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  • richardmitnick 5:08 pm on September 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: and Quantum Research Technologies, , , , Highly Coherent Structures for Next-Generation Quantum Systems, LBNL Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, New funding from DOE’s Office of Science broadens Berkeley Lab’s quantum information science capabilities,   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “Berkeley Lab to Push Quantum Information Frontiers With New Programs in Computing, Physics, Materials, and Chemistry” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    Dan Krotz
    dakrotz@lbl.gov
    (510) 486-4019

    New funding from DOE’s Office of Science broadens Berkeley Lab’s quantum information science capabilities.

    1
    A new FPGA (field programmable gate array) module developed by Gang Huang, a research scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Accelerator Technologies and Applied Physics Division, and Larry Doolittle, a staff engineer in Berkeley Lab’s Engineering Division, for scalable control of superconducting qubits. (Credit: Peter DaSilva/Berkeley Lab)

    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) this week announced support from the Department of Energy that significantly expands the Lab’s research efforts in quantum information science, an area of research that harnesses the phenomenon of quantum coherence, in which two or more particles are so tightly entangled that a change to one simultaneously affects the other. Quantum information science seeks to utilize this phenomenon to hold, transmit, and process information.

    A series of DOE Office of Science awards, announced today, will enable Berkeley Lab to accelerate the development of quantum computing, which holds the promise of solving science problems that are far beyond the reach of today’s computers. The awards also further Berkeley Lab’s ability to optimize fabrication techniques for qubits (the fundamental units of quantum computing and sensing), improve quantum coherence in next-generation materials, create quantum-based sensors for discoveries in physics, and develop quantum computing algorithms for chemistry research.

    The awards are the result of a long-standing commitment to quantum information science at Berkeley Lab, where the research area is a strategic initiative and strongly supported by Laboratory Directed Research and Development investment. In addition, Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have brought together researchers from several scientific disciplines to form Berkeley Quantum, a partnership that harnesses the expertise and facilities of both institutions to advance U.S. quantum information capabilities.

    New Capabilities for Quantum Information Science at the Molecular Foundry

    1
    A nanofabrication clean room at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry. (Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

    The Molecular Foundry, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, received two awards from the Office of Basic Energy Sciences to develop research infrastructure to advance quantum information science.

    In one project, Molecular Foundry scientists will create a “nanofabrication cluster toolset,” or an integrated suite of high-fidelity instruments that will allow users to investigate the fundamental limits of state-of-the-art quantum systems. The toolset will include a robotic fabrication system, a high-resolution electron beam writing system, and a low-temperature transport measurement system. Molecular Foundry users can purpose these tools to develop precision fabrication approaches that minimize sources of unwanted electrical, magnetic, and thermal “noise” in qubit circuits.

    The second project will develop and integrate a unique suite of electron beam-based metrology techniques. The project combines spin-polarized low-energy electron microscopy (SPLEEM) with electron decoherence interferometry and cryogenic sample environments (down to temperatures of about 4 Kelvin). These tools will open powerful new research opportunities for Molecular Foundry users to explore electronic structures and spin textures in quantum materials, and solid-state structures relevant for quantum information science.

    Highly Coherent Structures for Next-Generation Quantum Systems

    An effort funded by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences will tackle unanswered questions associated with quantum coherence in thin-film materials. Increasing coherence lifetimes by up to 10 times in superconducting structures is critical to developing next-generation quantum systems, such as more advanced qubits, and would enable tests of quantum applications in computation and communication. Scientists in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division will produce and validate the performance of functionalized quantum materials capable of supporting coherent phenomena approaching the millisecond timescale. The project is led by Irfan Siddiqi, who is also director of the Center for Quantum Coherent Science at UC Berkeley.

    As part of the project, scientists will explore new ways to control decoherence in 3D structures for high-density information processing. Advanced imaging, spectroscopy, and noise-sensing techniques will permit characterization of structural disorder and dynamic fluctuations in metallic and dielectric layers, particularly at interfaces in quantum systems. The studies will be combined with new theoretical and computational tools to probe large-scale entanglement in quantum systems.

    Particle Physics, Computation, and Quantum Research Technologies

    HEP will also support several other Berkeley Lab-involved research projects involving quantum information science. One effort will develop quantum algorithms and simulations for properties like information scrambling and error correction that are relevant to black hole theories, and to quantum computing involving highly connected arrays of superconducting qubits. UC Berkeley is heading up this research program, and Irfan Siddiqi is leading Berkeley Lab’s involvement.

    Another effort will develop computer programs that test the interactions between fundamental particles in extreme detail, which could lead to a better way to understand particle events measured at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle collider.

    A third effort will develop and study the potential of quantum-based algorithms for pattern recognition to reconstruct charged particles. Increasingly powerful particle accelerators require vastly faster computer algorithms to monitor and sort through billions of particle events per second.

    And an effort led by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will seek to image pairs of photons that exist in a state of quantum entanglement. This is the next step of a Berkeley Lab and Fermilab collaboration on the development of a detector for astrophysics experiments that can detect an individual unit of light. This Skipper-CCD detector was successfully demonstrated in the summer of 2017.

    Siddiqi is also leading a separate research program, Field Programmable Gate Array-Based Quantum Control for High-Energy Physics Simulations With Qutrits, that will develop specialized tools and logic families for high-energy-physics-focused quantum computing. This effort involves Berkeley Lab’s Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division.

    Go here to read a more detailed news release on all of Berkeley Lab’s new QIS-related HEP projects.

    Quantum Computing Algorithms for Chemistry

    Another project will combine the power of conventional computing and quantum hardware to tackle complex chemistry topics such as catalysis, photocatalysis, actinide chemistry, and related fields. Bert de Jong, a scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division, is a co-principal investigator on the project, which is led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and funded by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

    The project will embed quantum hardware in a conventional computational chemistry framework. Through this effort, algorithms that will benefit from quantum hardware can be deployed on quantum coprocessors while the bulk of the program logic remains on conventional computer architecture. Quantum processors have a hardware advantage over conventional processors in simulating strongly interacting quantum systems, and have the potential to more accurately capture complex chemical transformations.

    In addition, Quantum Algorithms for Chemical Sciences, which is led by de Jong, will continue to develop novel algorithms, compiling techniques, and scheduling tools that will enable near-term quantum computing platforms to be used for scientific discovery in the chemical sciences and beyond. This project is funded by the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

    Quantum Materials

    The “quantum ecosystem” at Berkeley Lab was also recently enhanced through the Center for Novel Pathways to Quantum Coherence in Materials, a Berkeley Lab-led DOE Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) that was announced in June, in which Argonne National Laboratory, Columbia University, and UC Santa Barbara are also major partners. The new EFRC, which is led through Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and draws on expertise and instrumentation at the Advanced Light Source and Molecular Foundry (both DOE Office of Science User Facilities), will contribute to understanding how the properties of important electronic and optical materials are related to underlying quantum coherence phenomena, which can be harnessed for quantum information processing. It will also advance capabilities such as ultrasensitive quantum measurements of electric and magnetic fields.

    See the full article here .


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  • richardmitnick 4:47 pm on September 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A New Single-Photon Sensor for Quantum Imaging, , Berkeley Quantum, Figuring out how to extend the search for dark matter particles, From Quantum Gravity to Quantum Technology, LBNL Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, , News Center A Quantum Leap Toward Expanding the Search for Dark Matter, , , U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of High Energy Physics, University of Massachusetts Amherst,   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “News Center A Quantum Leap Toward Expanding the Search for Dark Matter” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    September 24, 2018
    Glenn Roberts Jr.
    geroberts@lbl.gov
    (510) 486-5582

    1
    A visualization of a massive galaxy cluster that shows dark matter density (purple filaments) overlaid with the gas velocity field. (Credit: Illustris Collaboration)

    Figuring out how to extend the search for dark matter particles – dark matter describes the stuff that makes up an estimated 85 percent of the total mass of the universe yet so far has only been measured by its gravitational effects – is a bit like building a better mousetrap…that is, a mousetrap for a mouse you’ve never seen, will never see directly, may be joined by an odd assortment of other mice, or may not be a mouse after all.

    Now, through a new research program supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of High Energy Physics (HEP), a consortium of researchers from the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), UC Berkeley, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst will develop sensors that enlist the seemingly weird properties of quantum physics to probe for dark matter particles in new ways, with increased sensitivity, and in uncharted regions. Maurice Garcia-Sciveres, a Berkeley Lab physicist, is leading this Quantum Sensors HEP-Quantum Information Science (QIS) Consortium.

    Quantum technologies are emerging as promising alternatives to the more conventional “mousetraps” that researchers have previously used to track down elusive particles. And the DOE, through the same HEP office, is also supporting a collection of other research efforts led by Berkeley Lab scientists that tap into quantum theory, properties, and technologies in the QIS field.

    These efforts include:

    Unraveling the Quantum Structure of Quantum Chromodynamics in Parton Shower Monte Carlo Generators – This effort will develop computer programs that test the interactions between fundamental particles in extreme detail. Current computer simulations are limited by classical algorithms, though quantum algorithms could more accurately model these interactions and could provide a better way to compare with and understand particle events measured at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle collider. Berkeley Lab’s Christian Bauer, a senior research scientist, will lead this effort.
    Quantum Pattern Recognition (QPR) for High-Energy Physics –Increasingly powerful particle accelerators require vastly faster computer algorithms to monitor and sort through billions of particle events per second, and this effort will develop and study the potential of quantum-based algorithms for pattern recognition to reconstruct charged particles. Such algorithms have the potential for significant speed improvements and increased precision. Led by Berkeley Lab physicist and Divisional Fellow Heather Gray, this effort will involve high-energy physics and high-performance computing expertise in Berkeley Lab’s Physics Division and at the Lab’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, and also at UC Berkeley.
    Skipper-CCD, a New Single-Photon Sensor for Quantum Imaging – For the past six years, Berkeley Lab and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) have been collaborating in the development of a detector for astrophysics experiments that can detect the smallest individual unit of light, known as a photon. This Skipper-CCD detector was successfully demonstrated in the summer of 2017 with an incredibly low noise that allowed the detection of even individual electrons. As a next step, this Fermilab-led effort will seek to image pairs of photons that exist in a state of quantum entanglement, meaning their properties are inherently related – even over long distances – such that the measurement of one of the particles necessarily defines the properties of the other. Steve Holland, a senior scientist and engineer at Berkeley Lab who is a pioneer in the development of high-performance silicon detectors for a range of uses, is leading Berkeley Lab’s participation in this project.
    Geometry and Flow of Quantum Information: From Quantum Gravity to Quantum Technology –This effort will develop quantum algorithms and simulations for properties, including error correction and information scrambling, that are relevant to black hole theories and to quantum computing involving highly connected arrays of superconducting qubits – the basic units of a quantum computer. Researchers will also compare these with more classical methods. UC Berkeley is heading up this research program, and Irfan Siddiqi, a scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and founding director of the Center for Quantum Coherent Science at UC Berkeley, is leading Berkeley Lab’s involvement.
    Siddiqi is also leading a separate research program, Field Programmable Gate Array-based Quantum Control for High-Energy Physics Simulations with Qutrits, that will develop specialized tools and logic families for high-energy-physics-focused quantum computing. This effort involves Berkeley Lab’s Accelerator Technology and Applied Physics Division.

    These projects are also part of Berkeley Quantum, a partnership that harnesses the expertise and facilities of Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley to advance U.S. quantum capabilities by conducting basic research, fabricating and testing quantum-based devices and technologies, and educating the next generation of researchers.

    Also, across several of its offices, the DOE has announced support for a wave of other R&D efforts (see a related news release) that will foster collaborative innovation in quantum information science at Berkeley Lab, at other national labs, and at partner institutions.

    At Berkeley Lab, the largest HEP-funded QIS-related undertaking will include a multidisciplinary team in the development and demonstration of quantum sensors to look for very-low-mass dark matter particles – so-called “light dark matter” – by instrumenting two different detectors.

    One of these detectors will use liquid helium at a very low temperature where otherwise familiar phenomena such as heat and thermal conductivity display quantum behavior. The other detector will use specially fabricated crystals of gallium arsenide (see a related article), also chilled to cryogenic temperatures. The ideas for how these experiments can search for very light dark matter sprang from theory work at Berkeley Lab.

    “There’s a lot of unexplored territory in low-mass dark matter,” said Natalie Roe, director of the Physics Division at Berkeley Lab and the principal investigator for the Lab’s HEP-related quantum efforts. “We have all the pieces to pull this together: in theory, experiments, and detectors.”

    2
    This image of the Andromeda Galaxy, taken from a 1970 study by astronomers Vera Rubin and W. Kent Ford Jr., shows points (dots) that were tracked at different distances from the galaxy center. The selected points unexpectedly were found to rotate at a similar rate, which provides evidence for the existence of dark matter. (Credit: Vera Rubin, W. Kent Ford Jr.)

    Garcia-Sciveres, who is leading the effort in applying quantum sensors to the low-mass dark matter search, noted that other major efforts – such as the Berkeley Lab-led LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) experiment that is taking shape in South Dakota – will help root out whether dark matter particles known as WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles) exist with masses comparable to that of atoms. But LZ and similar experiments are not designed to detect dark matter particles of much lower masses.

    LBNL Lux Zeplin project at SURF

    “The traditional WIMP dark matter experiments haven’t found anything yet,” he said. “And there is a lot of theoretical work on models that favor particles of a lower mass than experiments like LZ can measure,” he added. “This has motivated people to really look hard at how you can detect very-low-mass particles. It’s not so easy. It’s a very small signal that has to be detected without any background noise.”

    Researchers hope to develop quantum sensors that are better at filtering out the noise of unwanted signals. While a traditional WIMP experiment is designed to sense the recoil of an entire atomic nucleus after it is “kicked” by a dark matter particle, very-low-mass dark matter particles will bounce right off nuclei without affecting them, like a flea bouncing off an elephant.

    The goal of the new effort is to sense the low-mass particles via their energy transfer in the form of very feeble quantum vibrations, which go by names like “phonons” or “rotons,” for example, Garcia-Sciveres said.

    “You would never be able to tell that an invisible flea hits an elephant by watching the elephant. But what if every time an invisible flea hits an elephant at one end of the herd, a visible flea is flung away from an elephant at the other end of the herd?” he said.

    “You could use these sensors to watch for such slight signals in a very cold crystal or superfluid helium, where an incoming dark matter particle is like the invisible flea, and the outgoing visible flea is a quantum vibration that must be detected.”

    The particle physics community has held some workshops to brainstorm the possibilities for low-mass dark matter detection. “This is a new regime. This is an area where there aren’t even any measurements yet. There is a promise that QIS techniques can help give us more sensitivity to the small signals we’re looking for,” Garcia-Sciveres added. “Let’s see if that’s true.”

    The demonstration detectors will each have about 1 cubic centimeter of detector material. Dan McKinsey, a Berkeley Lab faculty senior scientist and UC Berkeley physics professor who is responsible for the development of the liquid helium detector, said that the detectors will be constructed on the UC Berkeley campus. Both are designed to be sensitive to particles with a mass lighter than protons – the positively charged particles that reside in atomic nuclei.

    3
    A schematic for low-mass dark matter particle detection in a planned superfluid helium (He) experiment. (Credit: Berkeley Lab)

    The superfluid helium detector will make use of a process called “quantum evaporation,” in which rotons and phonons cause individual helium atoms to be evaporated from the surface of superfluid helium.

    Kathryn Zurek, a Berkeley Lab physicist and pioneering theorist in the search for very-low-mass dark matter particles who is working on the quantum sensor project, said the technology to detect such “whispers” of dark matter didn’t exist just a decade ago but “has made major gains in the last few years.” She also noted, “There had been a fair amount of skepticism about how realistic it would be to look for this light-mass dark matter, but the community has moved more broadly in that direction.”

    There are many synergies in the expertise and capabilities that have developed both at Berkeley Lab and on the UC Berkeley campus that make it a good time – and the right place – to develop and apply quantum technologies to the hunt for dark matter, Zurek said.

    Theories developed at Berkeley Lab suggest that certain exotic materials exhibit quantum states or “modes” that low-mass dark matter particles can couple with, which would make the particles detectable – like the “visible flea” referenced above.

    “These ideas are the motivation for building these experiments to search for light dark matter,” Zurek said. “This is a broad and multipronged approached, and the idea is that it will be a stepping stone to a larger effort.”

    The new project will draw from a deep experience in building other types of particle detectors, and R&D in ultrasensitive sensors that operate at the threshold where an electrically conducting material becomes a superconductor – the “tipping point” that is sensitive to the slightest fluctuations. Versions of these sensors are already used to search for slight temperature variations in the relic microwave light that spans the universe.

    At the end of the three-year demonstration, researchers could perhaps turn their sights to more exotic types of detector materials in larger volumes.

    “I’m excited to see this program move forward, and I think it will become a significant research direction in the Physics Division at Berkeley Lab,” she said, adding that the program could also demonstrate ultrasensitive detectors that have applications in other fields of science.

    More info:

    Read a news release that summarizes all of the Berkeley Lab quantum information science awards announced Sept. 24
    Berkeley Lab to Build an Advanced Quantum Computing Testbed
    About Berkeley Quantum

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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  • richardmitnick 4:10 pm on September 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AQT-Advanced Quantum Testbed, Berkeley Lab to Build an Advanced Quantum Computing Testbed, Industry can then take the solid ideas developed by the testbed and transform them into finished commercial products, LBNL Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Multi-partner scientific collaboration   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “Berkeley Lab to Build an Advanced Quantum Computing Testbed” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    September 24, 2018
    Dan Krotz
    dakrotz@lbl.gov
    (510) 486-4019

    1
    Irfan Siddiqi (left), director of the Lab’s AQT effort, and Jonathan Carter, AQT co-principal investigator, in front of a dilution refrigerator housing superconducting qubits. Siddiqi is a staff scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Material Sciences Division and Carter is the deputy of science for Berkeley Lab’s Computing Sciences Area. (Credit: Peter DaSilva, Berkeley Lab)

    By Linda Vu

    The U.S. Department of Energy announced today that Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) will receive $30 million over five years to build and operate an Advanced Quantum Testbed (AQT). Researchers will use the testbed to explore superconducting quantum processors and evaluate how these emerging quantum devices can be utilized to advance scientific research. As part of this effort, Berkeley Lab will collaborate with MIT Lincoln Laboratory (MIT LL) to deploy different quantum processor architectures.

    According to Irfan Siddiqi, Berkeley Lab scientist and AQT director, one of the goals of this project is to set up a multi-partner scientific collaboration to build a platform where basic outstanding questions about quantum computing can be answered. AQT will operate as an open resource for the community, allowing external researchers to evaluate superconducting architectures developed by testbed staff and collaborators for simulations in chemistry, materials, and other areas of computation. AQT will also help industry researchers by exploring what approaches are most likely to work and which ones do not. Industry can then take the solid ideas developed by the testbed and transform them into finished commercial products.

    “With this testbed we will ask and evaluate the basic questions needed to guide the future development of quantum computers,” said Siddiqi. “We are the first to commission an instrument to look at this problem end-to-end in an open research collaboration between academia, industry, and the national laboratories. This means that we won’t rely on any one entity for all of the answers. Instead, we will use a tried-and-true scientific approach – we will seek out the best ideas, hardware, algorithms, etc. and combine all of that expertise to communally build a quantum testbed.”

    According to Jonathan Carter, deputy of science for Berkeley Lab’s Computing Sciences Area and the AQT’s co-principal investigator, Berkeley Lab is uniquely suited to lead this effort because the capabilities of its researchers allow them to attack this problem end-to-end.

    Over the past five years, Berkeley Lab researchers developed quantum chemistry and optimization algorithms targeting prototype superconducting quantum processors funded by Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) grants. They proved the viability of their work by running these algorithms on a quantum processor comprising two superconducting transmon qubits developed in Siddiqi’s Quantum Nanoelectronics Lab at the University of California Berkeley. The success of their LDRD work eventually paved the way for two DOE-funded projects to explore quantum computing for science.

    2
    AQT team members examine the latest performance of a new scalable control system. From right to left: Anastasiia Butko, Jonathan Carter, Gang Huang, Machiel Blok, Miro Urbaneck, Irfan Siddiqi, and Dar Dahlen. (Credit: Peter DaSilva/Berkeley Lab)

    “AQT is essentially the next phase of our research,” said Carter. “Our LDRD project allowed us to make some initial progress on what quantum computing hardware and quantum algorithms would look like. We then got to test the viability of our ideas and create a roadmap for building a quantum testbed with our DOE-funded Pathfinder project. Now with our DOE-funded AQT project, we are actually going to build the testbed and open it up to external scientific researchers.”

    “Because our team can design and fabricate quantum processors with considerable flexibility, we can tailor the design to meet our scientific needs,” Carter said. “We also have team members who are working on the classical control hardware and software needed to operate these chips, as well as the algorithms that will run on them.”

    According to Carter, the broad expertise of the Berkeley Lab team is critical at this moment because the use of a near-term quantum computer requires experts from many disciplines to optimize all of its components – for example, qubits, quantum control, error mitigation, etc. – simultaneously because quantum computers are currently so resource constrained.

    In addition to the collaboration with MIT LL, AQT will tap resources and expertise of a number of DOE Office of Science User Facilities, including the Molecular Foundry and National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), both located at Berkeley Lab.

    Additionally, researchers from Berkeley Lab’s Accelerator Technologies and Applied Physics Division will help develop custom quantum control hardware, while the Materials Sciences Division will help with research and materials fabrication and the Computational Research Division will help develop low-level software and custom classical computing architecture.

    The Advanced Quantum Testbed is the latest project for Berkeley Quantum, a partnership that harnesses the expertise and facilities of Berkeley Lab and the University of California, Berkeley to advance U.S. quantum capabilities by conducting basic research, fabricating and testing quantum-based devices and technologies, and educating the next generation of researchers.

    Get more information about quantum information science research at Berkeley Lab and Berkeley Quantum.

    The Advanced Quantum Testbed will be funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science (ASCR).

    More info:

    Read a news release that summarizes all of the Berkeley Lab quantum information science awards announced Sept. 24
    A Quantum Leap Toward Expanding the Search for Dark Matter
    About Berkeley Quantum

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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  • richardmitnick 12:01 pm on July 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , LBNL Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, ,   

    From Science and Technology Facilities Council via Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “UK delivers super-cool kit to USA for Next-Generation Dark Matter Experiment” 


    From Science and Technology Facilities Council

    via

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    17 July 2018
    Jake Gilmore
    jake.gilmore@stfc.ac.uk

    A huge UK built titanium chamber designed to keep its contents at a cool -100C and weighing as much as an SUV has been shipped to the United States, where it will soon become part of a next-generation dark matter detector to hunt for the long-theorised elusive dark matter particle called a WIMP (Weakly Interacting Massive Particle).

    This hunt is important because the nature of dark matter, which physicists describe as the invisible component or ‘missing mass’ in the universe, has eluded scientists since its existence was deduced by Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky in 1933. The quest to find out what dark matter is made of, or whether it can be explained by tweaking the known laws of physics, is considered one of the most pressing questions in particle physics, on a par with the previous hunt for the Higgs boson.

    The cryostat chamber was built by a team of engineers at the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, and journeyed around the world to the LUX-Zeplin (LZ) experiment, located 1400m underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in South Dakota.

    LBNL Lux Zeplin project at SURF

    1
    A worker inspects the titanium cryostat for the LUX-ZEPLIN experiment in a clean room. (Credit: Matt Kapust/SURF)

    After being delivered to the surface facility at SURF the Outer Cryostat Vessel (OCV) of the cryostat chamber spent five weeks being fully assembled and leak checked in the SURF Assembly Lab (SAL) clean room. It has now been disassembled and packaged for transportation from the surface to the underground location at SURF. Meanwhile the Inner Cryostat Vessel is now in the SAL clean room getting prepared for the leak tests.

    STFC’s Dr Pawel Majewski, technical lead for the cryostat, said: “The cryostat was a feat of engineering with some very stringent and challenging requirements to meet. Because of the huge mass of the cryostat – 2,000kgs – we had to make sure it was made of ultra radio-pure titanium. It took nearly two years to find a pure enough sample to work with. Eventually we got it from one of the world’s leading titanium suppliers in the US where Electron Beam Cold Heart technology was used to melt the titanium.

    “This type of ultra-pure titanium is used, for example, in the healthcare industry to fabricate a pacemaker encapsulation. In our case it is used to hold the heart of the experiment.”

    It took two-and-a-half years to design the specialist equipment, and another two years to build in Italy by a company specialising in vessels and pipes fabrication only from titanium.

    The cryostat is a vital part of LZ, as it keeps the detector at freezing temperatures. This is crucial because the detector uses xenon – which at room temperature is a gas. But for the experiment to work, the xenon, which itself has low background radiation, must be kept in a liquid state, which is only achievable at around -100C.

    LZ is the latest experiment to hunt for the long-theorised elusive dark matter particle called a WIMP (Weakly Interacting Massive Particle). Many scientists believe finding WIMPs will provide the answer to one of the most pressing questions in physics – what is dark matter? WIMPS are thought to make up the most of dark matter – the as-yet-unknown substance which makes up about 85% of the universe. But because WIMPs are thought not to interact with normal matter, they are practically invisible using traditional detection methods.

    Liquid xenon emits a flash of light when struck by a particle, and this light can be detected by very sensitive photon detectors called photomultiplier tubes. If a WIMP collides with a xenon nucleus we expect it to produce a burst of light.

    Before delivery to SURF the cryostat underwent several weeks of rigorous testing and a month-long thorough clean from an expert cleaning company in California. Five years after the design efforts started, the cryostat arrived safely at SURF and the LZ team then carefully unwrapped it and put it into place.

    “It’s a great experience to see all of the planning for LZ paying off with the arrival of components,” said Murdock “Gil” Gilchriese, LZ project director and a Berkeley Lab physicist. “We look forward to seeing these components fully assembled and installed underground in preparation for the start of LZ science.”

    UK PI for LZ is Professor Henrique Araujo from Imperial College London and he said: “It is incredibly gratifying to see LZ beginning to take shape. Seeing the cryostat arrive is a milestone moment as it has been years in the making.

    “Now we have to wait for the other constituent elements to arrive before we can start to see some exciting science taking place at this ground-breaking facility.”

    LZ will be at least 100 times more sensitive to finding signals from dark matter particles than its predecessor, the Large Underground Xenon experiment (LUX). The new experiment will use 10 metric tons of ultra-purified liquid xenon, to tease out possible dark matter signals. Xenon, in its gas form, is one of the rarest elements in Earth’s atmosphere.

    Although this is a major milestone for the experiment, there are still many components yet to be assembled and tested. Upgrades of the underground Davis cavern at SURF, where LZ will be installed, are in progress and will be completed by August and large acrylic tanks that will help to validate LZ measurements are expected to arrive at SURF by September. It is currently expected that the experiment will start taking data in 2020.

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is leading the LZ project, which is expected to be completed in 2020. About 200 scientists and engineers from 39 institutions around the globe are part of the LZ collaboration.

    Since the project’s inception in 2012, STFC has been in charge of the design and the delivery of the cryostat. The engineering effort has been led by Joseph Saba, a Berkeley Lab mechanical engineer, and Edward Holtom of STFC’s Technology Department.

    Majewski said, “The cryostat was a feat of engineering, with some very stringent and challenging requirements. Because of its huge mass (about 2.2 tons), we had to make sure it was made of ultrapure titanium or it would overwhelm the detector with background radiation. It took more than two years to find titanium pure enough to work with.”

    He added, “This type of ultrapure titanium is used, for example, in the health care industry to fabricate pacemaker encapsulations. In our case it is used to hold the heart of the experiment.”

    The cryostat is the U.K.’s largest contribution to LZ but is not the only contribution. STFC is also supporting work on LZ’s calibration hardware, photomultiplier tubes, internal monitoring sensors, and materials screening, and is supporting one of the LZ data centers.

    Professor Henrique Araújo of Imperial College London, who is the U.K.’s principal investigator for LZ, said, “It is incredibly gratifying to see LZ beginning to take shape. Seeing the cryostat arrive is a milestone moment as it has been years in the making. This is the first big piece around which we will build the rest of the experiment.”

    There are still many LZ components yet to be assembled and tested. The experiment is expected to start taking data in 2020.

    Upgrades of the underground Davis cavern at SURF, where LZ will be installed, are in progress and will be completed by August, Gilchriese said, and large acrylic tanks that will help to validate LZ measurements are expected to arrive at SURF by September.

    Major support for LZ comes from the DOE Office of Science, the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, the UK’s Science & Technology Facilities Council, and by collaboration members in South Korea and Portugal.

    See the full STFC article here.
    See the full LBNL article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    STFC Hartree Centre

    Helping build a globally competitive, knowledge-based UK economy

    We are a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation, and our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world. Our strength comes from our distinct but interrelated functions:

    Universities: we support university-based research, innovation and skills development in astronomy, particle physics, nuclear physics, and space science
    Scientific Facilities: we provide access to world-leading, large-scale facilities across a range of physical and life sciences, enabling research, innovation and skills training in these areas
    National Campuses: we work with partners to build National Science and Innovation Campuses based around our National Laboratories to promote academic and industrial collaboration and translation of our research to market through direct interaction with industry
    Inspiring and Involving: we help ensure a future pipeline of skilled and enthusiastic young people by using the excitement of our sciences to encourage wider take-up of STEM subjects in school and future life (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)

    We support an academic community of around 1,700 in particle physics, nuclear physics, and astronomy including space science, who work at more than 50 universities and research institutes in the UK, Europe, Japan and the United States, including a rolling cohort of more than 900 PhD students.

    STFC-funded universities produce physics postgraduates with outstanding high-end scientific, analytic and technical skills who on graduation enjoy almost full employment. Roughly half of our PhD students continue in research, sustaining national capability and creating the bedrock of the UK’s scientific excellence. The remainder – much valued for their numerical, problem solving and project management skills – choose equally important industrial, commercial or government careers.

    Our large-scale scientific facilities in the UK and Europe are used by more than 3,500 users each year, carrying out more than 2,000 experiments and generating around 900 publications. The facilities provide a range of research techniques using neutrons, muons, lasers and x-rays, and high performance computing and complex analysis of large data sets.

    They are used by scientists across a huge variety of science disciplines ranging from the physical and heritage sciences to medicine, biosciences, the environment, energy, and more. These facilities provide a massive productivity boost for UK science, as well as unique capabilities for UK industry.

    Our two Campuses are based around our Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at Harwell in Oxfordshire, and our Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire – each of which offers a different cluster of technological expertise that underpins and ties together diverse research fields.

    The combination of access to world-class research facilities and scientists, office and laboratory space, business support, and an environment which encourages innovation has proven a compelling combination, attracting start-ups, SMEs and large blue chips such as IBM and Unilever.

    We think our science is awesome – and we know students, teachers and parents think so too. That’s why we run an extensive Public Engagement and science communication programme, ranging from loans to schools of Moon Rocks, funding support for academics to inspire more young people, embedding public engagement in our funded grant programme, and running a series of lectures, travelling exhibitions and visits to our sites across the year.

    Ninety per cent of physics undergraduates say that they were attracted to the course by our sciences, and applications for physics courses are up – despite an overall decline in university enrolment.

     
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