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  • richardmitnick 5:08 pm on September 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Neutrinos, New Results for the Mass of Neutrinos,   

    From Karlsruhe Institute of Technology: “New Results for the Mass of Neutrinos” 

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    From Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

    16.09.2019

    Dr. Joachim Hoffmann
    Redakteur/Pressereferent
    Tel.: +49 721 608-21151
    joachim hoffmann∂kit edu

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    The layout and major features of the KATRIN experimental facility at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
    Overview of the 70 m long KATRIN setup with its major components a) windowless gaseous tritium source, b) pumping section, and c) electrostatic spectrometers and focal plane detector. (Fig.: Michaela Meloni, KIT)

    Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino Experiment KATRIN limits Neutrino Masses to less than 1 eV.

    Neutrinos and their small non-zero masses play a key role in cosmology and particle physics. The allowed range of the mass scale has now been narrowed down by the initial results of the international Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino Experiment (KATRIN). The analysis of a first four-week measurement run in spring 2019 limits neutrino masses to less than approximately 1 eV, which is smaller by a factor of 2 compared to previous laboratory results based on multi-year campaigns. This demonstrates the huge potential of KATRIN in elucidating novel properties of neutrinos over the coming years.

    Apart from photons, the fundamental quanta of light, neutrinos are the most abundant elementary particles in the universe. The observation of neutrino oscillations two decades ago proved that they possess a small non-zero mass, contrary to earlier expectations. Accordingly, the “light-weights of the universe” play a prominent role in the evolution of large-scale structures in the cosmos as well as in the world of elementary particles, where their small mass scale points to new physics beyond known theories. Over the coming years, the most precise scale of the world, the international KATRIN experiment located at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), is set to measure the mass of the fascinating neutrinos with unprecedented precision.

    In the past years, the KATRIN collaboration, formed by 20 institutions from 7 countries, successfully mastered many technological challenges in the commissioning of the 70 m long experimental setup (see Fig. 1). In mid-2018, KATRIN reached an important milestone with the
    official inauguration of the beamline. In spring this year, the big moment finally arrived: the 150-strong team (see Fig. 2) was able to “put neutrinos on the ultra-precise scale of KATRIN” for the first time. To that end, high-purity tritium gas was circulated over weeks through the source cryostat, and high statistics energy spectra of electrons were collected. Following this, the international analysis team went to work on extracting the first neutrino mass result from the spring 2019 measurement campaign.

    KATRIN’s current result builds upon years of effort, which established a data-processing framework, identified and constrained key backgrounds and sources of uncertainty, and constructed a comprehensive model of the instrumental response. Through simulations and test measurements, an international team of analysts gained a deep understanding of the experiment and its detailed behavior. In spring 2019, both hardware and analysis groups were ready for taking neutrino mass data. Thierry Lasserre (CEA, Frankreich, Max Planck Institute for Physics, Munich), analysis coordinator for this first measurement campaign, described what happened as the data came in: “Our three international analysis teams deliberately worked separately from each other to guarantee truly independent results. In doing so, special emphasis was put on securing that no team member was able to prematurely deduce the neutrino mass result before completion of the final analysis step.”

    As is customary in today’s precision experiments, vital additional information required to complete the analysis was veiled, a process known to specialists as “blinding.” To coordinate their final steps, the analysts met for a one-week workshop at KIT in mid-July. By late evening on July 18, the uncertainties were finalized and the spectral models were unblinded. As a result, the analysis programs simultaneously performed overnight fits to search for the tell-tale signature of a massive neutrino. The following morning, all three groups announced identical results, which limit the absolute mass of neutrinos to a value of less than 1 electron-volt (eV) at 90% confidence. Thus, half a million of the neutrinos weigh less than one electron, the second lightest elementary particle.

    The two long-term co-spokespersons of the experiment, Guido Drexlin from KIT and Christian Weinheimer from Münster University, comment on this very first result with great joy: “The fact that it took KATRIN only a few weeks to provide a world-leading sensitivity and to improve on the multi-year campaigns of the predecessor experiments by a factor of 2 demonstrates the extraordinary high potential of our project”. The KIT Vice-President for Research, Oliver Kraft, congratulates the collaboration “on this fantastic achievement which builds on the many technological breakthroughs reached over the past years. These world-leading benchmarks would not have been possible without the close cooperation of all partners bundling their unique expertise.”

    Kathrin Valerius, leader of a Helmholtz Young Investigators Group, is coordinating KATRIN analysis activities at KIT. During the commissioning phase, her team worked in particular on precision modeling of the tritium source as well as on dedicated calibration and test measurements leading up to neutrino mass data taking: “We are delighted that the intense preparations are now bearing fruit, and proud to be able to analyze the first neutrino mass data with this highly motivated team.”

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    Electron energy spectrum of tritium scanning together with fitted model, from which neutrino mass is derived. (Graphik: Lisa Schlüter, TU München)

    The analyses, which were presented at a recent scientific symposium in Toyama, Japan, and simultaneously have been submitted to a renowned science journal for publication, make use of a fundamental principle known for a long time in direct kinematic studies of neutrino mass: in the beta decay process of tritium, the electron and its neutral, undetected partner, the (electron) neutrino, statistically share the available decay energy of 18.6 keV. In extremely rare cases, the electron effectively obtains the entire decay energy, while the neutrino is left with almost no energy, the minimum amount being – following Einstein – its rest mass E = mc². It is this tiny spectral distortion due to the non-zero neutrino mass that the KATRIN team was looking for in an ensemble of more than 2 million electrons collected over a few tens of eV narrow energy interval close to the kinematic endpoint (see Fig. 3).

    This is only a tiny fraction of the total number of 25 billion electrons generated per second in the gaseous molecular tritium source of KATRIN. To maintain this huge number of decays, a closed tritium cycle at high throughput is mandatory. Operation of this unprecedented high-luminosity source requires the entire infrastructure of the Karlsruhe Tritium Laboratory, where the source cryostats are located. The adjacent huge electrostatic main spectrometer of 24 m length and 10 m diameter then acts as precision filter to transmit only the extremely tiny fraction of highest-energy electrons carrying information about the neutrino mass. Variation of the ultra-precise (on the ppm scale) retarding potential over tens of volts then gives unprecedented precision in the spectroscopy of electrons from tritium decay.

    With the now established world-leading upper limit of the neutrino mass, KATRIN has taken its first successful step in elucidating unknown properties of neutrinos, many more steps will follow in the co
    ming years. The two co-spokespersons look forward to further significant improvements of the neutrino mass sensitivity and in the search for novel effects beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics. In the name of the entire collaboration, they would also like to thank the awarding authorities for their long-term support in the realization and operation of the experiment: “KATRIN is not only a shining beacon of fundamental research and an outstandingly reliable high-tech instrument, but also a motor of international cooperation which provides first-class training of young researchers.”

    Being „The Research University in the Helmholtz Association“, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility and information. For this, about 9,300 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 25,100 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life.

    See the full article here .

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    Mission Statement of KIT

    Preamble

    The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, briefly referred to as KIT, was established by the merger of the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH and the Universität Karlsruhe (TH) on October 01, 2009. KIT combines the tasks of a university of the state of Baden-Württemberg with those of a research center of the Helmholtz Association in the areas of research, teaching, and innovation.

    The KIT merger represents the consistent continuation of a long-standing close cooperation of two research and education institutions rich in tradition. The University of Karlsruhe was founded in 1825 as a Polytechnical School and has developed to a modern location of research and education in natural sciences, engineering, economics, social sciences, and the humanities, which is organized in eleven departments. The Karlsruhe Research Center was founded in 1956 as the Nuclear Reactor Construction and Operation Company and has turned into a multidisciplinary large-scale research center of the Helmholtz Association, which conducts research under eleven scientific and engineering programs.

    In 2014/15, the KIT concentrated on an overarching strategy process to further develop its corporate strategy. This mission statement as the result of a participative process was the first element to be incorporated in the strategy process.

    Mission Statement of KIT

    KIT combines the traditions of a renowned technical university and a major large-scale research institution in a very unique way. In research and education, KIT assumes responsibility for contributing to the sustainable solution of the grand challenges that face the society, industry, and the environment. For this purpose, KIT uses its financial and human resources with maximum efficiency. The scientists of KIT communicate the contents and results of their work to society.

    Engineering sciences, natural sciences, the humanities, and social sciences make up the scope of subjects covered by KIT. In high interdisciplinary interaction, scientists of these disciplines study topics extending from the fundamentals to application and from the development of new technologies to the reflection of the relationship between man and technology. For this to be accomplished in the best possible way, KIT’s research covers the complete range from fundamental research to close-to-industry, applied research and from small research partnerships to long-term large-scale research projects. Scientific sincerity and the striving for excellence are the basic principles of our activities.

    Worldwide exchange of knowledge, large-scale international research projects, numerous global cooperative ventures, and cultural diversity characterize and enrich the life and work at KIT. Academic education at KIT is guided by the principle of research-oriented teaching. Early integration into interdisciplinary research projects and international teams and the possibility of using unique research facilities open up exceptional development perspectives for our students.

    The development of viable technologies and their use in industry and the society are the cornerstones of KIT’s activities. KIT supports innovativeness and entrepreneurial culture in various ways. Moreover, KIT supports a culture of creativity, in which employees and students have time and space to develop new ideas.

    Cooperation of KIT employees, students, and members is characterized by mutual respect and trust. Achievements of every individual are highly appreciated. Employees and students of KIT are offered equal opportunities irrespective of the person. Family-friendliness is a major objective of KIT as an employer. KIT supports the compatibility of job and family. As a consequence, the leadership culture of KIT is also characterized by respect and cooperation. Personal responsibility and self-motivation of KIT employees and members are fostered by transparent and participative decisions, open communication, and various options for life-long learning.

    The structure of KIT is tailored to its objectives in research, education, and innovation. It supports flexible, synergy-based cooperation beyond disciplines, organizations, and hierarchies. Efficient services are rendered to support KIT employees and members in their work.

    Young people are our future. Reliable offers and career options excellently support KIT’s young scientists and professionals in their professional and personal development.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:28 pm on September 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Neutrinos,   

    From U Wisconsin IceCube Collaboration: “How to deal with “dust” in the Antarctic ice” 

    U Wisconsin ICECUBE neutrino detector at the South Pole

    From From U Wisconsin IceCube Collaboration

    06 Sep 2019
    Madeleine O’Keefe

    Even in Antarctica, scientists have to deal with a little dust in their detectors.

    The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is an array of over 5,000 optical sensors embedded in a cubic kilometer of ice at the South Pole. Ice has ideal properties for detecting neutrinos, so IceCube physicists took advantage of Antarctica’s abundant supply to construct their state-of-the-art neutrino observatory.

    But this comes with its own set of challenges. Most particle physics experiments are built with materials that can be characterized in the lab before installation. Meanwhile, the naturally occurring ice in which IceCube is embedded has impurities that reflect the climate history and atmospheric composition of the Earth. These impurities—all of which are referred to as “dust,” even though mineral dust is only one major component—affect how light travels through the IceCube detector and thus how the neutrino interactions appear.

    In a technical paper submitted to the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics earlier this week, the IceCube Collaboration presents a new method to understand the optical properties of the ice, called the SnowStorm method. More specifically, the paper explores how SnowStorm might affect high-precision analyses, including upcoming sterile neutrino results.

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    Parameters used to formulate the ice model that is used by the SnowStorm approach. Each wave represents a part of the ice model that will be varied to understand the uncertainty in IceCube physics analyses. Credit: IceCube Collaboration

    As IceCube collects more data, it can produce increasingly precise measurements of the behavior of neutrinos. In order to make these measurements, though, it is mandatory that researchers gain a better understanding of the way the detector responds. Some of the major uncertainties in the high-precision study of neutrinos in IceCube involve understanding the properties of the glacial ice at the South Pole.

    One large source of systematic uncertainty is dust distribution in IceCube. This is because the effective dust concentration as a function of depth is difficult to estimate; it would require simulations for neutrino events in every reasonable ice model configuration, which is at present computationally unfeasible. In addition, the dust concentration varies continuously as a function of depth, and the uncertainty on this continuous function needs to be constrained and propagated without introducing an overwhelming number of nuisance parameters.

    So IceCube collaborators, led by University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) assistant professor of physics Ben Jones, developed SnowStorm, a fundamentally new way of simulating the IceCube experiment. Unlike the conventional Monte Carlo simulations, where scientists simulate events with different neutrino energies and angles, Jones and his collaborators randomized the detector’s optical properties in every simulated event. They then developed a mathematical framework to use those events to understand how they would affect measurements of neutrino properties.

    “This is a new technique for particle physics experiments, with applicability beyond IceCube, and so we decided to publish it so that other experimental physics collaborations can put its power to use,” says Jones.

    The SnowStorm method satisfied all the checks to which it was subjected. It has been adopted as the ice uncertainty model for the upcoming search for sterile neutrinos, in which hundreds of thousands of detected neutrinos will be used to test for the existence of hypothetical new neutrinos that have been suggested by other experiments, like the Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector (LSND) and MiniBooNE.

    The IceCube group at UTA is now working to extend the use of these powerful techniques to other analyses in IceCube, including the high-energy astrophysical neutrino measurements. They also hope to extend their applicability to other sources of systematic uncertainty, such as detector efficiencies and neutrino flux properties.

    See the full article here .

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    IceCube is a particle detector at the South Pole that records the interactions of a nearly massless sub-atomic particle called the neutrino. IceCube searches for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources: events like exploding stars, gamma ray bursts, and cataclysmic phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars. The IceCube telescope is a powerful tool to search for dark matter, and could reveal the new physical processes associated with the enigmatic origin of the highest energy particles in nature. In addition, exploring the background of neutrinos produced in the atmosphere, IceCube studies the neutrinos themselves; their energies far exceed those produced by accelerator beams. IceCube is the world’s largest neutrino detector, encompassing a cubic kilometer of ice.

    IceCube employs more than 5000 detectors lowered on 86 strings into almost 100 holes in the Antarctic ice NSF B. Gudbjartsson, IceCube Collaboration

    Lunar Icecube

    IceCube DeepCore annotated

    IceCube PINGU annotated


    DM-Ice II at IceCube annotated

     
  • richardmitnick 9:02 am on August 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Neutrino scientists are looking for something called “charge-parity violation” often shortened to CP violation., Neutrinos, Neutrinos could play a key role in why our universe is made of matter., , Physics is driven by symmetries. One key symmetry dictates that matter and antimatter are handled the same. In physics everything is invariant under charge; parity; and time., Researchers have proposed a process that treats matter and antimatter slightly differently- a process that does not conserve the charge and parity parts of CPT., Scientists already know that CP is violated for one major building block of the universe: the quarks., , The abundance of matter means that after the particles and antiparticles annihilate with each other somehow there was extra matter leftover which now makes up the universe that we live in.   

    From FNAL Via SURF: “All Things Neutrino” 

    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.

    via

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research Facility

    Do neutrinos violate the symmetries of physics?

    The basics

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    Credit: Symmetry Magazine / Sandbox Studio, Chicago

    One of the biggest mysteries in neutrino research is whether neutrinos and their antimatter twins, antineutrinos, behave the same way. This turns out to be a very important question—if the answer is no, it could explain how our universe full of matter came to exist.

    Scientists think that matter and antimatter should have been created in equal proportions at the birth of the universe, yet when the two interact, they annihilate into pure energy. This should have left an empty universe. However, you’ve probably noticed all of the stuff made of matter around you. This kind of asymmetry is fascinating. It makes us want to know: How did this imbalance arise?

    Neutrino scientists are looking for something called “charge-parity violation,” often shortened to CP violation. This complicated-sounding term really just asks if neutrinos and antineutrinos can pull off “the old switcheroo.” That is, does the universe treat the matter and antimatter particles identically? Scientists know neutrinos change flavors as they travel, a phenomenon known as oscillation. If the oscillations of neutrinos are fundamentally different from the oscillations of antineutrinos, then CP is broken.

    Scientists already know that CP is violated for one major building block of the universe: the quarks. However, the discrepancy is not enough to account for the matter-rich world around us. But if CP were also violated among neutrinos, it could point us towards the answer.

    More Info

    Neutrinos could play a key role in why our universe is made of matter.

    Physics is driven by symmetries. One key symmetry dictates that matter and antimatter are handled the same. In physics everything is invariant under charge, parity, and time; this is called the CPT theorem. This means if you were to change all of these things together, the universe would still react exactly the same. Therefore, for every process that produces a particle, there is a mirror process that produces an antiparticle. So during the Big Bang, we would have expected that the universe was formed with equal amounts of particles and antiparticles that would then annihilate with each other into pure energy.

    Yet we know that the universe is full of matter and that everything in it, every star, planet, and galaxy, is made of matter and not antimatter. This abundance of matter means that after the particles and antiparticles annihilate with each other, somehow there was extra matter leftover, which now makes up the universe that we live in.

    How this happened is a big mystery. In fact, this is one of the biggest mysteries that physicists are trying to solve. This question is fundamental to our understanding of how we came to exist.

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    Credit: Symmetry Magazine / Fermilab / Sandbox Studio, Chicago

    Researchers have proposed a process that treats matter and antimatter slightly differently, a process that does not conserve the charge and parity parts of CPT. If this were the case, it would mean that a tiny bit more matter than antimatter was produced in the Big Bang.

    In 1967 Andrei Sakharov, A Russian physicist, came up with three conditions that must be met in order for matter and antimatter to be produced at different rates. These are:

    That the number of baryons (particles made of three quarks) produced in an interaction must not be conserved
    That the charge and parity of particles produced in an interaction must not be conserved
    These interactions must be out of thermal equilibrium

    Physicists have searched for particles that do not conserve baryon number and, while they have found examples, they have not found this on a scale that can solve this problem. But there is another way to achieve this: if the number of leptons (the class of particles that include neutrinos as well as the charged electron, muon, and tau) produced in an interaction aren’t conserved, this can lead to a difference in the number of baryons.

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    The NOvA experiment studies beams of neutrinos and antineutrinos at Fermilab and again 500 miles away in Minnesota. NOvA collaborators hope to learn the mass ordering of the neutrinos and find any differences between neutrinos and their antimatter partners. Credit: NOvA collaboration / Fermilab

    Physics have been searching for this process that treats leptons and antileptons differently to help explain matter’s dominance in our universe. This process is called leptogenesis. And neutrinos, one kind of lepton, are a prime candidate.

    Some neutrino models contain heavy right-handed neutrinos, never before seen by scientists, that could have existed early in the universe’s history. These could have decayed in a way that did not conserve lepton number.

    A variety of experiments, including NOvA, T2K, and DUNE, will search for the answer to a big part of this puzzle. They’ll look to see if neutrinos and antineutrinos conserve charge and parity. If it’s found that neutrinos don’t conserve CP, it could help us understand how the universe evolved to what we see today.

    FNAL/NOvA experiment map

    T2K map, T2K Experiment, Tokai to Kamioka, Japan

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

    Even More

    Physicists are particularly interested in symmetries of nature and whether those symmetries ever break. When scientists say “neutrinos might violate CP,” this is really just shorthand for asking if a particular kind of symmetry, charge-parity symmetry, is broken. Do neutrinos and antineutrinos behave differently, and does nature have a preference for one over the other? From the point of view of neutrino oscillations, this means that neutrinos and antineutrinos might oscillate at different rates—something many experiments have seen hints of and are searching for.

    Neutrino oscillations are characterized by “mixing parameters,” which dictate how the mass states add up to form the particular flavor states. (Mixing parameters also look at the differences between the squares of the three mass states.)

    The particular quantum combination of neutrino mass states that make up the neutrino flavor states is controlled via the so-called Pontecorvo-Maki-Nakagawa-Sakata (PMNS) mixing matrix.

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    The left image shows the sizes of the the CKM matrix elements for quark mixing, and the right image shows the PMNS matrix elements for neutrino mixing. Credit: Sheldon Stone

    With three flavors (families) of neutrinos, the mixing matrix can be reduced to four independent components. These components are often written in a convenient format for experimentalists as three “mixing angles” and a CP-violating phase. Almost all of these mixing parameters have been measured to some degree, thanks to a suite of different neutrino oscillation experiments around the globe that use neutrinos from reactors, accelerators, and the sun. The one exception is the CP-violating phase. That phase could have any value, and if it turns out to be non-zero, then neutrinos and antineutrinos really do behave differently in ways that scientists did not expect.

    Neutrinos are not the first kind of particle where scientists have observed “mixing” between flavors. A similar kind of mixing was discovered in the 1960s with quarks, the point-like particles that make up protons, neutrons, and all other nuclei. A long and storied campaign ensued to measure the mixing parameters of the quark mixing matrix, often referred to as the Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa (CKM) matrix.

    After 30 years of very precise measurements, scientists know that the CKM mixing angles are relatively small, and that there is a striking lack of CP violation that many had hoped could explain the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe. In contrast, the PMNS matrix consists of relatively large (perhaps maximal) mixing angles, but the actual values of the mixing angles have not been precisely determined. These large but imprecise mixing angles are a driving force behind the desire to make more precise measurements, as such measurements could help rule out or support hints of physics beyond the Standard Model—bringing us one step closer to understanding our universe.

    See the full here.


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    FNAL Icon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    LBNE

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

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

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA


    CASPAR at SURF


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

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

    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 12:35 pm on August 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Physicists Working to Discover New Particles, , , , , , Neutrinos, Texas Tech, The LDMX Experiment   

    From Texas Tech via FNAL: “Physicists Working to Discover New Particles, Dark Matter” 

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    From TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY

    via

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

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

    August 5, 2019
    Glenys Young, Texas Tech

    Faculty recently presented their work at the European Physical Society’s 2019 Conference on High Energy Physics.

    Texas Tech University is well known for its research on topics that hit close to home for us here on the South Plains, like agriculture, water use and climate. But Texas Tech also is making its name known among those who study the farthest reaches of space and the mysteries of matter.

    Faculty from the Texas Tech Department of Physics & Astronomy recently presented at the European Physical Society’s 2019 Conference on High Energy Physics on the search for dark matter and other new particles that could help unlock the history and nature of the universe.

    New ways to approach the most classical search for new particles.

    Texas Tech, led by professor and department chair Sung-Won Lee, has been playing a leading role in new-particle hunt for more than a decade. As part of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment, which investigates a wide range of physics, including the search for extra dimensions and particles that could make up dark matter, Lee has led the new-particle search at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

    1
    Lee

    “Basically, we’re looking for any experimental evidence of new particles that could open the door to whole new realms of physics that researchers believe could be there,” Lee said. “Researchers at Texas Tech are continuing to look for elusive new particles in the CMS experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and if found, we could answer some of the most profound questions about the structure of matter and the evolution of the early universe.”

    The LHC essentially bounces around tiny particles at incredibly high speeds to see what happens when the particles collide. Lee’s search focuses on identifying possible hints of new physics that could add more subatomic particles to the Standard Model of particle physics.

    LHC

    CERN map


    CERN LHC Maximilien Brice and Julien Marius Ordan


    CERN LHC particles

    THE FOUR MAJOR PROJECT COLLABORATIONS

    ATLAS

    CERN ATLAS Image Claudia Marcelloni CERN/ATLAS

    ALICE

    CERN/ALICE Detector


    CMS

    CERN CMS New

    LHCb
    CERN LHCb New II

    “The Standard Model has been enormously successful, but it leaves many important questions unanswered,” Lee said.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics

    “It is also widely acknowledged that, from the theoretical standpoint, the Standard Model must be part of a larger theory, ‘Beyond the Standard Model’ (BSM), which is yet to be experimentally confirmed.”

    Some BSM theories suggest that the production and decay of new particles could be observed in the LHC by the resulting highly energetic jets that shoot out in opposite directions (dijets) and the resonances they leave. Thus the search for new particles depends on the search for these resonances. In some ways, it’s like trying to trace air movements to find a fan you can’t see, hear or touch.

    In 2018-19, in collaboration with the CMS group, Texas Tech’s team performed a search for narrow dijet resonances using a newly available dataset at the LHC. The data were consistent with the Standard Model predictions, and no significant deviations from the pure background hypothesis were observed. But one spectacular collision was recorded in which the masses of the two jets were the same. This evidence allows for the possibility that the jets originated from BSM-hypothesized particle decay.

    “Since the LHC is the highest energy collider currently in operation, it is crucial to pay special attention to the highest-dijet-mass events where first hints of new physics at higher energies could start to appear,” Lee said. “This unusual high-mass event could likely be a collision created by the Standard Model background or possibly the first hint of new physics, but with only one event in hand, it is not possible to say which.”

    For now, Lee, postdoctoral research fellow Federico De Guio and doctoral student Zhixing (Tyler) Wang are working to update the dijet resonance search using the full LHC dataset and extend the scope of the analysis.

    “This extension of the search could help prove space-time-matter theory, which requires the existence of several extra spatial dimensions to the universe,” Lee said. “I believe that, with our extensive research experience, Texas Tech’s High Energy Physics group can contribute to making such discoveries.”

    Enhancing the missing momentum microscope

    Included in the ongoing new-particle search using the LHC is the pursuit of dark matter, an elusive, invisible form of matter that dominates the matter content of the universe.

    “Currently, the LHC is producing the highest-energy collisions from an accelerator in the world, and my primary research interest is in understanding whether or not new states of matter are being produced in these collisions,” said Andrew Whitbeck, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy.

    4
    Whitbeck

    “Specifically, we are looking for dark matter produced in association with quarks, the constituents of the proton and neutron. These signatures are important for both understanding the nature of dark matter, but also the nature of the Higgs boson, a cornerstone of our theory for how elementary particles interact.”

    The discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC in 2012 was a widely celebrated accomplishment of the LHC and the detector collaborations involved.

    Peter Higgs


    CERN CMS Higgs Event


    CERN ATLAS Higgs Event

    However, the mere existence of the Higgs boson has provoked a lot of questions about whether there are new particles that could help us better understand the Higgs boson and other questions, like why gravity is so weak compared to other forces.

    As an offshoot of that finding, Whitbeck has been working to better understand a type of particle called neutrinos.

    “Neutrinos are a unique particle in the catalog of known particles in that they are the lightest matter particles, and they only can interact with particles via the Weak force, which, as its name suggests, only produces a feeble force between neutrinos and other matter,” Whitbeck said. “Neutrinos are so weakly interacting at the energies produced by the LHC that it is very likely a neutrino travels through the entire earth without deviating from its initial trajectory.

    “Dark matter is expected to behave similarly given that, despite being all around us, we don’t directly see it. This means that in looking for dark matter produced in proton-proton collisions, we often find lots of neutrinos. Understanding how many events with neutrinos there are is an important first step to understanding if there are events with dark matter.”

    Since the discovery of the Higgs boson, many of the most obvious signatures have come up empty for any signs of dark matter, and the latest results are some of the most sensitive measurements done to date. However, Whitbeck and his fellow scientists will continue to look for many more subtle signatures as well as a very powerful signature in which dark matter hypothetically is produced almost by itself, with only one lonely proton fragment visible in the event. The strategy provides powerful constraints for the most difficult-to-see models of dark matter.

    “With all of the traditional ways of searching for dark matter in proton-proton collisions turning up empty, I have also been working to design a new experiment, the Light Dark Matter eXperiment (LDMX), that will employ detector technology and techniques similar to what is used at CMS to look for dark matter,” Whitbeck said.

    6
    Texas Tech The LDMX Experiment schematic

    “One significant difference is that LDMX will look at electrons bombarding a target. If the mass of dark matter is somewhere between the mass of the electron and the mass of the proton, this experiment will likely be able to see it.”

    Texas Tech also is working to upgrade the CMS detector so it can handle much higher rates of collisions after the LHC undergoes some upgrades of its own. The hope is that with higher rates, they’ll be able to see not only new massive particles but also the rarest of processes, such as the production of two Higgs bosons. This detector construction is ramping up now at Texas Tech’s new Advanced Physics Detector Laboratory at Reese Technology Center.

    Besides being a background for dark matter searches, neutrinos also are a growing focus of research in particle physics. Even now, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is able to produce intense beams of neutrinos that can be used to study their idiosyncrasies, but there are plans to upgrade the facility to produce the most intense beams of neutrinos ever and to place the most sensitive neutrino detectors nearby, making the U.S. the center of neutrino physics.

    FNAL/NOvA experiment map

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

    Measurements done with these neutrinos could unlock whether these particles play a big role in the creation of a matter-dominated universe.

    Texas Tech’s High Energy Physics group hopes that, in the near future, it can help tackle some of the challenges this endeavor presents.

    See the full here.


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    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.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:25 pm on July 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Michigan State University, Neutrinos, , ,   

    From U Wisconsin IceCube Collaboration: A Flock of Articles on NSF Grant to Upgrade IceCube 

    U Wisconsin ICECUBE neutrino detector at the South Pole

    From From U Wisconsin IceCube Collaboration

    From U Wisconsin: “UW lab gears up for another Antarctic drilling campaign”

    With news that the National Science Foundation (NSF) and international partners will support an upgrade to the IceCube neutrino detector at the South Pole, the UW–Madison lab that built the novel drill used to bore mile-deep holes in the Antarctic ice is gearing up for another drilling campaign.

    The UW’s Physical Sciences Laboratory (PSL), which specializes in making customized equipment for UW–Madison researchers, will once again lead drilling operations. The $37 million upgrade announced this week (July 16, 2019) will expand the IceCube detector by adding seven new strings of 108 optical modules each to study the basic properties of neutrinos, phantom-like particles that emanate from black holes and exploding stars, but that also cascade through Earth’s atmosphere as a result of colliding subatomic particles.

    1
    “It takes a crew of 30 people to run this 24/7. It’s the people that make it work,” says Bob Paulos, director of the Physical Sciences Lab. Photo: Bryce Richter

    See the full article here .

    From U Wisconsin: “IceCube: Antarctic neutrino detector to get $37 million upgrade”

    2
    The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is located at NSF’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Management and operation of the observatory is through the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center at UW–Madison. Raffaela Busse, IceCube / NSF

    IceCube, the Antarctic neutrino detector that in July of 2018 helped unravel one of the oldest riddles in physics and astronomy — the origin of high-energy neutrinos and cosmic rays — is getting an upgrade.

    This month, the National Science Foundation (NSF) approved $23 million in funding to expand the detector and its scientific capabilities. Seven new strings of optical modules will be added to the 86 existing strings, adding more than 700 new, enhanced optical modules to the 5,160 sensors already embedded in the ice beneath the geographic South Pole.

    The upgrade, to be installed during the 2022–23 polar season, will receive additional support from international partners in Japan and Germany as well as from Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Total new investment in the detector will be about $37 million.

    See the full article here .

    From Niels Bohr Institute: “A new Upgrade for the IceCube detector”

    3
    Illustration of the IceCube laboratory under the South Pole. The sensors detecting neutrinos are attached to the strings lowered into the ice. The upgrade will take place in the Deep Core area. Illustration: IceCube/NSF

    Neutrino Research:

    The IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica is about to get a significant upgrade. This huge detector consists of 5,160 sensors embedded in a 1x1x1 km volume of glacial ice deep beneath the geographic South Pole. The purpose of the installation is to detect neutrinos, the “ghost particles” of the Universe. The IceCube Upgrade will add more than 700 new and enhanced optical sensors in the deepest, purest ice, greatly improving the observatory’s ability to measure low-energy neutrinos produced in the Earth’s atmosphere. The research in neutrinos at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen is led by Associate Professor Jason Koskinen

    See the full article here .

    From Michigan State University: “Upgrade for neutrino detector, thanks to NSF grant”

    5
    The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, the Antarctic detector that identified the first likely source of high-energy neutrinos and cosmic rays, is getting an upgrade. Courtesy of IceCube

    The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, the Antarctic detector that identified the first likely source of high-energy neutrinos and cosmic rays, is getting an upgrade.

    The National Science Foundation is upgrading the IceCube detector, extending its scientific capabilities to lower energies, and bridging IceCube to smaller neutrino detectors worldwide. The upgrade will insert seven strings of optical modules at the bottom center of the 86 existing strings, adding more than 700 new, enhanced optical modules to the 5,160 sensors already embedded in the ice beneath the geographic South Pole.

    The upgrade will include two new types of sensor modules, which will be tested for a ten-times-larger future extension of IceCube – IceCube-Gen2. The modules to be deployed in this first extension will be two to three times more sensitive than the ones that make up the current detector. This is an important benefit for neutrino studies, but it becomes even more relevant for planning the larger IceCube-Gen2.

    The $37 million extension, to be deployed during the 2022-23 polar field season, has now secured $23 million in NSF funding. Last fall, the upgrade office was set up, thanks to initial funding from NSF and additional support from international partners in Japan and Germany as well as from Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    See the full article here .

    From U Wisconsin IceCube: “The IceCube Upgrade: An international effort”

    The IceCube Upgrade project is an international collaboration made possible not only by support from the National Science Foundation but also thanks to significant contributions from partner institutions in the U.S. and around the world. Our national and international collaborators play a huge role in manufacturing new sensors, developing firmware, and much more. Learn more about a few of our partner institutions below.

    8
    The Chiba University group poses with one of the new D-Egg optical detectors. Credit: Chiba University

    Chiba University is responsible for the new D-Egg optical detectors, 300 of which will be deployed on the new Upgrade strings. A D-Egg is 30 percent smaller than the original IceCube DOM, but its photon detection effective area is twice as large thanks to two 8-inch PMTs in the specially designed egg-shaped vessel made of UV-transparent glass. Its up-down symmetric detection efficiency is expected to improve our precision for measuring Cherenkov light from neutrino interactions. The newly designed flasher devices in the D-Egg will also give a better understanding of optical characteristics in glacial ice to improve the resolution of arrival directions of cosmic neutrinos.

    See the full article here .

    From DESY: “Neutrino observatory IceCube receives significant upgrade”

    6
    Deep down in the perpetual ice of Antarctica IceCube watches out for a faint bluish glow that indicates a rare collision of a cosmic neutrino within the ice. Artist’s concept: DESY, Science Communication Lab

    Particle detector at the South Pole will be expanded to comprise a neutrino laboratory

    The international neutrino observatory IceCube at the South Pole will be considerably expanded in the coming years. In addition to the existing 5160 sensors, a further 700 optical modules will be installed in the perpetual ice of Antarctica. The National Science Foundation in the USA has approved 23 million US dollars for the expansion. The Helmholtz Centres DESY and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are supporting the construction of 430 new optical modules with a total of 5.7 million euros (6.4 million US dollars), which will turn the observatory into a neutrino laboratory. IceCube, for which Germany with a total of nine participating universities and the two Helmholtz Centres is the most important partner after the USA, had published convincing indications last year of a first source of high-energy neutrinos from the cosmos.

    See the full article here .

    See the full articles above .

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    Stem Education Coalition
    IceCube is a particle detector at the South Pole that records the interactions of a nearly massless sub-atomic particle called the neutrino. IceCube searches for neutrinos from the most violent astrophysical sources: events like exploding stars, gamma ray bursts, and cataclysmic phenomena involving black holes and neutron stars. The IceCube telescope is a powerful tool to search for dark matter, and could reveal the new physical processes associated with the enigmatic origin of the highest energy particles in nature. In addition, exploring the background of neutrinos produced in the atmosphere, IceCube studies the neutrinos themselves; their energies far exceed those produced by accelerator beams. IceCube is the world’s largest neutrino detector, encompassing a cubic kilometer of ice.

    IceCube employs more than 5000 detectors lowered on 86 strings into almost 100 holes in the Antarctic ice NSF B. Gudbjartsson, IceCube Collaboration

    Lunar Icecube

    IceCube DeepCore annotated

    IceCube PINGU annotated


    DM-Ice II at IceCube annotated

     
  • richardmitnick 12:11 pm on May 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Neutrinos   

    From Fermi National Accelerator Lab: “Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility pre-excavation work is in full swing” 

    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.

    May 2, 2019
    Kurt Riesselmann

    Unlocking the mysteries of neutrinos in order to get a clearer picture of the universe and understand why we are here at all, is a monumental undertaking. However, before the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, hosted by the Department of Energy’s Fermilab, can start solving those mysteries, a massive construction project is required to provide the necessary infrastructure, named the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility.

    The LBNF construction in Lead, South Dakota is under way, and a fleet of yellow pickup trucks has become the talk of the town and evidence of the beehive of construction activity that Fermilab is managing at the Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    These trucks are owned by the company Kiewit, part of the Kiewit-Alberici Joint Venture, who are preparing the construction site at Sanford Lab for the excavation of about 800,000 tons of rock to create the huge caverns for the South Dakota-portion of the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility. (Prep work for the Illinois-portion of the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility, to be built at Fermilab, will start early next year.)

    2
    The excavation of LBNF/DUNE caverns requires the transport of about 800,000 tons of rock from a mile underground to the surface, and then transporting it to its final resting place in a former mining area known as the Open Cut. Credit: Fermilab

    The excavation will create the three LBNF caverns that vary in length between 500 and 625 feet long, up to 70 feet wide and 95 feet tall. These caverns will house DUNE’s massive particle detectors and the necessary utilities.

    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF

    Excavating such an enormous amount of rock a mile underground, bringing it to the surface, and then transporting it to its final resting place is a huge job. And creating the infrastructure for that job is a huge amount of work by itself—and is going on right now. Fortunately, the mile-deep shaft that workers will use to bring rock to the surface—known as the Ross Shaft—already exists and the seven-year-long shaft renovation project will soon wrap up. But other pre-excavation work remains to be done. The main tasks are (see photo gallery):

    Renovating the area at the bottom of the mile-deep Ross Shaft, where rock will be loaded into large buckets, called skips, that will travel up the shaft;
    Strengthening the Ross headframe—the structure that holds and operates the hoist that conveys the skips filled with rock to the surface;
    Refurbishing the three-story-tall rock crushing system next to the Ross headframe; it was last used in 2001 when the Ross Shaft was still used by the Homestake gold mine.
    Building and installing the three-quarter-mile-long conveyor system that will transport the crushed rock to the Open Cut, an open pit mining area excavated by the Homestake mining company in the 1980s. Despite the massive amount of rock to be excavated for the LBNF caverns, the deposited rock will fill less than one percent of the Open Cut.
    Rehabbing the existing tramway tunnel to prepare it for the installation of the conveyor system;
    Establishing the power infrastructure for operating the LBNF/DUNE experiment, which will include 70,000 tons of liquid argon cooled to minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 184 degrees Celsius).

    And remember, this massive construction project will enable some truly groundbreaking science. DUNE, hosted by Fermilab, will be the world’s most advanced experiment dedicated to studying the properties of mysterious subatomic particles called neutrinos.

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

    The DUNE detectors will enable scientists to study a neutrino beam generated at Fermilab. The DUNE collaboration includes more than 1,000 scientists from more than 30 countries around the world. A large prototype detector for the experiment, constructed at the European research center CERN, successfully began recording particle tracks in September.

    CERN Proto Dune

    For more information on LBNF/DUNE, see http://www.fnal.gov/dune.

    See the full article here.


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    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 MINERvA front face Photo Reidar Hahn

    FNAL DAMIC

    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/MicrobooNE

    FNAL Don Lincoln

    FNAL/MINOS

    FNAL Cryomodule Testing Facility

    FNAL MINOS Far Detector in the Soudan Mine in northern Minnesota

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

    FNAL/NOvA experiment map

    FNAL NOvA Near Detector

    FNAL ICARUS

    FNAL Holometer

     
  • richardmitnick 12:00 pm on May 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ARCA or Astroparticle Research with Cosmics in the Abyss, , , , , Cubic Kilometre Neutrino Telescope or KM3NeT, Neutrinos, ORCA or Oscillation Research with Cosmics in the Abyss   

    From Discover Magazine: “Why Scientists Are Putting a Telescope on the Bottom of the Ocean” 

    DiscoverMag

    From Discover Magazine

    May 23, 2019
    Korey Haynes

    1
    The telescope, once complete, will be made of hundreds of spherical detectors suspended at the bottom of the sea. (Credit: KM3NeT)

    Deep under the Mediterranean Sea, hundreds of watchful eyes hang suspended on cables, waiting for a rare and valuable flash. Their quarry are ghostly neutrino particles, capable of tunneling through light-years of space and a planet’s worth of rock without ever coming into contact with matter.

    But, here, under the ocean, they just might hit a detector from the Cubic Kilometre Neutrino Telescope, or KM3NeT.

    2
    Cubic Kilometre Neutrino Telescope, or KM3NeT

    3
    KM3NeT Digital Optical Module (DOM) in the laboratory.

    While the international collaboration is still in the early stages of construction, it hopes to soon begin tracking some of the most elusive particles in the universe.

    Neutrinos are nearly massless particles produced in the sun and in energetic events like supernovas, colliding stars, and gamma-ray bursts. Because the particles barely interact with the rest of the universe, they are notoriously difficult to study, though trillions pass through your body every second.

    Researchers have tended to bury neutrino detectors in vats of supercooled liquids or miles underground, hoping that neutrinos will be the only particles that make it through.

    This time, researchers are hiding the detectors at the bottom of the sea, on the other side of the planet from the skies they hope to study, to block everything but neutrinos from hitting their detectors.

    Hidden Detectors

    Most neutrino detectors look for the rare flashes of energy the particles give off when they collide with the nuclei of atoms. But because these interactions don’t happen very often, neutrino detectors have to cover a lot of ground – quite literally. KM3Net, as its name implies, will one day occupy a cubic kilometer of seawater – about 400,000 Olympic swimming pools worth.

    Neutrino detectors also have to be protected from the onslaught of regular radiation, which would otherwise drown out the fainter gleam of neutrino interactions. So researchers build them deep underground, in abandoned mines or underneath Antarctic ice sheets.

    SNOLAB


    SNOLAB, a Canadian underground physics laboratory at a depth of 2 km in Vale’s Creighton nickel mine in Sudbury, Ontario

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

    IceCube neutrino detector interior


    U Wisconsin ICECUBE neutrino detector at the South Pole

    Now, they are trying one at the bottom of the sea – and the other side of the world. “The underwater telescope is bombarded by millions of different particles but only neutrinos can pass through the Earth to reach the detector from below,” said Clancy James, a researcher at the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy in Australia, a KM3Net partner.

    Each telescope is actually made up of hundreds of spherical detectors a little bigger than a basketball. These are suspended on vertical lines, and each node is connected by cables that run along the sea floor. The first test components were installed in 2013, with another round of construction in 2015 and 2018. Scientists are currently testing a limited number of detectors, and they are still searching for funding to make the full array a reality.

    Two telescopes comprise KM3Net. One is called ARCA, or Astroparticle Research with Cosmics in the Abyss [no image available] , and it sits off the coast of Italy. It will study the higher-energy cosmic neutrinos produced by the universe’s most energetic events, like gamma-ray bursts, and provide scientists with a greater understanding of powerful astrophysical events. Its partner is ORCA, or Oscillation Research with Cosmics in the Abyss [above], located closer to France. This telescope will study the lower-energy particles produced by cosmic rays striking Earth’s atmosphere.

    So far, the telescope’s operations have been for testing purposes, proving that the setup is successful using only a few of the eventual hundreds of detectors. The team is in the process of adding more. The completion of the telescopes will mean that astronomers don’t have to get very, very lucky to spot a neutrino signal. Instead, the large array should open new windows into the hard-to-view world of barely-there particles.

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 4:18 pm on April 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , MINOS, Neutrinos,   

    From Fermi National Accelerator Lab: “Search for sterile neutrinos in MINOS and MINOS+” 

    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.

    April 16, 2019

    1
    MINOS far detector as seen in 2012. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    The MINOS+ collaboration at the Department of Energy’s Fermilab has published a paper in Physical Review Letters about their latest results: new constraints on the existence of sterile neutrinos. The collaboration has exploited new high-statistics data and a new analysis regime to set more stringent boundaries on the possibility of sterile neutrinos mixing with muon neutrinos. They have significantly improved on their previous results published in 2016. With close to 40 publications that have garnered more than 6,000 citations, MINOS has been at the forefront of studying neutrino oscillations physics since its first data-taking days in 2005.

    The experiment uses two iron-scintillator sampling-and-tracking calorimetric particle detectors: The near detector is placed 1.04 kilometers from the neutrino source at Fermilab, and the far detector is placed 735 kilometers away in Minnesota.

    FNAL MINOS near detector

    FNAL MINOS Far Detector in the Soudan Mine in northern Minnesota

    The MINOS experiment collected data using a low-energy neutrino beam from May 1, 2005, to April 29, 2012, and MINOS+ collected data with a medium-energy neutrino beam from Sept. 4, 2013 to June 29, 2016.

    The detectors have accumulated high-statistics samples of muon neutrino interactions. Using a Fermilab neutrino beam composed of almost 100 percent muon neutrinos, they measured the disappearance of muon neutrinos as the particles arrived at the far detector. The collaboration used these data to obtain some of the most precise to-date measurements of standard three-neutrino mixings. These data also restrict phenomena beyond the Standard Model, including the hypothetical light sterile neutrinos.

    The analysis has simultaneously employed the energy spectra of charged-current (W boson exchange) and neutral-current (Z boson exchange) interactions between the neutrinos and the atoms inside the detector.

    Using a neutrino oscillation model that assumed the existence of the three known kinds of neutrinos plus a fourth type of neutrino referred to as a single sterile neutrino, the MINOS+ collaboration found no evidence of sterile neutrinos. Instead, the collaboration was able to set rigorous limits on the mixing parameter sin2θ24 for the mass splitting Δm241 > 10−4 eV2.

    The results significantly increase the tension with results obtained by experiments conducted with single detectors studying electron neutrino appearance in a muon neutrino beam. The LSND and MiniBooNE techniques and limited statistics present challenges that are now being tackled by the MicroBooNE experiment at Fermilab, designed specifically for this task.

    LSND experiment at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Virginia Tech

    FNAL/MiniBooNE

    FNAL/MicrobooNE

    Scientists from 33 institutions in five countries — the United States, UK, Brazil, Poland and Greece — are members of the MINOS+ collaboration. More information can be found on the MINOS+ website.

    This work is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.

    See the full article here.


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    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 MINERvA front face Photo Reidar Hahn

    FNAL DAMIC

    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/MicrobooNE

    FNAL Don Lincoln

    FNAL/MINOS

    FNAL Cryomodule Testing Facility

    FNAL MINOS Far Detector in the Soudan Mine in northern Minnesota

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

    FNAL/NOvA experiment map

    FNAL NOvA Near Detector

    FNAL ICARUS

    FNAL Holometer

     
  • richardmitnick 12:19 pm on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: All the miners get very dirty but all the SNOLAB people are clean so the difference between them is stark., , , Neutrinos, Paul Dirac won the Nobel Prize in 1933 after calculating that every particle in the universe must have a corresponding antiparticle., , SNO-Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, , SNOLAB researchers share the elevator with miners on their way to work in the Vale's Creighton nickel mine., The question of what happened to all the antimatter has remained unanswered.,   

    From University of Pennsylvania: “Answering big questions by studying small particles” 

    U Penn bloc

    From University of Pennsylvania

    April 8, 2019

    Erica K. Brockmeier-Writer
    Eric Sucar- Photographer

    1
    A view inside the SNO detector, a 40-foot acrylic sphere that’s covered with thousands of photodetectors. The facility is located in SNOLAB, a research facility located 2km underground near in the Vale’s Creighton nickel mine, Sudbury, Canada (Photo credit: SNO+ Collaboration).

    Neutrinos are extremely lightweight subatomic particles that are produced during nuclear reactions both here on Earth and in the center of stars. But neutrinos aren’t harmful or radioactive: In fact, nearly 100 trillion neutrinos bombard Earth every second and usually pass through the world without notice.

    Joshua Klein is an experimental particle physicist who studies neutrinos and dark matter. His group, along with retired professor Eugene Beier, collaborates with the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO), an international research endeavor focused on the study of neutrinos. Klein and Beier’s groups previously designed and now maintain the electronics at SNOLAB that collect data on these subatomic particles.

    Klein is fascinated by neutrinos and how they could help answer fundamental questions about the nature of the universe. “They may explain why the universe is made up of matter and not equal parts matter and anti-matter, they may be responsible for how stars explode, they may even tell us something about the laws of physics at the highest energy scales,” says Klein.

    Previous research on neutrinos has already led to groundbreaking discoveries in particle physics. The SNO collaboration was awarded the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for solving the “solar neutrino problem.” The problem was that the number of neutrinos being produced by the sun was only a third of what was predicted by theoretical physicists, a discrepancy that had puzzled researchers since the 1970s.

    To solve this, researchers went about 1.2 miles underground to study neutrinos in order to avoid the cosmic radioactive particles that could interfere with their minute and precise measurements. The SNOLAB facility in Sudbury, Canada, which houses a a 40-foot wide acrylic vessel surrounded by photodetectors, allowed physicists to measure the three different types of neutrinos at the same time. Physicists found that neutrinos were able to change from one type into another.

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    The exterior of the SNO Detector as seen from the ground at SNOLAB (Photo credit: SNOLAB).

    Today, 15 years later, researchers are looking for an incredibly rare process involving neutrinos that, if found, could revolutionize the field of fundamental physics. “Now that we know that neutrinos can change form, along with the fact that neutrinos have mass but no charge, we can hypothesize that they can be their own antiparticle. If this is true, it could explain why the universe is made of only matter,” says Klein.

    The question of what happened to all the antimatter has remained unanswered since Paul Dirac won the Nobel Prize in 1933 after calculating that every particle in the universe must have a corresponding antiparticle. But the majority of the universe is made of ordinary matter, not equal parts matter and anti-matter, and scientists are trying to figure out why.

    The photodetectors at SNOLAB are now being upgraded as part of SNO+ [Physical Review D] in order to search for a rare type of radioactive decay known as a neutrinoless double beta decay, a never-before seen process that would prove that neutrinos and anti-neutrinos are actually the same particle. Witnessing a neutrinoless double-beta decay event is so rare, if it even exists, and would give off such a small signal that the only way to detect it is through the combination of powerful equipment, refined analyses, and a lot of patience.

    Instead of sitting around waiting for a rare event to happen, researchers are actively taking advantage of this state-of-the-art underground facility. “One of the selling points of SNO+ is that it’s a multipurpose detector,” says graduate student Eric Marzec. “A lot of detectors are produced with a singular goal, like detecting dark matter, but SNO+ has a lot of other interesting physics that it can probe.”

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    Here at Penn, students from the Klein lab conduct key maintenance and repairs on the electronic components that are instrumental to the success of SNO+. They also conduct research on new materials that can help increase the sensitivity of the detector, providing more chances of seeing a rare neutrinoless double-beta decay event. (Four photos, no individual descriptions.)

    Marzec and Klein were part of a recent study using SNO+’s upgraded capabilities to collect new data on solar neutrinos [Physical Review D]. Before the detector vessel is filled with scintillator, a soap-like liquid that will help them detect rare radioactive decays, it was briefly filled with water. This enabled researchers to collect data on what direction the neutrinos came from, which then allowed them to focus their efforts on studying neutrinos that came from the Sun.

    The solar neutrino problem may be solved, but new data on solar neutrinos is still incredibly useful, especially since data from SNO+ have very low background signals from things like cosmic radiation. “There’s only a few experiments that have ever been able to measure neutrinos coming from the sun,” says Marzec. “People might someday want to look at whether the neutrino production of the sun varies over time, so it’s useful to have as many time points and as many measurements over the years as possible.”

    Marzec has spent a considerable amount of time working at the SNOLAB facility in northern Ontario. He describes a typical day as starting with a 6 a.m. underground elevator ride that travels more than a mile underground. SNOLAB researchers share the elevator with miners on their way to work in the Vale’s Creighton nickel mine. “All the miners get very dirty, but all the SNOLAB people are clean, so the difference between them is stark. It’s very obvious who is the nerd underground and who the miners are,” says Marzec.

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    After traveling 6,800 floors underground, researchers walk more than half a mile through a series of tunnels to reach the entrance of SNOLAB (Photo credit: SNOLAB).

    After arriving at the –6,800th floor, researchers walk more than a half mile from the cage shaft to the SNOLAB through underground dirt tunnels. When they reach the lab, they have to shower and change into threadless uniforms to prevent any microscopic threads from getting inside the sensitive detector. After air quality checks are completed, the researchers are free to begin their work on the detector.

    When asked what it’s like to work more than a mile underground, Marzec comments that he got used to the strangeness after a few visits. “The first time, it feels very much like you’re underground because the pressure is very noticeable, and you feel exhausted at the end of the day.” Thankfully, Marzec and his colleagues don’t have to travel a mile underground every time they want to collect data from SNO+ since they can remotely collect and analyze the hundreds of terabytes of data generated by the detector.

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    To do any repair work or cleaning inside the detector, researchers must be lowered into the 40 foot tall sphere using a harness (Photo credit: SNOLAB).

    As Marzec is in the final stages of preparing his Ph.D. thesis, he says he will miss his time working on SNO+. “It’s kind of monastic,” Marzec says about his time working at SNOLAB. “You go there and mediate on physics while you’re there. But it’s also kind of a social thing as well: There are a lot of people you know who are working on the same stuff.”

    Klein and his group, including four graduate students and two post-docs, recently returned from a SNOLAB collaboration meeting, where upwards of 100 physicists met to present and discuss recent results and the upcoming plans for the next phase of the project. Klein is excited, and, admittedly, a little bit nervous, to see how everything comes together. “Putting in the liquid scintillator will change everything—there’s never been a detector being converted from a water-based detector to a scintillator detector. Here at Penn, for us, it’s big because we designed upgrades to the electronics to handle the fact that we will be getting data at a rate that’s about 100 times higher,” says Klein.

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    A scientist works inside the SNO+ detector while it is partially filled with deuterated water. Each one of the gold-colored circles is an individual photodetector (Photo credit: SNOLAB).

    Despite the numerous technical and logistical challenges ahead, researchers are enthusiastic about the potential that SNO+ can bring to particle physics research. Other areas of study include learning how neutrinos change form, studying low-energy neutrinos to figure out why the Sun seems to have less “heavy” elements than astronomers expect, and measuring geoneutrinos to figure out why Earth is hotter than other nearby planets like Mars.

    But for Klein, the prospect of finding a rare neutrinoless double beta decay event remains the most thrilling aspect of this research, which, if discovered, could turn the Standard Model of particle physics on its head. “After the question of what is dark energy and what is dark matter, the question of whether neutrinos are their own antiparticle is the most important question for particle physics to answer,” Klein says. “And if neutrinos are their own antiparticle, the simplest piece you can put into the equation [within the Standard Model] blows up: It doesn’t work, it’s mathematically inconsistent. And we don’t know how we would fix that. It is a completely experimental question, so that’s why we’re excited.”

    See the full article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    U Penn campus

    Academic life at Penn is unparalleled, with 100 countries and every U.S. state represented in one of the Ivy League’s most diverse student bodies. Consistently ranked among the top 10 universities in the country, Penn enrolls 10,000 undergraduate students and welcomes an additional 10,000 students to our world-renowned graduate and professional schools.

    Penn’s award-winning educators and scholars encourage students to pursue inquiry and discovery, follow their passions, and address the world’s most challenging problems through an interdisciplinary approach.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:27 pm on April 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "MINERvA successfully completes its physics run", , , , , Neutrinos, Neutrinos could hold the answer to one of the most pressing mysteries in physics: why matter was not completely annihilated by antimatter after the Big Bang., ,   

    From Fermi National Accelerator Lab: “MINERvA successfully completes its physics run” 

    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.

    April 5, 2019
    Caitlyn Buongiorno

    FNAL MINERvA front face Photo Reidar Hahn

    On Feb. 26, a crowd of engineers, technicians and analysts crowded around a computer screen as Fermilab scientist Deborah Harris pressed “stop” on the data collection for the MINERvA neutrino experiment.

    “We’re all just really excited by what we’ve accomplished,” said Harris, MINERvA co-spokesperson and future professor at York University. “The detector worked wonderfully, we collected the data we need, and we did it on schedule.”

    MINERvA studies how neutrinos and their antimatter twins, antineutrinos, interact with the nuclei of different atoms. Scientists use that data to help discover the best models of these interactions. Now, after nine years of operation, the data taking has come to an end, but the analysis will continue for a while. MINERvA scientists have published more than 30 scientific papers so far, with more to come. As of today, 58 students have obtained their master’s or Ph.D. degrees doing research with this experiment.

    Neutrinos could hold the answer to one of the most pressing mysteries in physics: why matter was not completely annihilated by antimatter after the Big Bang. That imbalance from 13.7 billion years ago led the universe to develop into what we see today. Studying neutrinos (and antineutrinos) could uncover the mystery and help us understand why we are here at all.

    1
    The MINERvA collaboration gathers to celebrate the end of data taking. MINERvA co-spokesperson Laura Fields, kneeling at center, holds a 3-D-printed model of the MINERvA neutrino detector. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    A number of neutrino experiments investigate this mystery, including Fermilab’s NOvA experiment and the upcoming international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, hosted by Fermilab.

    FNAL/NOvA experiment map


    FNAL NOvA Near Detector

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


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF


    SURF DUNE LBNF Caverns at Sanford Lab

    To be as successful as possible, these experiments need precise models that describe what happens before and after a neutrino collides with an atom.

    Every time a neutrino collides with part of an atom inside a detector, a spray of new particles flies off and travels through the rest of the detector. In order to understand the nuances of neutrinos, scientists need to know the energy of the neutrino when it first enters the detector and the energy of all the particles produced after the interaction. This task is complicated by the fact that some of the outgoing particles are invisible to the detector — and must still be accounted for.

    Imagine you’re playing pool and you shoot the cue ball at another ball. You can easily predict where that second ball will go. That prediction, however, gets much more complex when your cue ball strikes a collection of balls. After the break shot, they scatter in all directions, and it’s hard to predict where each will go. The same thing is true when a neutrino interacts with a lone particle: You can easily predict where the lone ball will go. But when a neutrino interacts with an atom’s nucleus — a collection of protons and neutrons — the calculation is much more difficult because, like the pool balls, particles may go off in many different directions.

    “It’s actually worse than that,” said Kevin McFarland, former MINERvA co-spokesperson and professor of physics at the University of Rochester. “All the balls in the break shot are also connected by springs.”

    MINERvA provides a neutrino-nucleus interaction guidebook for neutrino researchers. The experiment measured neutrino interactions with polystyrene, carbon, iron, lead, water and helium. Without MINERvA’s findings, researchers at other experiments would have a much tougher time understanding the outcomes of these interactions and how to interpret their data.

    “I really am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish so far,” said Laura Fields, Fermilab scientist and co-spokesperson for MINERvA. “Already the world has a much greater understanding of these interactions.”

    See the full article here.


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

    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 MINERvA front face Photo Reidar Hahn

    FNAL DAMIC

    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/MicrobooNE

    FNAL Don Lincoln

    FNAL/MINOS

    FNAL Cryomodule Testing Facility

    FNAL MINOS Far Detector in the Soudan Mine in northern Minnesota

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

    FNAL/NOvA experiment map

    FNAL NOvA Near Detector

    FNAL ICARUS

    FNAL Holometer

     
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