Tagged: Neutrinos Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 12:54 pm on November 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , MicroBooNE, Neutrinos, ,   

    From FNAL: “Handy and trendy: MicroBooNE’s new look” 

    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.

    November 30, 2016
    Ricarda Laasch

    1
    MicroBooNE’s shiny new exterior helps scientists identify cosmic rays masquerading as neutrinos. From left: Elena Gramellini, Thomas Mettler. Martin Auger, Mark Shoun, John Voirin. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    The signals of cosmic rays

    Cosmic rays are a constant rain of particles that are created in our sun or faraway stars and travel through space to our planet.

    They’re subjects of many important physics studies, but for MicroBooNE’s research, they simply get in the way. That’s because MicroBooNE scientists are looking for something else — abundant, subtle particles called neutrinos.

    FNAL/MicrobooNE
    FNAL/MicrobooNE

    Unlocking the secrets neutrinos hold could help us understand the evolution of our universe, but they’re exceedingly difficult to measure. Fleeting neutrinos are rarely captured, even as they sail through detectors built for that purpose.

    Add to that the fact that their interactions are potentially drowned in a sea of cosmic rays rushing through the same detector, and you get a sense of the formidable challenge that neutrinos represent.

    The MicroBooNE experiment starts with Fermilab’s powerful accelerators, which create neutrino beams that are then propelled through the MicroBooNE detector.

    2
    July 8, 2015 Fermilab’s Main Injector accelerator, one of the most powerful particle accelerators in the world, has just achieved a world record for high-energy beams for neutrino experiments. Photo: Fermilab

    3

    4
    Fermilab’s accelerator complex comprises seven particle accelerators and storage rings. It produces the world’s most powerful, high-energy neutrino beam and provides proton beams for a variety of experiments and R&D programs.

    Fermilab is currently upgrading its accelerator complex to deliver high-intensity neutrino beams and to provide beams for a broad range of new and existing experiments, including the Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment, Muon g-2 and Mu2e.

    “The neutrino beam here at the lab gives us the right conditions to study neutrinos,” said Elena Gramellini, a Yale University graduate student on the MicroBooNE experiment. “Our challenge is to pick out neutrinos from many cosmic rays passing through the detector.”

    Since cosmic rays are made of some of the same particles produced when a neutrino interacts with matter, they leave signals in the MicroBooNE detector that are often similar to the sought-after neutrino signals. Scientists need to be able to sort the cosmic rays in the MicroBooNE data from the neutrino signals.

    Tagging and sorting

    Even several feet of concrete enclosure would not completely block cosmic rays from hitting a detector such as MicroBooNE, not to mention that such a structure would be inconvenient and expensive. Instead, MicroBooNE uses the aforementioned panels, called a cosmic ray tagger, or CRT. While the panels don’t block cosmic rays, they do detect them.

    Each CRT panel has particle-detecting components – strips of scintillator – that lie beneath its shiny aluminum enclosure. Cosmic ray particles can easily pass through aluminum and the scintillator — a clear, plastic-like material — on their way toward the MicroBooNE detector.

    The cosmic ray particles deposit energy in the plastic scintillator, which then emits light. An optical fiber buried inside the scintillator captures the emitted light and transmits it to devices that generate the digital information that tells scientists where and when the cosmic ray struck.

    “With our current layout of scintillator strips in each panel, we are able to tell precisely where the cosmic ray enters the MicroBooNE detector after it left the panel,” said Igor Kreslo, professor at the University of Bern who designed the CRT panels for MicroBooNE. “Our design effort really paid off and now ensures thorough cosmic ray tracking.“

    So why the shiny aluminum shell? It blocks unwanted light from the detector’s immediate surroundings so that only light created by cosmic rays inside a CRT panel reaches the optical fiber and is detected.

    Putting up panels

    The 49 rectangular CRT panels are the contribution of the University of Bern in Switzerland, one of the 28 institutions collaborating on MicroBooNE worldwide. They produced the panels last winter and shipped them to Fermilab during the spring.

    “This was a large project for us, and it took everyone in Bern to finish everything in time,” said Martin Auger, scientist at the University of Bern who planned the arrangement of the CRT panels. “A key moment was the test of the CRT panels after the long journey to Fermilab. All the panels arrived in good shape!”

    The installation team overcame a number of challenges —including the tight space in which MicroBooNE stands — to successfully place the panels around the detector.

    “The installation crew is a crack team of veteran Fermilab employees,” said John Voirin, who leads experiment installations at the laboratory. “In the end we have a very elegant, safe operating product that is a valuable asset to the experiment.”

    Later this year the group will complete the installation by placing the final layer on top of the MicroBooNE detector. Even without it, the CRT already greatly enhances the capabilities of the experiment.

    “We started taking data just in time for the first neutrinos delivered to the experiment,” Gramellini said.

    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.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:58 pm on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Neutrinos, , SNO+   

    From UC Davis: “SNO+ Neutrino Detector Gets Ready For Run” 

    UC Davis bloc

    UC Davis

    November 29th, 2016
    Andy Fell

    1
    SNO+ neutrino detector being filled with ultrapure water. The detector will search for neutrinos from distant supernovae and nuclear reactors. Credit: SNO+ Collaboration

    Not a still from a science fiction movie, but the SNO+ neutrino detector being filled with very pure water prior to starting operations. Located over a mile underground in a mine in Ontario, Canada, the SNO+ detector consists of an acrylic sphere 12 meters in diameter filled with 800 tonnes of scintillation fluid, floating in a bath of ultrapure water surrounded by 10,000 photomultiplier tubes that will detect flashes of light from passing neutrinos.

    The color in the photograph isn’t computer enhanced, said Professor Robert Svoboda, chair of the Department of Physics, who is a member of the SNO+ team.

    “The blue color comes from the fact the water is very pure – more than 10,000 times purer than Lake Tahoe,” Svoboda said.

    Svoboda and other UC Davis physicists, including graduate students Morgan Askins and Teal Pershing and postdocs Vincent Fischer and Leon Pickard, helped build SNO+ and will be working on analyzing data from the experiment. It will measure neutrinos from the Sun, from distant supernovae, and from nuclear reactors in the U.S. and Canada. It will search for a rare form of radioactivity, predicted but not yet observed, which would show whether neutrinos are different from other fundamental particles.

    SNO+ will be a new kilo-tonne scale liquid scintillator detector that will study neutrinos. The experiment will be located approximately 2km underground in VALE’s Creighton mine near Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. The heart of the SNO+ detector will be a 12m diameter acrylic sphere fill with approximately 800 tonnes of liquid scintillator which will float in a water bath. This volume will be monitored by about 10,000 photomultiplier tubes (PMTs), which are very sensitive light detectors. The acrylic sphere, PMTs and PMT support structure will be re-used from the SNO experiment. Therefore, SNO+ will look almost exactly the same as SNO (shown above) except that, in addition to the ropes that currently hold the acrylic vessel up, we will add ropes to hold the vessel down once it is filled with (buoyant) scintillator.

    Liquid scintillator is an organic liquid that gives off light when charged particles pass through it. SNO+ will detect neutrinos when they interact with electrons and nuclei in the detector to produce charged particles which, in turn, create light as they pass through the scintillator. The flash of light is then detected by the PMT array. This process is very similar to the way in which SNO detected neutrinos except that, in the SNO experiment, the light was produced through the Cherenkov process rather than by scintillation. It is this similarity in detection schemes that allows the SNO detector to be so efficiently converted for use as a liquid scintillator detector.

    The scintillator in the SNO+ experiment will be primarily composed of linear alkyl benzene (LAB), which is a new scintillator for this type of experiment. LAB was chosen because it has good light output, is quite transparent, and is a “nice” chemical to work with (it has properties much like those of mineral oil). It also seems to be compatible with acrylic (which is obviously important for SNO+). LAB is used commercially to manufacture of dish soap, among other things, which means that it is available in the large quantities needed for SNO+ at a relatively low price. As an added bonus, there is a plant in Quebec that produces very good LAB, meaning that SNO+ can have a “local supplier” of high quality scintillator.

    3

    2

    People

    University of Alberta:
    A. Bialek, A. Hallin, M. Hedayatipoor, C. Krauss, P. Mekarski, L. Sibley, K. Singh, J. Soukup

    Armstrong Atlantic State University:
    J. Secrest

    University of California, Berkeley / LBNL:
    F. Descamps, C. Dock, G. Orebi Gann, K. Haghighi, K. Kamdin, T. Kaptanohku, P. McKenna, K. Nuckolls, C. Weisser

    Black Hills State University:
    K. Keeter

    Brookhaven National Laboratory:
    W.Beriguete, S. Hans, L. Hu, R. Rosero, M. Yeh, Y. Williamson

    University of California, Davis:
    M. Askins, C. Grant, R. Svoboda

    University of Chicago:
    E. Blucher, J. Cushing, K. Labe, T. LaTorre, M. Strait

    Dresden University of Technology:
    V. Lozza, B. von Krosigk, F. Krüger, M. Reinhard, A. Soerensen, K. Zuber

    Laurentian University:
    D. Chauhan, E.D. Hallman, C. Kraus, T. Shantz, M. Schwendener, C. Virtue

    LIP Lisbon and Coimbra:
    R. Alves, S. Andringa, L. Gurriana, A.Maio, J. Maneira, G. Prior

    University of Lancaster:
    H.Okeeffe, L. Kormos

    University of Liverpool:
    N.McCauley, H. J. Rose, R. Stainforth, J. Walker

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:
    M.Howe, J. Wikerson

    Oxford University:
    S.Biller, I. Coulter, N. Jelley, C. Jones, J. Ligard, K. Majumdar, A. Reichold, L. Segui

    University of Pennsylvania:
    E. Beier, R. Bonventre, W.J. Heintzelman, J. Klein, P. Keener, R.Knapik, A. Mastbaum, T. Shokair, R. Van Berg

    Queen Mary, University of London:
    E. Arushanova, A. Back, S. Langrock, F. Di Lodovico, P. Jones, J. Wilson

    Queen’s University:

    S. Asahi, M. Boulay, M. Chen, N. Fatemi-Ghomi, P.J. Harvey, C. Hearns, A. McDonald, A. Noble, M. Seddighim, T. Sonley, E. O’Sullivan, P. Skensved, I. Takashi

    SNOLAB:
    C.Beaudoin, G. Bellehumeur, O. Chkvorets, B. Cleveland, F. Duncan, R. Ford, N. Gagnon, C. Jillings, S. Korte, I. Lawson, T. O’Malley, M. Schumaker, E. Vazquez-Jauregui

    University of Sheffield:
    J. McMillan

    University of Sussex:
    E. Falk, J. Hartnell, M. Mottram, S. Peeters, J. Sinclair, J. Waterfield, R. White

    TRIUMF:
    R. Helmer

    University of Washington:
    L. Kippenbrock, T. Major, J. Tatar, N. Tolich

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Davis Campus

    The University of California, Davis, is a major public research university located in Davis, California, just west of Sacramento. It encompasses 5,300 acres of land, making it the second largest UC campus in terms of land ownership, after UC Merced.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:19 am on November 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Neutrinos,   

    From FNAL: “Fermilab “deepens” its relationship with Sanford Underground Research Facility” 

    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.

    November 7, 2016

    1
    Along with Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota is the site of the future Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment and its Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility. Pictured here is Ross Shaft. Photo: Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    The U.S. Department of Energy pursues discovery science that inspires and transforms our nation — research that can sometimes be pursued only in unique environments. The Sanford Underground Research Facility, owned and operated by the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, or SDSTA, provides one such unique facility, with laboratories located 4,850 feet underground.

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels
    SURF underground levels

    Because of the “deep” involvement of both Fermilab and Sanford Lab with the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), Fermilab has assumed a new role in the general services that support DOE science at the South Dakota facility.

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF
    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF

    Starting Oct. 1, Fermilab became the point of contact for the Department of Energy Office of Science at Sanford Lab. In this role, Fermilab is the liaison between DOE and SDSTA. This represents the first time Fermilab has acted in this role for a facility outside Illinois.

    “We are excited about this transition as it brings our two organizations into closer partnership and strengthens the platform for some amazing DOE science,” said Tim Meyer, Fermilab chief operating officer.

    The change demonstrates recognition by the Department of Energy of the major role Fermilab will play in future Sanford Lab operations. Previously, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory acted as the point of contact for DOE at Sanford Lab. Berkeley Lab continues its leading role in dark matter experiments at the South Dakota lab.

    Fermilab and Sanford Lab are the sites of the future DUNE international particle physics experiment and the supporting Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF).

    Fermilab, located in Batavia, Illinois, will send a beam of particles called neutrinos 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) through Earth to Sanford Lab. There, enormous particle detectors, located nearly a mile underground, will receive the neutrinos and send the data to scientists.

    Sanford Lab hosts multiple science experiments, of which DUNE is only one. The international Large Underground Xenon dark matter detector, known as LUX, has called Sanford Lab home.

    Lux Zeplin project at SURF
    Lux Zeplin project at SURF

    The Majorana Demonstrator neutrino experiment, run by a multinational team, is also conducted at Sanford Lab.

    Majorana Demonstrator Experiment
    Majorana Demonstrator Experiment

    The Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation and NASA all participate in the science experiments at the South Dakota lab.

    As the largest new project being undertaken in particle physics anywhere in the world since the Large Hadron Collider, LBNF/DUNE will be the most ambitious undertaking at Sanford Lab.

    “The SDSTA is proud to partner with Fermilab for the continued operations of the Sanford Lab,” said Mike Headley, executive director of SDSTA. “We’ve had a wonderful, productive relationship with Berkeley Lab, which was instrumental in creating the Sanford Lab — the deepest underground science facility in the United States.”

    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.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:09 am on October 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Neutrinos, ,   

    From Symmetry: “Recruiting team geoneutrino” 

    Symmetry Mag
    Symmetry

    10/11/16
    Leah Crane

    1
    Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Corinne Mucha

    Physicists and geologists are forming a new partnership to study particles from inside the planet.

    The Earth is like a hybrid car.

    Deep under its surface, it has two major fuel tanks. One is powered by dissipating primordial energy left over from the planet’s formation. The other is powered by the heat that comes from radioactive decay.

    We have only a shaky understanding of these heat sources, says William McDonough, a geologist at the University of Maryland. “We don’t have a fuel gauge on either one of them. So we’re trying to unravel that.”

    One way to do it is to study geoneutrinos, a byproduct of the process that burns Earth’s fuel. Neutrinos rarely interact with other matter, so these particles can travel straight from within the Earth to its surface and beyond.

    Geoneutrinos hold clues as to how much radioactive material the Earth contains. Knowing that could lead to insights about how our planet formed and its modern-day dynamics. In addition, the heat from radioactive decay plays a key role in driving plate tectonics.

    The tectonic plates of the world were mapped in 1996, USGS.
    The tectonic plates of the world were mapped in 1996, USGS

    Understanding the composition of the planet and the motion of the plates could help geologists model seismic activity.

    To effectively study geoneutrinos, scientists need knowledge both of elementary particles and of the Earth itself. The problem, McDonough says, is that very few geologists understand particle physics, and very few particle physicists understand geology. That’s why physicists and geologists have begun coming together to build an interdisciplinary community.

    “There’s really a need for a beyond-superficial understanding of the physics for the geologists and likewise a nonsuperficial understanding of the Earth by the physicists,” McDonough says, “and the more that we talk to each other, the better off we are.”

    There are hurdles to overcome in order to get to that conversation, says Livia Ludhova, a neutrino physicist and geologist affiliated with Forschungzentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University in Germany. “I think the biggest challenge is to make a common dictionary and common understanding—to get a common language. At the basic level, there are questions on each side which can appear very naïve.”

    In July, McDonough and Gianpaolo Bellini, emeritus scientist of the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics and retired physics professor at the University of Milan, led a summer institute for geology and physics graduate students to bridge the divide.

    “In general, geology is more descriptive,” Bellini says. “Physics is more structured.”

    This can be especially troublesome when it comes to numerical results, since most geologists are not used to working with the defined errors that are so important in particle physics.

    At the summer institute, students began with a sort of remedial “preschool,” in which geologists were taught how to interpret physical uncertainty and the basics of elementary particles and physicists were taught about Earth’s interior. Once they gained basic knowledge of one another’s fields, the scientists could begin to work together.

    This is far from the first interdisciplinary community within science or even particle physics. Ludhova likens it to the field of radiology: There is one expert to take an X-ray and another to determine a plan of action once all the information is clear. Similarly, particle physicists know how to take the necessary measurements, and geologists know what kinds of questions they could answer about our planet.

    Right now, only two major experiments are looking for geoneutrinos: KamLAND at the Kamioka Observatory in Japan and Borexino at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy. Between the two of them, these observatories detect fewer than 20 geoneutrinos a year.

    KamLAND
    KamLAND at the Kamioka Observatory in Japan

    INFN/Borexino Solar Neutrino detector, Gran Sasso, Italy
    INFN/Borexino Solar Neutrino detector, Gran Sasso, Italy

    Between the two of them, these observatories detect fewer than 20 geoneutrinos a year.

    Because of the limited results, geoneutrino physics is by necessity a small discipline: According to McDonough, there are only about 25 active neutrino researchers with a deep knowledge of both geology and physics.

    Over the next decade, though, several more neutrino detectors are anticipated, some of which will be much larger than KamLAND or Borexino. The Jiangmen Underground Neutrino Observatory (JUNO) in China, for example, should be ready in 2020.

    JUNO Neutrino detector China
    JUNO Neutrino detector China

    Whereas Borexino’s detector is made up of 300 tons of active material, and KamLAND’s contains 1000, JUNO’s will have 20,000 tons.

    The influx of data over the next decade will allow the community to emerge into the larger scientific scene, Bellini says. “There are some people who say ‘now this is a new era of science’—I think that is exaggerated. But I do think that we have opened a new chapter of science in which we use the methods of particle physics to study the Earth.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 1:08 pm on October 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Neutrinos, , ,   

    From Symmetry: “Hunting the nearly un-huntable” 

    Symmetry Mag
    Symmetry

    10/07/16
    Andre Salles

    1
    Artwork by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Corinne Mucha

    The MINOS and Daya Bay experiments weigh in on the search for sterile neutrinos.

    In the 1990s, the Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector (LSND) experiment at Los Alamos National Laboratory saw intriguing hints of an undiscovered type of particle, one that (as of yet) cannot be detected. In 2007, the MiniBooNE experiment at the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory followed up and found a similar anomaly.

    LSND Experiment University of California
    LSND Experiment University of California

    FNAL/MiniBooNE
    FNAL/MiniBooNE

    Today scientists on two more neutrino experiments—the MINOS experiment at Fermilab and the Daya Bay experiment in China—entered the discussion, presenting results that limit the places where these particles, called sterile neutrinos, might be hiding.

    FNAL/MINOS
    FNAL/MINOS

    Daya Bay, approximately 52 kilometers northeast of Hong Kong and 45 kilometers east of Shenzhen, China
    “Daya Bay, approximately 52 kilometers northeast of Hong Kong and 45 kilometers east of Shenzhen, China

    “This combined result was a two-year effort between our collaborations,” says MINOS scientist Justin Evans of the University of Manchester. “Together we’ve set what we believe is a very strong limit on a very intriguing possibility.”

    In three separate papers—two published individually by MINOS and Daya Bay and one jointly, all in Physical Review Letters—scientists on the two experiments detail the results of their hunt for sterile neutrinos.

    Both experiments are designed to see evidence of neutrinos changing, or oscillating, from one type to another. Scientists have so far observed three types of neutrinos, and have detected them changing between those three types, a discovery that was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics.

    What the LSND and MiniBooNE experiments saw—an excess of electron neutrino-like signals—could be explained by a two-step change: muon neutrinos morphing into sterile neutrinos, then into electron neutrinos. MINOS and Daya Bay measured the rate of these steps using different techniques.

    MINOS, which is fed by Fermilab’s neutrino beam—the most powerful in the world—looks for the disappearance of muon neutrinos. MINOS can also calculate how often muon neutrinos should transform into the other two known types and can infer from that how often they could be changing into a fourth type that can’t be observed by the MINOS detector.

    Daya Bay performed a similar observation with electron anti-neutrinos (assumed, for the purposes of this study, to behave in the same way as electron neutrinos).

    The combination of the two experiments’ data (and calculations based thereon) cannot account for the apparent excess of neutrino-like signals observed by LSND. That along with a reanalysis of results from Bugey, an older experiment in France, leaves only a very small region where sterile neutrinos related to the LSND anomaly could be hiding, according to scientists on both projects.

    “There’s a very small parameter space left that the LSND signal could correspond to,” says Alex Sousa of the University of Cincinnati, one of the MINOS scientists who worked on this result. “We can’t say that these light sterile neutrinos don’t exist, but the space where we might find them oscillating into the neutrinos we know is getting narrower.”

    Both Daya Bay and MINOS’ successor experiment, MINOS+, have already taken more data than was used in the analysis here. MINOS+ has completely analyzed only half of its collected data to date, and Daya Bay plans to quadruple its current data set. The potential reach of the final joint effort, says Kam-Biu Luk, co-spokesperson of the Daya Bay experiment, “could be pretty definitive.”

    The IceCube collaboration, which measures atmospheric neutrinos with a detector deep under the Antarctic ice, recently conducted a similar search for sterile neutrinos and also came up empty.

    U Wisconsin ICECUBE neutrino detector at the South Pole
    IceCube neutrino detector interior
    U Wisconsin ICECUBE neutrino detector at the South Pole

    All of this might seem like bad news for fans of sterile neutrinos, but according to theorist André de Gouvea of Northwestern University, the hypothesis is still alive.

    Sterile neutrinos are “still the best new physics explanation for the LSND anomaly that we can probe, even though that explanation doesn’t work very well,” de Gouvea says. “The important thing to remember is that these results from MINOS, Daya Bay, Ice Cube and others don’t rule out the concept of sterile neutrinos, as they may be found elsewhere.”

    Theorists have predicted the existence of sterile neutrinos based on anomalous results from several different experiments. The results from MINOS and Daya Bay address the sterile neutrinos predicted based on the LSND and MiniBooNE anomalies. Theorists predict other types of sterile neutrinos to explain anomalies in reactor experiments and in experiments using the chemical gallium. Much more massive types of sterile neutrinos would help explain why the neutrinos we know are so very light and how the universe came to be filled with more matter than antimatter.

    Searches for sterile neutrinos have focused on the LSND neutrino excess, de Gouvea says, because it provides a place to look. If that particular anomaly is ruled out as a key to finding these nigh-undetectable particles, then they could be hiding almost anywhere, leaving no clues. “Even if sterile neutrinos do not explain the LSND anomaly, their existence is still a logical possibility, and looking for them is always interesting,” de Gouvea says.

    Scientists around the world are preparing to search for sterile neutrinos in different ways.

    Fermilab is preparing a three-detector suite of short-baseline experiments dedicated to nailing down the cause of both the LSND anomaly and an excess of electrons seen in the MiniBooNE experiment. These liquid-argon detectors will search for the appearance of electron neutrinos, a method de Gouvea says is a more direct way of addressing the LSND anomaly. One of those detetors, MicroBooNE, is specifically chasing down the MiniBooNE excess.

    FNAL/MicrobooNE
    FNAL/MicrobooNE

    Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are preparing the Precision Oscillation and Spectrum Experiment (PROSPECT), which will search for sterile neutrinos generated by a nuclear reactor.

    Yale PROSPECT Neutrino experiment
    Yale PROSPECT Neutrino experiment

    CERN’s SHiP experiment, which stands for Search for Hidden Particles, is expected to look for sterile neutrinos with much higher predicted masses.

    CERN SHiP Experiment
    CERN SHiP Experiment

    Obtaining a definitive answer to the sterile neutrino question is important, Evans says, because the existence (or non-existence) of these particles might impact how scientists interpret the data collected in other neutrino experiments, including Japan’s T2K, the United States’ NOvA, the forthcoming DUNE, and other future projects.

    T2K map
    T2K map

    FNAL/NOvA experiment
    FNAL/NOvA experiment

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF
    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF

    DUNE in particular will be able to look for sterile neutrinos across a broad spectrum, and evidence of a fourth kind of neutrino would enhance its already rich scientific program.

    “It’s absolutely vital that we get this question resolved,” Evans says. “Whichever way it goes, it will be a crucial part of neutrino experiments in the future.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 1:22 pm on September 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Neutrinos, , Revealing the unseen Universe   

    From Nature: “Revealing the unseen Universe” 

    Nature Mag
    Nature

    28 September 2016
    Mark Zastrow

    Astronomy is entering an era in which gravitational waves and neutrinos will be used to complement existing techniques and to uncover the hidden features of our Universe.

    Gravitational waves

    When two black holes or neutron stars in a binary system spiral towards each other, their massive size causes ripples in space-time known as gravitational waves.

    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib
    MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib

    The strength of these waves increases as the black holes revolve faster, spiralling towards each other until they merge and there is a fall off in the signal (ringdown).

    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project
    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project

    The Universe seems to be awash with these cataclysmic collisions, which astronomers expect to tell them how many black holes and neutron stars there are.

    2
    Illustration by Lucy Reading-Ikkanda

    How to detect gravitational waves

    In the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), which detected gravitational waves for the first time in 2015, a laser beam is split in two, and each sent down a 4-kilometre tunnel.

    LIGO bloc new
    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation
    “Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation
    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA
    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA

    The beams are reflected back and forth by mirrors at the end of each tunnel, before being recombined at a detector [1].

    3
    Illustration by Lucy Reading-Ikkanda

    Normal operations

    4
    Illustration by Lucy Reading-Ikkanda

    Effect of gravitational waves

    The waves warp the region of space-time that the tunnels sit in so that the beams seem to have travelled different distances when they merge. The difference is very small — about the width of an atomic nucleus for the first detection.

    5
    Illustration by Lucy Reading-Ikkanda

    Global network of detectors

    There are three operational gravitational wave detectors around the world: two LIGO arrays and Germany’s smaller GEO600 facility. Kamioka Gravitational Wave Detector (KAGRA) and Virgo are due to come online in 2018 and 2016, respectively, and a third LIGO detector in India is planned. Combining data from multiple detectors will allow scientists to locate the origin of the waves much more precisely. The laser arms of proposed space-based observatories, such as Europe’s eLISA and China’s Taiji and TianQin, would be much longer. They could detect gravitational waves at lower frequencies and reveal events from weaker sources than can be felt on Earth [2].

    6
    Illustration by Lucy Reading-Ikkanda

    High-energy neutrinos

    Particles known as neutrinos flood the Universe and are so small that they can zip straight through most matter, making them the ideal cosmic messenger. By studying neutrinos, scientists hope to piece together details of the events that made the particles.

    7
    llustration by Lucy Reading-Ikkanda

    IceCube neutrino observatory

    Located beneath the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, a US research facility, the detector of the IceCube neutrino observatory is arranged over one cubic kilometre of ice. IceCube’s sensitivity is partly due to the fact that ice in the region is one of the purest and most transparent solids on Earth [3].

    8
    Illustration by Lucy Reading-Ikkanda

    U Wisconsin ICECUBE neutrino detector at the South Pole
    IceCube neutrino detector interior
    U Wisconsin ICECUBE neutrino detector at the South Pole

    Timeline of high-energy neutrino discovery

    9
    Illustration by Lucy Reading-Ikkanda

    Sources
    1. LIGO Scientific Collaboration
    2. Nature 531, 150 (2016)
    3. IceCube/Univ. Wisconsin–Madison

    Related external links
    LIGO
    IceCube
    eLISA

    ESA/eLISA
    “ESA/eLISA

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Nature is a weekly international journal publishing the finest peer-reviewed research in all fields of science and technology on the basis of its originality, importance, interdisciplinary interest, timeliness, accessibility, elegance and surprising conclusions. Nature also provides rapid, authoritative, insightful and arresting news and interpretation of topical and coming trends affecting science, scientists and the wider public.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:28 am on September 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Neutrinos, , , PTOLEMY laboratory, Tritium   

    From PPPL: “Intern helped get robotic arm on PPPL’s PTOLEMY experiment up and running” 


    PPPL

    September 22, 2016
    Jeanne Jackson DeVoe

    1
    PPPL intern Mark Thom with a device containing a robotic arm that will be used with PPPL’s PTOLEMY experiment, behind him. (Photo by Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communications)

    Deep in a laboratory tucked away in the basement of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), intern Mark Thom punched commands into a computer as two other students checked a chamber where a silver robotic arm extended from a small port.

    The arm will allow scientists studying neutrinos that originated at the beginning of the universe to load a tiny amount of nuclear material into the device while still maintaining a vacuum in the PTOLEMY laboratory.

    Thom, along with high school interns Xaymara Rivera and Willma Arias de la Rosa, worked closely with Princeton University physicist Chris Tully and PPPL engineers to get the robotic arm moving again. The crucial device will load tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, into PTOLEMY, the Princeton Tritium Observatory for Light, Early Universe Massive Neutrino Yield.

    Tritium can capture Big Bang neutrinos and release them with electrons in radioactive decay. The neutrinos can provide a tiny boost of energy to the electrons, which PTOLEMY is designed to precisely measure in the darkest, coldest conditions possible. It is funded by the Mark Simons Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation.

    “For me it was just amazing that I actually got onto that project,” Thom said. “It’s exactly the kind of thing I thought I would like to do, being an engineer working on a high-energy physics project.”

    The robotic arm, together with the portable container and the computer program to operate it, were recycled from another experiment when Thom and fellow interns Rivera and Arias de la Rosa began the project. Thom was responsible for making the arm operational and altering it so it would fit PTOLEMY.

    Handling delicate materials

    Tully said the device can safely handle very delicate radioactive materials from DOE’s Savannah River National Laboratory. Without the device, scientists would have to shut down PTOLEMY completely twice a day to change the tritium sample, he said. Maintaining a vacuum in PTOLEMY is also necessary for the extremely sensitive sensors that measure the energy spectrum of the electrons emitted from the tritium to function properly.

    To make the robotic arm function again, Thom had to analyze why the coding was failing, which meant learning the code for the machine. He had to learn an unfamiliar program and then rewrite it to redirect the arm to handle tritium samples, without having worked on a device of that kind before, Tully said.

    The students encountered a setback when the arm stopped working. At first, they thought the device would need a new motor, which would cost $20,000. It turned out that the culprit was a circuit that would cost just a few dollars to replace. While Tully fixed the computer, Thom took the arm apart and researched how to install magnetic shielding around the motors and sketched a design for that shielding, Tully said. “Mark was quite amazing,” he said. “I was very impressed with him.”

    Thom also designed a cover for one of the ports that would need to be sealed for the robotic arm to work. Rivera and Arias de la Rosa helped him operate and test the robotic arm and wrote procedures for running it. Thom and the other interns also worked with PPPL engineers Charles Gentile and Mike Mardenfeld, along with senior mechanical technician Andy Carpe and lead technician Jim Taylor.

    Gentile, who supervised Thom and other engineering interns, said Thom was one of the best interns he has seen in 25 years of supervising more than 200 interns. “He’s an excellent mechanical engineer,” Gentile said. “He was a hard worker and he came up with innovative solutions to problems.”

    The arm connects to PTOLEMY through two ports equipped with valves. One valve connects to the experiment. The other connects to a loading chamber where scientists can insert a tiny sample of tritium on a graphene base.

    Researchers would create a vacuum in the loading chamber and attach it to the vacuum chamber of PTOLEMY. The robotic arm could then collect the tritium and graphene sample and deposit it into PTOLEMY. Researchers would next retract the arm and close the valve connecting it to PTOLEMY.

    Following parents’ footsteps

    Thom, who is in his final year of master’s degree work at Howard University, is from Trinidad. The son of two engineers, he considered becoming a physician and briefly flirted with the idea of being an actor or music producer before choosing to follow in his parents’ footsteps.

    Thom studied engineering as an undergraduate at Howard. He learned about the internship when Andrea Moten, PPPL acting director of human resources, and engineer Atiba Brereton met him at National Laboratory Day at Howard University in February. The two passed Thom’s resume along to Gentile as a candidate for the engineering apprenticeship program.

    The graduate student recently celebrated his one-year anniversary with his wife, Sydney, who is also an engineer and is currently teaching at a Kipp DC Middle School in Washington, D.C. Thom commuted to Washington every weekend on Friday nights to see her and then headed back to New Jersey on Monday mornings. “It was challenging at first,” he said. “But after a while I got accustomed to it and I actually began to appreciate those drives because it gave me some time to think.”

    Thom said he enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere at PPPL. He was surprised when Gentile told him he was overdressed on his first day. But he most enjoyed talking to researchers about their work. “I met some really cool people – a bunch of physicists whom I was able to have certain conversations with, just talking about abstract theories. That’s the kind of conversation I enjoy,” Thom said. “Being able to interact with people like that in that atmosphere was really enjoyable.”

    The internship gave him a better idea of possible careers as he prepares to graduate, Thom said. “I had a limited view of the engineering world prior to going into this work,” he said. “But now I have a better idea of the kind of environment I’d like to be in, so it gives me idea of what I should do to prepare for that environment.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University. PPPL, on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. Results of PPPL research have ranged from a portable nuclear materials detector for anti-terrorist use to universally employed computer codes for analyzing and predicting the outcome of fusion experiments. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:38 am on September 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Clint Wiseman SCGSR Award winner, , Neutrinos,   

    From SURF: “SCGSR Award opens door to new research” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    1
    Clint Wiseman. Credit: Constance Walter

    In an article he wrote for the University of South Carolina physics newsletter, Clint Wiseman said, “For the last three years I’ve been living under a rock with neutrinos on my mind.” The University of South Carolina (USC) graduate student was referring to his work on the Majorana Demonstrator Project, which is located on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab. But all of that is about to change.

    Majorana Demonstrator Experiment
    Majorana Demonstrator Experiment

    Wiseman recently learned he had received a Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) award. In January, he heads to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico to work on his Ph.D. project for six months.

    “My work with Majorana gave me confidence that I could get the award,” he said. “Still, I was speechless. I was flabbergasted. I was elated.”

    Wiseman has been involved in almost every aspect of the Majorana experiment: construction, commissioning, operation, and data analysis. “One of my colleagues told me that he’s done everything on Majorana incorrectly and correctly. That applies to me also,” Wiseman said. Still, he’s learned a great deal.

    “Clint is highly motivated and talented,” said Vince Guiseppe, an assistant professor of physics at USC and Wiseman’s advisor. “With this SCGSR award, he has the added opportunity to expand upon his dissertation work and gain experience at a National Laboratory.”

    To be considered for the SCGSR, graduate students must submit a proposal that is in line with their dissertation. Wiseman’s thesis focuses on cosmic ray and solar axion studies with Majorana. The project he proposed to DOE focuses on ways to improve shielding of germanium detectors.

    In the search for a rare form of radioactive decay, called neutrinoless double-beta decay, scientists use special shielding to eliminate background noise from cosmic rays. The Majorana experiment operates within a vacuum: the detectors are placed in a copper cryostat and surrounded by a six-layered shield. Conversely, the German experiment GERDA has an active shield: the detectors are submerged in liquid argon.

    “Both have advantages and disadvantages,” Wiseman said. So, he is proposing something that has never been done: operating a germanium detector in a gas environment.

    Could that remove problems with current shielding environments? Wiseman doesn’t know, but through his work at Los Alamos, he hopes to find out.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    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.
    LUX/Dark matter experiment at SURFLUX/Dark matter experiment 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.

    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.

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 11:39 am on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Day in the Life of Engineering Physicist Linda Bagby, , , Neutrinos,   

    From FNAL: Women in STEM – “A Day in the Life of Engineering Physicist Linda Bagby” Video 

    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.

    Linda Bagby keeps Fermilab’s neutrino experiments grounded. As an engineering physicist and electrical coordinator for Fermilab’s short-baseline neutrino program, she integrates the electronic subsystems into an experiment where all the electronics work together. You might find her cheerfully fielding questions in Wilson Hall, taking painstaking measurements at one of the detector sites or meticulously inspecting equipment at a test site.

    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.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:17 pm on September 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Neutrinos, Northern Illinois University,   

    From NIU via FNAL: “NIU joins DUNE project” 

    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.

    2
    NorthernStar

    3
    Northern Illinois University

    Sep 15, 2016
    Samantha Malone

    4

    DeKALB | Dan Boyden, third year physics graduate, is hoping to be sent to Switzerland to work hands-on for DUNE, an international particle experiment including more than 140 labs and universities across 27 countries.

    DUNE, which stands for Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, aims to reveal things about the universe, like why the world has more matter than antimatter. NIU was asked to join the project which is being led by Associate Physics Professor Vishnu Zutshi and Physics Professor Michael Eads.

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF
    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF

    Boyden got involved in the experiment when a friend told him that his professor was looking for help on the project. Boyden said he saw the project as a great opportunity to network and get hands-on experience. Networking is vital in his field, and working on DUNE provides the opportunity to connect with many people, Boyden said.

    Zutshi and Eads approached DUNE and were later asked to join the experiment as a result of Zutshi’s knowledge on the topics the experiment explores, like photon detectors.

    “The point to make is this is a new effort here at NIU,” Eads said. “We’re hoping to ramp this up and get more people involved in the near future.”

    The DUNE project hopes to measure the properties of neutrinos, a nearly neutral fundamental particle of the universe, as they travel. There are three types of neutrinos, and as they travel, they can change from one type to another. This process is called oscillation, Physics Professor David Hedin said.

    NIU’s task for DUNE is to build and test the photon detector systems that will measure the neutrino oscillations as they travel. Boyden was assigned the task of testing these systems, which he said were essentially light detectors.

    “I’m performing the tests that are needed for NIU to perform their part,” Boyden said. “Right now, we’ve been mostly just measuring background noise and things like that associated with electronics.”

    While Boyden is the only student involved in the project, Eads said he hopes to provide opportunities for more graduate and undergraduate physics students in the future.

    The photon detectors Boyden is working with will tell scientists on the DUNE team when a neutrino changes, which could allow them to determine the probability of such action, Eads said. Determining that probability could tell scientists why the universe has more matter than antimatter, which allows people to exist, Hedin said.

    “We still have a big question mark about what caused the matter-antimatter difference,” Hedin said. “The guess right now is that the matter-antimatter difference in our universe is in the type of particles like electrons and neutrinos.”

    Hedin, Eads and Zutshi work at Fermilab as visiting scientists. Fermilab and NIU have a partnership that Hedin said gives students and faculty great opportunities. Eads said the close proximity NIU has to Fermilab enhances that.

    Fermilab will house the proton accelerator and produce the neutrinos that will be measured in the DUNE experiment.

    “So what the DUNE project is all about is studying neutrinos,” Eads said. “Neutrinos are one of the particles that make everything up, and we’re just trying to better understand how neutrinos work and what their properties are.”

    DUNE plans to do this by using the world’s largest neutrino beam to shoot the neutrinos from Fermilab, Outer Ring Road, located in Batavia, to Sanford Underground Research Lab in Lead, South Dakota. As the neutrinos travel underground, DUNE will be monitoring their properties and looking for a change in the type of neutrino.

    SURF logo
    surf-dune-lbnf-caverns-at-sanford-lab
    DUNE at SURF

    Because of the massive scale of the project, the first beam is not expected to be launched until 2026, but NIU has already begun work on its contributions.

    “It’s one of those fun research things where it’s not immediately clear how useful it’s [going to] be,” Eads said. “But if you understand the universe better, then it has to be good for something.”

    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.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: