collider Experiment (ALICE)

    5

    ALICE is part of LHC’s family of particle detectors, and, like ATLAS and CMS, it too has a large, international collaboration, counting 1500 members from 154 physics institutes in 37 countries. Research using ALICE is focused on quarks, the sub-atomic particles that make up protons and neutrons, and the strong force responsible for holding quarks together.

    1,000+: Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE)

    The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment is the newest member of the club. This month, the DUNE collaboration surpassed 1000 collaborators from 30 countries.

    From its place a mile beneath the earth at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota, DUNE will investigate the behavior of neutrinos, which are invisible, nearly massless particles that rarely interact with other matter. The neutrinos will come from Fermilab, 800 miles away.

    Neutrino research could help scientists answer the question of why there is an imbalance between matter and antimatter in the universe. Groundbreaking for DUNE occurred on July 21, and the experiment will start taking data in around 2025.

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF, Lead, South Dakota, USA


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford



    SURF building in Lead SD USA

    Honorable mentions

    A few notable collaborations have made it close to 1000 but didn’t quite make the list. LHCb, the fourth major detector at LHC, boasts a collaboration 800 strong.

    CERN/LHCb

    Over 700 collaborators work on the Belle II experiment at KEK in Japan, which will begin taking data in 2018, studying the properties of B mesons, particles that contain a bottom quark.

    Belle II super-B factory experiment takes shape at KEK
    5

    The 600-member SLAC/Babar collaboration at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory also studies B mesons.

    SLAC/Babar

    STAR, a detector at Brookhaven National Laboratory that probes the conditions of the early universe, has more than 600 collaborators from 55 institutions.

    BNL/RHIC Star Detector

    The CDF and DZero collaborations at Fermilab, best known for their co-discovery of the top quark in 1995, had about 700 collaborators at their peak.

    FNAL/Tevatron DZero detector

    FNAL/Tevatron CDF detector

    *Among the reasons why I started this blog was that this level of U.S. involvement was invisible in our highly vaunted press. CERN had taken over HEP from FNAL. Our idiot Congress in 1993 had killed off the Superconducting Super Collider. So it looked like we had given up. But BNL had 600 people on ATLAS. FNAL had 1000 people on CMS. So we were far from dead in HEP, just invisible. So, I had a story to tell. Today I have 1000 readers. Not too shabby for Basic and Applied Science.

    See the full article here .

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 2:23 pm on August 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: FNAL, Mu2e, The Mu2e experiment aims to capture a hypothesized phenomenon that has never been observed: a particle called a muon converting directly into an electron   

    From FNAL: “Mu2e’s magnet boot camp” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

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

    August 21, 2017
    Leah Poffenberger

    In July 2015, a key cryogenic facility at Fermilab was shut down, leaving the laboratory’s Mu2e experiment without a space to test its superconducting magnets. Luckily, in the search for new physics at Fermilab, it’s “waste not, want not”: A new cryogenic testing facility for Mu2e now lives in a space occupied by a previous experiment, called CDF, and is even created with refurbished parts from past experiments, including CDF.

    1
    Andy Hocker, left, and Mike Lamm stand beneath a cryostat lid, from which a magnetic section will be suspended. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    The Mu2e experiment aims to capture a hypothesized phenomenon that has never been observed: a particle called a muon converting directly into an electron. If scientists were to witness this rare event, it could signal that there are other, hidden particles in the universe yet to be discovered.

    “The idea of Mu2e is rather simple: to detect this reaction,” said Michael Lamm, one of the lead scientists on the Mu2e experiment. “We’re going to measure it to a sensitivity that’s never been reached.”

    The Mu2e experiment is specifically designed to achieve this unmatched sensitivity. Comprising three superconducting magnet sections, it stretches nearly the length of a lap pool — about 75 feet.

    The experiment’s most distinctive feature is its S-shaped central section, called a transport solenoid, which contains 52 coils of superconducting wire that act as magnets. Manufacturers in Italy will wind each coil and place them into 14 sections, which will be assembled at Fermilab to create the solenoid’s serpentine shape.

    But before the solenoid can be put together, each section of the magnet needs to be tested to make sure it works under the ultracold conditions necessary for superconductivity.

    “Imagine you build the magnet, transport it into the building and put it in place. And then you turn it on and the magnets don’t work. It would be very risky,” Lamm said.

    To eliminate this possibility, the 14 solenoid sections, each containing between two and five coils, will be sent to Mu2e’s new cryogenic testing facility before assembly. The magnet vendor will have already tested the magnets at room temperature to check for electrical issues such as short circuits, but at Fermilab’s cryogenic testing facility, the sections will really be put through their paces.

    2
    On the upper level, a technician works on the Mu2e cryostat. On the ground level, a separate cryostat lid is being prepared for use. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    “Since these magnets are superconductors, they have to be cooled down to liquid-helium temperatures—about 5 Kelvin,” said Andy Hocker, leader of the cryogenic facility. “We’ve put together this facility to make sure they’ll be able to operate as they will in the experiment.”

    To reach frigid 5 Kelvin (that’s about minus 451 degrees Fahrenheit, a few degrees warmer than outer space), the magnet sections are suspended in a cryostat, which Hocker called “a glorified thermos.” Inside the cryostat, the magnet is isolated from the warmth of the outside world, allowing the section to be slowly cooled with liquid helium, a process that takes about a week.

    And then comes the real test: running an electrical current through the coils that’s 20 percent higher than the one that will be used once Mu2e is online.

    “You want to make sure these magnets can go up to well beyond the current they’ll need to operate at during the experiment and still stay nice and cold to keep them from transitioning to a normal conductor,” Hocker said.

    Each solenoid section will take four to six weeks to test, including the gradual cooling and an equally slow warming period. The first section will arrive this fall, beginning a nearly two-year testing process that should be complete by 2019.

    Once the transport solenoid has been tested, constructed and joined with two other sections to make up the Mu2e detector, the experiment will begin a three-year run in search of physics beyond the Standard Model.

    “If we see this interaction here, this would be new physics. It would really just knock your socks off,” Lamm said. “If we don’t see it, we’ll be able to rule out some of the current theories predicting new physics beyond the Standard Model. Either way, we’ll find out the truth from nature.”

    See the full article here .

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    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. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:58 am on August 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Data from the Tevatron and LHC also from MicroBooNE and NOvA and the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, Eventually disk systems may overtake tape if they become a cheaper data storage option but disks can be unreliable, Fermilab stores over 100 petabytes of data equivalent to 1300 years of HD TV on tape cartridges, FNAL, Tape is the safest medium you can have, Tape lives on at Fermilab   

    From FNAL: “Tape lives on at Fermilab” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

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

    August 9, 2017
    Leah Poffenberger

    1
    At Fermilab, tape libraries house data from particle physics and astrophysics experiments. Photo: Reidar Hahn.

    VHS may have vanished, and cassettes are no longer cool, but tape is still on top when it comes to particle physics data: Fermilab stores over 100 petabytes of data, equivalent to 1,300 years of HD TV, on tape cartridges.

    But why is tape, which is generally considered obsolete for music or movies, the go-to for storing all this data?

    “Tape is the safest medium you can have,” said Stu Fuess, a senior scientist working in computing at Fermilab. “With tape, a machine can’t crash and cause you to lose your data.”

    Fermilab’s seven tape libraries — three at the laboratory’s Feynman Computing Center and four at its Grid Computing Center — have the capacity to hold 10,000 tapes each, adding up to 600 petabytes of data storage. That leaves a lot of storage capacity that isn’t in use — yet.

    “One challenge of data storage is that we don’t ever really want to throw data away — sometimes experimenters will reanalyze data years later to find something they never thought to look for,” Fuess said.

    And now, increasingly large amounts of data are accumulated from more complex particle detectors, causing a growth in data Fuess called “almost exponential.”

    Fermilab’s expedition into the intensity frontier — the realm of physics that requires highly intense particle beams to search for new physics — requires detailed detectors and a lot of data, enough to say whether an observation is a fundamental particle or a fluke.

    “Particle physics is a statistical science, especially the intensity frontier,” Fuess said. “The more data you can accumulate, the more statistical power you can add to your measurements.”

    In addition to 40 petabytes of data from intensity frontier experiments such as Fermilab’s neutrino experiments MicroBooNE and NOvA, the lab stores 40 petabytes of data from the CMS detector at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. The legacy Tevatron experiments, CDF and DZero, each contribute another 10 petabytes. That brings the total to 100 PB of active data storage on tapes. A few extra petabytes of data from the Dark Energy Survey is housed in the Fermilab tape repositories, too, along with an unlikely data-neighbor: genomic research from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative.

    One of tape’s biggest drawbacks is speed, even though tape libraries are fully automated and manned by robotic retrieval arms.

    “When you want to access a file, you have to find a free tape drive — the robot’s got to find the tape and put it in the tape drive,” said Gene Oleynik, a computing services manager in charge of data movement and storage at Fermilab. “All this communication has to happen to access data, and this happens in an order of minutes,” which, when compared to the fractions of a second it takes to retrieve digital data, is pretty slow going.

    To speed up this process for high-demand files, about 35 petabytes of data from tapes has a copy that lives on disks, which offer much faster, although not instantaneous, file access. Disks don’t have to be physically retrieved and put in a drive by robots, and they can be read nonsequentially, with more efficiency than a tape.

    Eventually disk systems may overtake tape if they become a cheaper data storage option, but disks can be unreliable.

    “Tapes usually don’t fail. You should be able to keep a tape for 30 years and it’ll retain the data. But the problem with disks is, they do fail,” Oleynik said.

    A disk system would have to store redundant pieces of files across many different disks to prevent data loss, but duplicating data means more data to store, also making the system less cost effective.

    In the case of storing particle physics data, disks probably can’t make tapes obsolete; even in a disk system, there will probably be tapes as backup, just in case. Until a cost-effective data storage medium arrives that can match the reliability of tapes, it looks like they’re sticking around.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    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. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:38 am on August 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , FNAL,   

    From U Chicago: “Dark Energy Survey reveals most precise measure of universe’s structure” 

    U Chicago bloc

    University of Chicago

    August 3, 2017

    Dark Energy Survey


    Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL


    NOAO/CTIO Victor M Blanco 4m Telescope which houses the DECam at Cerro Tololo, Chile, housing DECam at an altitude of 7200 feet


    The Dark Energy Survey’s primary instrument, the 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera, is mounted on the Blanco Telescope in Chile. UChicago, Argonne and Fermilab scientists are members of international Dark Energy Survey collaboration.

    Imagine planting a single seed and, with great precision, being able to predict the exact height of the tree that grows from it. Now imagine traveling to the future and snapping photographic proof that you were right.

    If you think of the seed as the early universe, and the tree as the universe the way it looks now, you have an idea of what the international Dark Energy Survey collaboration has just done. Scientists unveiled their most accurate measurement of the present large-scale structure of the universe at a meeting Aug. 3 at the University of Chicago-affiliated Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. UChicago, Argonne and Fermilab scientists are members of international Dark Energy Survey collaboration.

    These measurements of the amount and “clumpiness” (or distribution) of dark matter in the present-day cosmos were made with a precision that, for the first time, rivals that of inferences from the early universe by the European Space Agency’s orbiting Planck observatory. The new Dark Energy Survey result (the tree, in the above metaphor) is close to “forecasts” made from the Planck measurements of the distant past (the seed), allowing scientists to understand more about the ways the universe has evolved over 14 billion years.

    “This result is beyond exciting,” said Fermilab’s Scott Dodelson, a professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UChicago and one of the lead scientists on this result, which was announced at the American Physical Society Division of Particles and Fields meeting. “For the first time, we’re able to see the current structure of the universe with the same clarity that we can see its infancy, and we can follow the threads from one to the other, confirming many predictions along the way.”

    Most notably, this result supports the theory that 26 percent of the universe is in the form of mysterious dark matter and that space is filled with an also-unseen dark energy, which makes up 70 percent and is causing the accelerating expansion of the universe.

    1
    A map of dark matter covering about one-thirtieth of the entire sky and spanning several billion light years—red regions have more dark matter than average, blue regions less dark matter. (Courtesy of Chihway Chang, the DES collaboration)

    Paradoxically, it is easier to measure the large-scale clumpiness of the universe in the distant past than it is to measure it today. In the first 400,000 years following the Big Bang, the universe was filled with a glowing gas, the light from which survives to this day. The Planck observatory’s map of this cosmic microwave background radiation gives us a snapshot of the universe at that very early time. Since then, the gravity of dark matter has pulled mass together and made the universe clumpier over time. But dark energy has been fighting back, pushing matter apart. Using the Planck map as a start, cosmologists can calculate precisely how this battle plays out over 14 billion years.

    “These first major cosmology results are a tribute to the many people who have worked on the project since it began 14 years ago,” said Dark Energy Survey Director Josh Frieman, a scientist at Fermilab and a professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UChicago. “It was an exciting moment when we unveiled the results to ourselves just last month, after carrying out a ‘blind’ analysis to avoid being influenced by our prejudices.”

    The Dark Energy Survey is a collaboration of more than 400 scientists from 26 institutions in seven countries. Its primary instrument is the 570-megapixel Dark Energy Camera, one of the most powerful in existence, which is able to capture digital images of light from galaxies eight billion light years from Earth. The camera was built and tested at Fermilab, the lead laboratory on the Dark Energy Survey, and is mounted on the National Science Foundation’s four-meter Blanco telescope, part of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The DES data are processed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Scientists are using the camera to map an eighth of the sky in unprecedented detail over five years. The fifth year of observation will begin this month. The new results draw only from data collected during the survey’s first year, which covers one-thirtieth of the sky.

    Scientists used two methods to measure dark matter. First, they created maps of galaxy positions as tracers, and second, they precisely measured the shapes of 26 million galaxies to directly map the patterns of dark matter over billions of light years, using a technique called gravitational lensing.

    Gravitational Lensing NASA/ESA

    To make these ultra-precise measurements, the team developed new ways to detect the tiny lensing distortions of galaxy images—an effect not even visible to the eye, enabling revolutionary advances in understanding these cosmic signals. In the process, they created the largest guide to spotting dark matter in the cosmos ever drawn. The new dark matter map is ten times the size of the one that the Dark Energy Survey released in 2015 and will eventually be three times larger than it is now.

    “The Dark Energy Survey has already delivered some remarkable discoveries and measurements, and they have barely scratched the surface of their data,” said Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer. “Today’s world-leading results point forward to the great strides DES will make toward understanding dark energy in the coming years.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    U Chicago Campus

    An intellectual destination

    One of the world’s premier academic and research institutions, the University of Chicago has driven new ways of thinking since our 1890 founding. Today, UChicago is an intellectual destination that draws inspired scholars to our Hyde Park and international campuses, keeping UChicago at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change the world.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:43 am on July 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , FNAL, , , , ,   

    From FNAL: “ICARUS arrives at Fermilab” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

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

    July 31, 2017
    Leah Hesla

    1
    The ICARUS detector pulls in to the Fermilab site on July 26. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    After six weeks’ passage across the ocean, up rivers and on the road, the newest member of Fermilab’s family of neutrino detectors has arrived.

    The 65-foot-long ICARUS particle detector pulled into Fermilab aboard two semi-trucks on July 26 to an excited gathering who welcomed the detector, which has spent the last three years at the European laboratory CERN, to its new home.

    “We’ve waited a long time for ICARUS to get here, so it’s thrilling to finally see this giant, exquisite detector at Fermilab,” said scientist Peter Wilson, who leads the Fermilab Short-Baseline Neutrino Program. “We’re looking forward to getting it online and operational.”

    The ICARUS detector will be instrumental in helping an international team of scientists at the Department of Energy’s Fermilab get a bead on the slippery neutrino, the most ubiquitous yet least understood matter particle in the universe. The neutrino passes through outer space, metal, you and me without leaving a trace. Scientists have observed three types of neutrino. As it travels, it continually slips in and out of its various identities.

    Previous neutrino experiments have seen hints of yet another type, and ICARUS will hunt for evidence of this unconfirmed fourth. If found, the fourth neutrino could provide a new way of modeling dark matter, another of nature’s mysterious phenomena, one that makes up a whopping 23 percent of the universe. (Ordinary matter makes up only 4 percent of the universe.) A fourth neutrino would also change scientists’ fundamental picture of how the universe works.

    Fermilab is ICARUS detector’s second home. From 2010 to 2014, the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics’ Gran Sasso laboratory built and operated ICARUS to study neutrinos using a neutrino beam sent straight through the Earth’s mantle from CERN in Switzerland, about 600 miles away.

    INFN Gran Sasso ICARUS, since moved to FNAL

    Gran Sasso LABORATORI NAZIONALI del GRAN SASSO, located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy

    ICARUS’ lead scientist, Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia, innovated the use of liquid argon to detect neutrinos.

    ICARUS is the largest liquid-argon neutrino detector in the world. Its great mass — it will be filled with 760 tons of liquid argon — gives neutrinos, always reluctant to interact with anything, plenty of opportunities to come into contact with an argon nucleus. The charged particles resulting from the interaction create tracks that scientists can study to learn more about the neutrino that triggered them.

    In 2014, after the ICARUS experiment wrapped up in Italy, its detector was delivered to CERN. Since then, CERN and INFN have been improving the detector, refurbishing it for Fermilab’s mission. CERN completed the project in May and sent ICARUS on its trans-Atlantic voyage in June.

    “This is really exciting — to have the world’s original, large-scale liquid-argon neutrino detector at Fermilab,” said Cat James, senior scientist on Fermilab’s Short-Baseline Neutrino Program.

    Fermilab’s Short-Baseline Neutrino Program involves three neutrino detectors. ICARUS is one, and now that it has safely landed at Fermilab, it will be installed as part of the program. Another detector, MicroBooNE, has been in operation since 2015.

    FNAL/MicrobooNE

    The construction of the third, called the Short-Baseline Near Detector, is in progress.

    FNAL Short-Baseline Near Detector under construction

    All three use liquid argon to detect the elusive neutrino.

    The development and use of liquid-argon technology for the three detectors will be further wielded for Fermilab’s new flagship experiment, the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF, Lead, South Dakota, USA


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford



    SURF building in Lead SD USA

    Fermilab and South Dakota’s Sanford Underground Research Laboratory broke ground on the new experiment on July 21.

    “We’re really looking forward to working with our international partners as we get ICARUS ready for first beam,” James said.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    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. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:33 pm on July 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Angela Fava, , FNAL, , , , , ,   

    From Symmetry: Women in STEM- “Angela Fava: studying neutrinos around the globe” 

    Symmetry Mag

    Symmetry

    07/26/17
    Liz Kruesi

    This experimental physicist has followed the ICARUS neutrino detector from Gran Sasso to Geneva to Chicago.

    1
    Angela Fava

    Physicist Angela Fava has been at the enormous ICARUS detector’s side for over a decade. As an undergraduate student in Italy in 2006, she worked on basic hardware for the neutrino hunting experiment: tightening bolts and screws, connecting and reconnecting cables, learning how the detector worked inside and out.

    ICARUS (short for Imaging Cosmic And Rare Underground Signals) first began operating for research in 2010, studying a beam of neutrinos created at European laboratory CERN and launched straight through the earth hundreds of miles to the detector’s underground home at INFN Gran Sasso National Laboratory.

    INFN Gran Sasso ICARUS, since moved to FNAL

    Gran Sasso LABORATORI NAZIONALI del GRAN SASSO

    In 2014, the detector moved to CERN for refurbishing, and Fava relocated with it. In June ICARUS began a journey across the ocean to the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to take part in a new neutrino experiment. When it arrives today, Fava will be waiting.

    Fava will go through the installation process she helped with as a student, this time as an expert.

    2
    Caraban Gonzalez, Noemi Ordan, Julien Marius, CERN.

    Journey to ICARUS

    As a child growing up between Venice and the Alps, Fava always thought she would pursue a career in math. But during a one-week summer workshop before her final year of high school in 2000, she was drawn to experimental physics.

    At the workshop, she realized she had more in common with physicists. Around the same time, she read about new discoveries related to neutral, rarely interacting particles called neutrinos. Scientists had recently been surprised to find that the extremely light particles actually had mass and that different types of neutrinos could change into one another. And there was still much more to learn about the ghostlike particles.

    At the start of college in 2001, Fava immediately joined the University of Padua neutrino group. For her undergraduate thesis research, she focused on the production of hadrons, making measurements essential to studying the production of neutrinos. In 2004, her research advisor Alberto Guglielmi and his group joined the ICARUS collaboration, and she’s been a part of it ever since.

    Fava jests that the relationship actually started much earlier: “ICARUS was proposed for the first time in 1983, which is the year I was born. So we are linked from birth.”

    Fava remained at the University of Padua in the same research group for her graduate work. During those years, she spent about half of her time at the ICARUS detector, helping bring it to life at Gran Sasso.

    Once all the bolts were tightened and the cables were attached, ICARUS scientists began to pursue their goal of using the detector to study how neutrinos change from one type to another.

    During operation, Fava switched gears to create databases to store and log the data. She wrote code to automate the data acquisition system and triggering, which differentiates between neutrino events and background such as passing cosmic rays. “I was trying to take part in whatever activity was going on just to learn as much as possible,” she says.

    That flexibility is a trait that Claudio Silverio Montanari, the technical director of ICARUS, praises. “She has a very good capability to adapt,” he says. “Our job, as physicists, is putting together the pieces and making the detector work.”

    Changing it up

    Adapting to changing circumstances is a skill both Fava and ICARUS have in common. When scientists proposed giving the detector an update at CERN and then using it in a suite of neutrino experiments at Fermilab, Fava volunteered to come along for the ride.

    Once installed and operating at Fermilab, ICARUS will be used to study neutrinos from a source a few hundred meters away from the detector. In its new iteration, ICARUS will search for sterile neutrinos, a hypothetical kind of neutrino that would interact even more rarely than standard neutrinos. While hints of these low-mass particles have cropped up in some experiments, they have not yet been detected.

    At Fermilab, ICARUS also won’t be buried below more than half a mile of rock, a feature of the INFN setup that shielded it from cosmic radiation from space. That means the triggering system will play an even bigger role in this new experiment, Fava says.

    “We have a great challenge ahead of us.” She’s up to the task.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 1:32 pm on July 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , FNAL, Hidden-sector particles, MiniBooNE, , ,   

    From FNAL: “The MiniBooNE search for dark matter” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

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

    July 18, 2017
    Ranjan Dharmapalan
    Tyler Thornton

    FNAL/MiniBooNE

    1
    This schematic shows the experimental setup for the dark matter search. Protons (blue arrow on the left) generated by the Fermilab accelerator chain strike a thick steel block. This interaction produces secondary particles, some of which are absorbed by the block. Others, including photons and perhaps dark-sector photons, symbolized by V, are unaffected. These dark photons decay into dark matter, shown as χ, and travel to the MiniBooNE detector, depicted as the sphere on the right.

    Particle physicists are in a quandary. On one hand, the Standard Model accurately describes most of the known particles and forces of interaction between them.

    The Standard Model of elementary particles (more schematic depiction), with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.

    On the other, we know that the Standard Model accounts for less than 5 percent of the universe. About 26 percent of the universe is composed of mysterious dark matter, and the remaining 68 percent of even more mysterious dark energy.

    Some theorists speculate that dark matter particles could belong to a “hidden sector” and that there may be portals to this hidden sector from the Standard Model. The portals allow hidden-sector particles to trickle into Standard Model interactions. A large sensitive particle detector, placed in an intense particle beam and equipped with a mechanism to suppress the Standard Model interactions, could unveil these new particles.

    Fermilab is home to a number of proton beams and large, extremely sensitive detectors, initially built to detect neutrinos. These devices, such as the MiniBooNE detector, are ideal places to search for hidden-sector particles.

    In 2012, the MiniBooNE-DM collaboration teamed up with theorists who proposed new ways to search for dark matter particles. One of these proposals [FNAL PAC Oct 15 2012] involved the reconfiguration of the existing neutrino experiment. This was a pioneering effort that involved close coordination between the experimentalists, accelerator scientists, beam alignment experts and numerous technicians.

    2
    Results of this MiniBooNE-DM search for dark matter scattering off of nucleons. The plot shows the confidence limits and sensitivities with 1, 2σ errors resulting from this analysis compared to other experimental results, as a function of Y (a parameter describing the dark photon mass, dark matter mass and the couplings to the Standard Model) and Mχ (the dark matter mass). For details see the Physical Review Letters paper.

    For the neutrino experiment, the 8-GeV proton beam from the Fermilab Booster hit a beryllium target to produce a secondary beam of charged particles that decayed further downstream, in a decay pipe, into neutrinos. MiniBooNE ran in this mode for about a decade to measure neutrino oscillations and interactions.

    In the dark matter search mode, however, the proton beam was steered past the beryllium target. The beam instead struck a thick steel block at the end of the decay pipe. The resulting charged secondary particles (mostly particles called pions) are absorbed in the steel block, reducing the number of subsequent neutrinos, while the neutral secondary particles remained unaffected. The photons resulting from the decay of neutral pions may have transformed into hidden-sector photons that in turn might have decayed into dark matter, which would travel to the MiniBooNE detector 450 meters away. The experiment ran in this mode for nine months for a dedicated dark matter search.

    Using the previous 10 years’ worth of data as a baseline, MiniBooNE-DM looked for scattered protons and neutrons in the detector. If they found more scattered protons or neutrons than predicted, the excess could indicate a new particle, maybe dark matter, being produced in the steel block. Scientists analyzed multiple types of neutrino interactions at the same time, reducing the error on the signal data set by more than half.

    Analysts concluded that the data was consistent with the Standard Model prediction, enabling the experimenters to set a limit on a specific model of dark matter, called vector portal dark matter. To set the limit, scientists developed a detailed simulation that estimated the predicted proton or neutron response in the detector from scattered dark matter particles. The new limit extends from the low-mass edge of direct-detection experiments down to masses about 1,000 times smaller. Additionally, the result rules out this particular model as a description of the anomalous behavior of the muon seen in the Muon g-2 experiment at Brookhaven, which was one of the goals of the MiniBooNE-DM proposal. Incidentally, researchers at Fermilab will make a more precise measurement of the muon — and verify the Brookhaven result — in an experiment that started up this year.

    This result from MiniBooNE, a dedicated proton beam dump search for dark matter, was published in Physical Review Letters and was highlighted as an “Editor’s suggestion.”

    What’s next? The experiment will continue to analyze the collected data set. It is possible that the dark matter or hidden-sector particles may prefer to scatter off of the lepton family of particles, which includes electrons, rather than off of quarks, which are the constituent of protons and neutrons. Different interaction channels probe different possibilities.

    If the portals to the hidden sector are narrow — that is, if they are weakly coupled — researchers will need to collect more data or implement new ideas to suppress the Standard Model interactions.

    The first results from MiniBooNE-DM show that Fermilab could be at the forefront of searching for hidden-sector particles. Upcoming experiments in Fermilab’s Short-Baseline Neutrino program will use higher-resolution detectors — specifically, liquid-argon time projection chamber technology — expanding the search regions and possibly leading to discovery.

    Ranjan Dharmapalan is a postdoc at Argonne National Laboratory. Tyler Thornton is a graduate student at Indiana University Bloomington.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    FNAL Icon
    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. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

     
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