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  • richardmitnick 2:01 pm on August 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Hunt for the sterile neutrino, , , , MINERvA, , , , 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 .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    FNAL Icon

    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 9:43 am on September 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , MINERvA,   

    From FNAL: “Providing precise neutrino measurements with MINERvA” 

    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.

    September 8, 2016
    Michelle Mo

    The front face of the MINERvA detector sits in its underground home near the end of construction. This front face is no longer visible because of the helium target that was installed upstream. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    Imagine an atomic nucleus as racked up pool balls with little springs attached to each other and the neutrino beam as the cue ball. It’s pretty easy to see what happens if you hit the pool balls with very little energy (almost nothing happens) or a lot of energy (they all break apart). But scientists need to know what happens with neutrinos in that middle energy level.

    “Some of the energy goes into breaking springs, some goes into breaking apart pool balls. Some goes into ejecting pool balls with energy,” said MINERvA co-spokesperson Kevin McFarland, a researcher at the University of Rochester. “Because it’s such a complicated system — you’re getting a big nucleus full of lots of neutrons and protons bound together with springs — it’s really hard to look at what comes out and infer precisely what the energy of the neutrino was.”

    By better understanding how neutrinos interact with the matter all around us, researchers hope to improve our model of how physics — and the universe — works. The information can be used in simulations of other neutrino experiments to correct for the energy that isn’t seen in these interactions and to improve accuracy.

    This information is crucial both for current neutrino experiments such as NOvA and in preparation for upcoming neutrino oscillation experiments such as the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, or DUNE.

    FNAL/NOvA experiment
    FNAL/NOvA experiment map


    At the energies required for those projects, the components of the nucleus begin to break apart, producing a slew of different particles and complex data.

    “We’re making measurements that haven’t been measured ever before,” said Minerba Betancourt, postdoctoral researcher for MINERvA. “For example, there’s a channel called quasielastic, in which a neutrino interacts with the detector and produces a muon and a proton. For that type of neutrino interaction, there are not any measurements of iron or lead to scintillator ratios.”

    Making new neutrinos

    A lot has to happen to produce MINERvA data. The experiment uses Fermilab’s Main Injector accelerator, which produces protons at energies of over 120 times their rest masses. These protons smash into a carbon target in the NuMI beamline, producing particles called pions that then transform into the desired neutrinos.

    FNAL NUMI Tunnel project
    NuMI beamline

    Sooner or later, a tiny fraction of these neutrinos interact with nuclei in the detector and produce daughter particles. These particles leave the nucleus, causing interactions that produce light in the scintillator detector that scientists record and analyze.

    “Neutrinos are neutral, so they don’t have a charge. We can’t see them until they actually produce something,” said Daniel Ruterbories, a postdoctoral researcher for MINERvA. “All of a sudden, particles spontaneously appear.”

    MINERvA has a unique ability to study neutrinos with high precision, primarily because of its detector technology. Those detector components, called scintillator bars, are small. That means physicists can measure neutrino interactions in more detail than a typical neutrino detector, which has to be huge because it has to be located hundreds of miles away from the neutrino source.

    Moving forward, MINERvA will analyze higher-energy neutrinos. By taking data at about 6 GeV of energy instead of the previous 3 GeV, scientists will be able to study many more interactions in the detector.

    “We’re producing a large bucket of events,” Ruterbories said. “We should be able to really focus down and try to answer the questions of how these interactions occur.”

    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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