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  • richardmitnick 1:54 pm on May 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , INFN Gran Sasso, LEGEND-200 experiment, ,   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “MAJORANA preps copper for use in LEGEND-200” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    May 6, 2019
    Erin Broberg

    A cut is made across a cylinder of copper by machinist Randy Hughes. Matthew Kapust

    For three years, the Majorana collaboration has sought to demonstrate it can shield a sensitive, scalable, 44-kilogram germanium detector array from background radioactivity.

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    In the Apennine Mountains of Italy at Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS), researchers employed a slightly different design for GERDA (GERmanium Detector Array). Together, these two experiments achieved the lowest backgrounds of any neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment in the world. Now, the two are teaming up to scale up.

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

    MPG GERmanium Detector Array (GERDA) at Gran Sasso, Italy

    “The best things from GERDA and the best things from Majorana are now coming together for LEGEND-200,” said Cabot-Ann Christofferson, task leader of electroforming for LEGEND-200. LEGEND-200 (Large Enriched Germanium Experiment for Neutrinoless ββ Decay) will scale up the rare event search by using 200 kilograms of enriched germanium crystals and will be housed at LNGS at Gran Sasso.

    LEGEND Collaboration

    The best of Majorana includes detector resolution and ultra-pure copper shielding that surrounds the detectors, while GERDA demonstrated the benefit of an active shield—a tank of liquid argon—surrounding the detector.

    To prepare for the next phase in the search for this rare form of radioactive decay, Majorana brought back machinist Randy Hughes to prepare 110 pounds of ultra-pure electroformed copper. The copper, electroformed for the Majorana Demonstrator, is being cut in half and flattened to ½ inch-thick plates. Soon, it will be packed in a shielded container, trucked to Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) in Tennessee and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean. When it finally arrives in Europe, the copper will be machined into hundreds of parts for LEGEND-200.

    Christofferson said the shipment of electroformed copper is just one of Majorana’s contributions to the next-generation design and construction. Although GERDA will be decommissioned to make space at LNGS for the installation of LEGEND-200, Majorana will be used to test detectors built for the next-generation.

    “Majorana has proven itself fantastic for characterizing detectors,” said Christofferson. “When detectors are created for LEGEND-200, they will be placed in the Majorana experiment to be validated. This helps us figure out how they respond while LEGEND-200 is still being built, which is time well-spent before they go into the final experiment.”

    In addition to copper shielding and testing detectors,Majorana will also be contributing enriched germanium to LEGEND-200.

    “Of the forty-nine detectors in Majorana, some are enriched, and some are natural germanium,” said Christofferson. “The enriched detectors will leave Sanford Lab and eventually be placed in LEGEND-200.”

    John Wilkerson of ORNL and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said, “The LEGEND-200 experiment is moving forward at a very quick pace. Modifications of the GERDA infrastructure at LNGS to accommodate the LEGEND-200 detector array are scheduled to start toward the end of 2019. U.S. and European groups are working collaboratively on the front-end electronics, the fiber system for reading out the liquid argon scintillation light and on the data acquisitions systems. Enriched germanium-76 detectors are being fabricated at two different vendors, and we will start characterization tests at Sanford Lab this summer.”

    The collaboration expects the experiment to begin taking measurements in 2021.

    LNGS- Schematic showing the timing system used to measure neutrino arrival times at the OPERA detector

    See the full article here .

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    About us.
    The Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, advances our understanding of the universe by providing laboratory space deep underground, where sensitive physics experiments can be shielded from cosmic radiation. Researchers at the Sanford Lab explore some of the most challenging questions facing 21st century physics, such as the origin of matter, the nature of dark matter and the properties of neutrinos. The facility also hosts experiments in other disciplines—including geology, biology and engineering.

    The Sanford Lab is located at the former Homestake gold mine, which was a physics landmark long before being converted into a dedicated science facility. Nuclear chemist Ray Davis earned a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for a solar neutrino experiment he installed 4,850 feet underground in the mine.

    Homestake closed in 2003, but the company donated the property to South Dakota in 2006 for use as an underground laboratory. That same year, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $70 million to the project. The South Dakota Legislature also created the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to operate the lab. The state Legislature has committed more than $40 million in state funds to the project, and South Dakota also obtained a $10 million Community Development Block Grant to help rehabilitate the facility.

    In 2007, after the National Science Foundation named Homestake as the preferred site for a proposed national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) began reopening the former gold mine.

    In December 2010, the National Science Board decided not to fund further design of DUSEL. However, in 2011 the Department of Energy, through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agreed to support ongoing science operations at Sanford Lab, while investigating how to use the underground research facility for other longer-term experiments. The SDSTA, which owns Sanford Lab, continues to operate the facility under that agreement with Berkeley Lab.

    The first two major physics experiments at the Sanford Lab are 4,850 feet underground in an area called the Davis Campus, named for the late Ray Davis. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is housed in the same cavern excavated for Ray Davis’s experiment in the 1960s.

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA, will replace LUX at SURF

    In October 2013, after an initial run of 80 days, LUX was determined to be the most sensitive detector yet to search for dark matter—a mysterious, yet-to-be-detected substance thought to be the most prevalent matter in the universe. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment, also on the 4850 Level, is searching for a rare phenomenon called “neutrinoless double-beta decay” that could reveal whether subatomic particles called neutrinos can be their own antiparticle. Detection of neutrinoless double-beta decay could help determine why matter prevailed over antimatter. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment is adjacent to the original Davis cavern.

    LUX’s mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

    In the midst of the excitement over first results, the LUX collaboration was already casting its gaze forward. Planning for a next-generation dark matter experiment at Sanford Lab was already under way. Named LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), the next-generation experiment would increase the sensitivity of LUX 100 times.

    SLAC physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.
    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”
    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

    Another major experiment, the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE)—a collaboration with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and Sanford Lab, is in the preliminary design stages. The project got a major boost last year when Congress approved and the president signed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund LBNE operations through FY 2014. Called the “next frontier of particle physics,” LBNE will follow neutrinos as they travel 800 miles through the earth, from FermiLab in Batavia, Ill., to Sanford Lab.

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


    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR will contain 40 kg of germanium; up to 30 kg will be enriched to 86% in 76Ge. The DEMONSTRATOR will be deployed deep underground in an ultra-low-background shielded environment in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, SD. The goal of the DEMONSTRATOR is to determine whether a future 1-tonne experiment can achieve a background goal of one count per tonne-year in a 4-keV region of interest around the 76Ge 0νββ Q-value at 2039 keV. MAJORANA plans to collaborate with GERDA for a future tonne-scale 76Ge 0νββ search.

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA


    CASPAR is a low-energy particle accelerator that allows researchers to study processes that take place inside collapsing stars.

    The scientists are using space in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, South Dakota, to work on a project called the Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). CASPAR uses a low-energy particle accelerator that will allow researchers to mimic nuclear fusion reactions in stars. If successful, their findings could help complete our picture of how the elements in our universe are built. “Nuclear astrophysics is about what goes on inside the star, not outside of it,” said Dan Robertson, a Notre Dame assistant research professor of astrophysics working on CASPAR. “It is not observational, but experimental. The idea is to reproduce the stellar environment, to reproduce the reactions within a star.”

  • richardmitnick 2:01 pm on August 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Hunt for the sterile neutrino, , INFN Gran Sasso, , , , , , Short-Baseline Neutrino experiments   

    From Fermi National Accelerator Lab: “ICARUS neutrino detector installed in new Fermilab home” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    From Fermi National Accelerator Lab , an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    August 16, 2018
    Leah Hesla

    For four years, three laboratories on two continents have prepared the ICARUS particle detector to capture the interactions of mysterious particles called neutrinos at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

    On Tuesday, Aug. 14, ICARUS moved into its new Fermilab home, a recently completed building that houses the large, 20-meter-long neutrino hunter. Filled with 760 tons of liquid argon, it is one of the largest detectors of its kind in the world.

    With this move, ICARUS now sits in the path of Fermilab’s neutrino beam, a milestone that brings the detector one step closer to taking data.

    It’s also the final step in an international scientific handoff. From 2010 to 2014, ICARUS operated at the Italian Gran Sasso National Laboratory, run by the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics. Then the detector was sent to the European laboratory CERN, where it was refurbished for its future life at Fermilab, outside Chicago. In July 2017, ICARUS completed its trans-Atlantic trip to the American laboratory.

    The second of two ICARUS detector modules is lowered into its place in the detector hall. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    “In the first part of its life, ICARUS was an exquisite instrument for the Gran Sasso program, and now CERN has improved it, bringing it in line with the latest technology,” said CERN scientist and Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia, who led the experiment when it was at Gran Sasso and currently leads the ICARUS collaboration. “I eagerly anticipate the results that come out of ICARUS in the Fermilab phase of its life.”

    Since 2017, Fermilab, working with its international partners, has been instrumenting the ICARUS building, getting it ready for the detector’s final, short move.

    “Having ICARUS settled in is incredibly gratifying. We’ve been anticipating this moment for four years,” said scientist Steve Brice, who heads the Fermilab Neutrino Division. “We’re grateful to all our colleagues in Italy and at CERN for building and preparing this sophisticated neutrino detector.”

    Neutrinos are famously fleeting. They rarely interact with matter: Trillions of the subatomic particles pass through us every second without a trace. To catch them in the act of interacting, scientists build detectors of considerable size. The more massive the detector, the greater the chance that a neutrino stops inside it, enabling scientists to study the elusive particles.

    ICARUS’s 760 tons of liquid argon give neutrinos plenty of opportunity to interact. The interaction of a neutrino with an argon atom produces fast-moving charged particles. The charged particles liberate atomic electrons from the argon atoms as they pass by, and these tracks of electrons are drawn to planes of charged wires inside the detector. Scientists study the tracks to learn about the neutrino that kicked everything off.

    Rubbia himself spearheaded the effort to make use of liquid argon as a detection material more than 25 years ago, and that same technology is being developed for the future Fermilab neutrino physics program.

    “This is an exciting moment for ICARUS,” said scientist Claudio Montanari of INFN Pavia, who is the technical coordinator for ICARUS. “We’ve been working for months choreographing and carrying out all the steps involved in refurbishing and installing it. This move is like the curtain coming down after the entr’acte. Now we’ll get to see the next act.”

    ICARUS is one part of the Fermilab-hosted Short-Baseline Neutrino program, whose aim is to search for a hypothesized but never conclusively observed type of neutrino, known as a sterile neutrino. Scientists know of three neutrino types. The discovery of a fourth could reveal new physics about the evolution of the universe. It could also open an avenue for modeling dark matter, which constitutes 23 percent of the universe’s mass.

    ICARUS is the second of three Short-Baseline Neutrino detectors to be installed. The first, called MicroBooNE, began operating in 2015 and is currently taking data. The third, called the Short-Baseline Near Detector, is under construction. All use liquid argon.


    FNAL Short-Baseline Near Detector

    Fermilab’s powerful particle accelerators provide a plentiful supply of neutrinos and will send an intense beam of the particle through the three detectors — first SBND, then MicroBooNE, then ICARUS. Scientists will study the differences in data collected by the trio to get a precise handle on the neutrino’s behavior.

    “So many mysteries are locked up inside neutrinos,” said Fermilab scientist Peter Wilson, Short-Baseline Neutrino coordinator. “It’s thrilling to think that we might solve even one of them, because it would help fill in our frustratingly incomplete picture of how the universe evolved into what we see today.”

    Members of the crew that moved ICARUS stand by the detector. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    The three Short-Baseline Neutrino experiments are just one part of Fermilab’s vibrant suite of experiments to study the subtle neutrino.

    NOvA, Fermilab’s largest operating neutrino experiment, studies a behavior called neutrino oscillation.

    FNAL/NOvA experiment map

    FNAL NOvA detector in northern Minnesota

    FNAL Near Detector

    The three neutrino types change character, morphing in and out of their types as they travel. NOvA researchers use two giant detectors spaced 500 miles apart — one at Fermilab and another in Ash River, Minnesota — to study this behavior.

    Another Fermilab experiment, called MINERvA, studies how neutrinos interact with nuclei of different elements, enabling other neutrino researchers to better interpret what they see in their detectors.

    Scientists at Fermilab use the MINERvA to make measurements of neutrino interactions that can support the work of other neutrino experiments. Photo Reidar Hahn


    “Fermilab is the best place in the world to do neutrino research,” Wilson said. “The lab’s particle accelerators generate beams that are chock full of neutrinos, giving us that many more chances to study them in fine detail.”

    The construction and operation of the three Short-Baseline Neutrino experiments are valuable not just for fundamental research, but also for the development of the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) and the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF), both hosted by Fermilab.

    DUNE will be the largest neutrino oscillation experiment ever built, sending particles 800 miles from Fermilab to Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota. The detector in South Dakota, known as the DUNE far detector, is mammoth: Made of four modules — each as tall and wide as a four-story building and almost as long as a football field — it will be filled with 70,000 tons of liquid argon, about 100 times more than ICARUS.

    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

    The knowledge and expertise scientists and engineers gain from running the Short-Baseline Neutrino experiments, including ICARUS, will inform the installation and operation of LBNF/DUNE, which is expected to start up in the mid-2020s.

    “We’re developing some of the most advanced particle detection technology ever built for LBNF/DUNE,” Brice said. “In preparing for that effort, there’s no substitute for running an experiment that uses similar technology. ICARUS fills that need perfectly.”

    Eighty researchers from five countries collaborate on ICARUS. The collaboration will spend the next year instrumenting and commissioning the detector. They plan to begin taking data in 2019.

    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. 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.



    FNAL Muon g-2 studio

    FNAL Short-Baseline Near Detector under construction

    FNAL Mu2e solenoid

    Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL

    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF


    FNAL Don Lincoln


    FNAL Cryomodule Testing Facility

    FNAL Minos Far Detector

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

    FNAL/NOvA experiment map

    FNAL NOvA Near Detector


    FNAL Holometer

  • richardmitnick 8:18 am on October 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , INFN Gran Sasso, , ,   

    From ALICE: Women in STEM – “Focus on Ester Casula” 

    CERN New Masthead

    18 September 2017 [Just found in social media.]

    Ester Casula

    Ester Anna Rita Casula is a postdoctoral researcher at the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) of Cagliari – her hometown.


    NAZIONALI del GRAN SASSO, located in L’Aquila, Italy

    She has been ALICE Run Manager for two weeks between June and August of this year.

    During her second week of shift, I meet Ester at point 2, where she spends most of her time monitoring the data taking and making sure everything runs smoothly.

    Sitting with me in the kitchen next to the control room, she talks smiling and laughing. I can see that she has a very extroverted personality. Besides telling me about her work, she unveils an uncommon passion of hers…

    What’s you background and your career path up to now?

    I have studied Physics at the University of Cagliari, in Italy, and I have been a member of the ALICE collaboration since when I was working on my Bachelor’s Degree thesis. At that time, we didn’t have data yet, so I used Monte Carlo simulations. Then, for my Master’s Degree thesis and during my PhD I focused on the analysis of low masses in the di-muon channel – thus, mainly the F – in pp, Pb-Pb and p-Pb collisions at all of the energies we have taken data with. I started with the data from pp collisions at 7 TeV – for my Master’s thesis – and then continued with the other energies and with p-Pb and Pb-Pb data (in detail: pp at 2.76 and 5 TeV, p-Pb at 5 TeV, Pb-Pb at 2.76 and 5 TeV).

    After completing my PhD in 2014, I started a first postdoc with the University of Cagliari and now I am concluding a second postdoc with the INFN in the same town.

    I am based in Cagliari, but in the last months I have spent most of my time at CERN and, in particular, in the control room, since I have also followed some runs as a shift leader.

    How do you like being the run manager?

    It is an interesting experience: every day you might have to face a different problem. For example, during my shift once we were called by the LHC control room to be informed that ALICE was causing the dump of the beam. Of course, we had to solve the issue very quickly. It happened in the dead of the night and I was at home. As soon as I received the call by the shift leader I got up and went to the control room. Luckily I am staying nearby, in Saint-Genis.

    In situations like this you have to react quickly, try to understand the issue as fast as you can and take decisions. In this specific case, the problem was caused by the threshold of the Beam Control Monitors (BCM), which are basically protection devices. We called the expert on call for the BCM, who checked the situation and fixed this issue. Even though the problem seemed to be solved, I kept staying in the control room until 5 am, because I was worried that something else could happen.

    What do you like the most of this role?

    Certainly this, the fact that you need to keep under control and solve different kinds of issues. In addition, you have to give instructions and take decisions: this is quite challenging, if you are not used to it. Actually, you start training in taking responsibilities already when you are the shift leader. When you become run manager, you go a little step forward. I spend a lot of time in the control room and, when I am at home, I check continuously the electronic log to know how the run is proceeding. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do – even before standing up – is checking online the status of the accelerator, to know if it is working, and of the experiment.

    It sounds a bit stressing…

    Well, it can be stressing sometimes, indeed. In particular because you have to be ready and react quickly; but, actually, I am finding it easier this week, since it is my second time as run manager.

    You can count on the run coordinator anyway, right?

    Sure. But we call her only if something very important happens. For normal issues, such as a shift leader having some doubts about the operations to perform, the run manager takes on the responsibility. Certainly, it is important to know what the most common issues are. That is why, before starting my first shift, I overlapped with the previous run manager for some days.

    What’s your main field of interest?

    I work on the analysis of the F in Pb-Pb collisions. An article on this topic based on data at 2.75 TeV is in preparation and now we are analyzing data from collisions at 5 TeV. I am quite specialized on this topic.

    Would you like to change topic to do something different?

    Yes, why not?

    Actually, when I was doing my first steps in the analysis, I made some study on the U, but it was based on simulations only, so it was more of an exercise than a real analysis.

    Anyway, I will see. I will have to evaluate the opportunities.

    What are your plans for the future?

    My postdoctoral contract at INFN will get to an end soon, so I will have to look for another job. I would prefer to keep staying in Cagliari, but I am also taking into consideration the possibility to make an experience in another country.

    Where? Or where absolutely not?

    Well, preferably in Europe, but not necessarily. Certainly I would avoid cold places… [She laughs].

    Would you like to teach?

    I don’t know. I have been a tutor for two courses at the University, which means that I helped the professor with the laboratory lessons. It was an interesting experience, but I am not particularly attracted to teaching, mainly because it takes a lot of time to prepare classes and find the right way to explain complex topics.

    Thus, I guess you would prefer to work for a Laboratory, as you are doing at INFN?

    Ideally yes, I would prefer to focus only on research.

    Nevertheless, I don’t exclude the academic career either. I think that I can enjoy part of the process of training students, even though I think it can be hard and tiring.

    What are your interests outside work?

    Well, my main hobby is breeding dogs. I raise them and make them compete in dog shows, which are dog beauty contests. [She laughs.]

    How many dogs do you have?

    I have three at my place, in Cagliari. Three more are looked after by some friends of mine but I make them participate in competitions as well.

    I get a litter of puppies once every three years and I keep some of them. They are all Italian Greyhounds with pedigree. I own the mother and select a father when I decide to have new puppies. [She laughs again.]

    What moves you to do this?

    I love them. I have even created the world online database of the Italian hounds, which didn’t exist before. I started it by myself, then I got some help from other three breeders in US and France. We have registered about 60,000 dogs. Unfortunately, we could go backward only till the end of the 19th century. Lately, the national dog clubs are putting information online, but in order to collect old data I had to rely on the original documentation. So, I went personally to the headquarters of the Italian National Dog Institution (ENCI) in Milan and photocopied all the certificates they have, from 1912 up to now.

    This is cool, but why did you do it?

    See the full article here .

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

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

    Symmetry Mag


    Liz Kruesi

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

    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


    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.

    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 .

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.

  • richardmitnick 3:05 pm on May 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , INFN Gran Sasso,   

    From FNAL: “ICARUS and the three labs” 

    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.

    May 25, 2017
    No writer credit found.

    Technicians assemble for ICARUS the warm vessel steel structure that will host two detection chambers. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    No fewer than three particle physics laboratories lay claim to some aspect of the detector, called ICARUS, that will soon become the newest member of Fermilab’s neutrino family. The Italian INFN Gran Sasso National Laboratory took data using the 760-ton, 65-foot-long detector for its ICARUS experiment from 2010 to 2014. The European laboratory CERN sent beam to the detector when it was at Gran Sasso. And Fermilab is soon to inherit the detector for its Short-Baseline Neutrino Program. Fermilab is currently awaiting the detector’s arrival from CERN, where staff have been refurbishing it for use in the SBN Program.

    Thanks to the CERN, Fermilab and INFN crew for paving the way for ICARUS. First row, from left: John Anderson III, Justin Briney, Ben Ogert, Daniel Vrbos (all Fermilab), Marco Guerzoni (INFN), David Augustine (Fermilab), Vincent Togo (INFN), Timothy Griffin, Thomas Olszanowski, Michael Cooper (all Fermilab). Second row, from left: John Voirin (Fermilab), Francois-Andre Garnier, Anatoly Popov, Filippo Resnati, Frederic Merlet (all CERN), Jason Kubinski, Bob Kubinski (both Fermilab). Third row, from left: Pierre-Ange Giudici (CERN), Michael Jeeninga, Mark Shoun (both Fermilab). Not pictured: Joseph Harris, Kelly Hardin, Bryan Johnson and Craig Rogers, all of Fermilab. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    So it is fitting that technicians, led by Frederic Merlet of CERN, from the two European laboratories recently converged at Fermilab to work with the U.S. ICARUS team, led by Fermilab’s David Augustine.

    During the visit, which took place from May 1-21, the technicians assembled the steel structure that will host the detector’s two 300-ton time projection chambers.

    “They accomplished this amazing task with absolutely superb work ethic and cooperation,” said Fermilab physicist Fernanda G. Garcia, who is the project installation and integration manager. “The installation went smoothly thanks in great part to Dave and Frederic’s leadership skills.”

    It was not only just technicians, but also machinists, quality and safety personnel, business administrators, and transportation coordinators who came together to prepare the detector’s future home.

    The contributions of our trans-Atlantic partners at CERN and INFN demonstrate once more that the science of particle physics is a global pursuit.

    INFN Gran Sasso ICARUS, since to move to FNAL

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


    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. 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 11:40 am on November 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , INFN Gran Sasso, ,   

    From physicsworld.com: “Gran Sasso steps up the hunt for missing particles” 


    Nov 11, 2015
    Edwin Cartlidge


    Physicists working at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in central Italy, located 1400 m under the mountain of the same name, are soon to start taking data from two new experiments.

    INFN Gran Sasso ICARUS
    Gran Sasso

    Each facility will target a different kind of missing matter: one will search for dark matter while the other will try and detect absent neutrinos to prove that neutrinos are their own antiparticle.

    Dark flash

    The hunt for dark matter – the mysterious substance believed to make up about 80% of all matter in the universe but not yet detected directly – will be carried out using XENON1T. This experiment, which was inaugurated at an event at Gran Sasso today, consists of 3.5 tonnes of liquid xenon. It is designed to measure very faint flashes of light that are given off whenever particles from the dark matter halo of the Milky Way collide with the xenon nuclei. The xenon will be stored at a temperature of about –100 °C in a cryostat and surrounded by a tank containing some 700 tonnes of purified water to minimize background radioactivity.

    Run by an international collaboration of 120 students and scientists from more than 2 institutions, XENON1T is expected to be about 100 times more sensitive than its 160 kg predecessor experiment and around 40 times better than the world’s current leading dark-matter detector – the 370 kg Large Underground Xenon experiment in South Dakota, US.

    LUX Dark matter

    Due to start taking data by the end of March next year, XENON1T will either detect dark matter or place severe constraints on the properties of theoretically-favoured weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), says collaboration spokesperson Elena Aprile of Columbia University in New York.

    Dark heart

    The other new experiment at Gran Sasso is the Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events (CUORE), which will look for an extremely rare nuclear process known as neutrinoless double beta decay.

    CUORE experiment

    That decay, if it exists, would involve two neutrons in certain nuclei decaying simultaneously into two protons while emitting two electrons but no antineutrinos (unlike normal beta decay), implying that the neutrino is its own antiparticle. Due to turn on early next year, CUORE will measure the energy spectrum of electrons emitted by 741 kg of tellurium dioxide surrounded by radioactively inert lead blocks recovered from a Roman ship that sank 2000 years ago.

    Meanwhile, towards the end of 2016 another group of scientists at Gran Sasso should take delivery of about a kilogram of cerium oxide powder, which they will place several metres below the Borexino neutrino detector.

    Borexino Solar Neutrino detector

    The Short Distance Neutrino Oscillations with BoreXino (SOX) experiment will look for a sinusoidal-like variation in the number of interactions generated within the detector by neutrinos from the radioactive cerium. SOX leader Marco Pallavicini of the University of Genoa says that such a variation would be a sure sign of “sterile” neutrinos – hypothetical particles outside the Standard Model of particle physics that would “oscillate” into ordinary neutrinos but would not interact with any other kind of matter.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 1:29 pm on December 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , INFN Gran Sasso, ,   

    From Symmetry: “ICARUS hits the road” 


    December 11, 2014
    Kathryn Jepsen

    A giant neutrino detector is traveling by truck from the Italian Gran Sasso laboratories to CERN to get ready for a new life.

    On Tuesday night a 600-metric-tonne particle detector became the world’s largest neutrino experiment currently on an international road trip.

    The ICARUS T600 neutrino detector—the world’s largest liquid-argon neutrino experiment—is on its way from the INFN Gran Sasso laboratories in Italy to European research center CERN on the border of France and Switzerland. Once it arrives at CERN, it will undergo upgrades to prepare it for a second life.

    INFN Gran Sasso ICARUS
    INFN Gran Sasso ICARUS T600
    INFN Gran Sasso ICARUS T600

    “ICARUS is presently the state-of-the-art technology,” says Nobel Laureate Carlo Rubbia, the leader of the ICARUS experiment. “Its success has demonstrated the enormous potentials of this detector technique… Most of the ICARUS developments have become part of the liquid-argon technology that is now being used is most of the other, more recent projects.”

    Since 2010, the ICARUS experiment has studied neutrinos streaming about 450 miles straight through the Earth from CERN to Gran Sasso. Neutrinos come in three types, called flavors, and they switch flavors as they travel. The ICARUS experiment was set up to study those flavor oscillations. Its detector, which works like a huge, three-dimensional camera that visualizes subatomic events, has recorded several thousand neutrino interactions.

    Scientists see more experiments in the detector’s future, possibly using a powerful beam of neutrinos already in operation at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago.

    The detector is 6 meters wide, 18 meters long and 4 meters high. When in operation, it is filled with ultra-pure liquid argon and about 52,000 wires, which collect signals from particles and can reconstruct 3-D images of a what happens when a neutrino knocks an electron off of an atom of argon.

    To prepare the sensitive detector for transport, workers moved its inner chamber on sleds into a shipping container, says Chiara Zarra, the ICARUS movement and transportation coordinator. But getting the experiment out of its home was a challenge, she says. The laboratory layout had changed since ICARUS was first installed, and there were multiple other experiments to maneuver through. A team from CERN helped with planning by creating 3-D simulations of the operation.

    Over the course of about a week, the detector will travel on a special equipment transporter through Rome, Genoa and Turin. After that it will cross the Alps through the Mont Blanc tunnel on its way to Geneva.
    Courtesy of: INFN

    See the full article here.

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.

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