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  • richardmitnick 4:24 pm on June 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Rapid City Journal,   

    From Rapid City Journal via SURF: “DUNE will be SD’s largest project ever” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    1
    Rapid City Journal

    Jun 13, 2015
    Tom Griffith Journal staff

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

    Hundreds of scientists from around the world are patiently awaiting the start of a billion-dollar experiment that, in a scene straight out of a science fiction movie, will fire a beam of tiny neutrinos from a laboratory near Chicago that will carry the subatomic particles a mile underground and 800 miles away in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

    By itself, the $300 million investment for the experiment at the Sanford Lab in Lead represents the largest single project in the history of South Dakota. And, project advocates say the experiment has the potential to advance scientific knowledge and yield technological advancements on a par with the race to the moon in the 1960s.

    “The people I interact with refer to this as one of the most significant particle-physics experiments that has or likely will ever occur on U.S. soil,” said Mike Headley, executive director of the South Dakota Science & Technology Authority, which manages the Sanford Underground Research Facility. “No one I know can remember a project of this scale that has been executed in this state.”

    At its core, the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) and the associated Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), will send a beam of neutrinos through the earth from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Batavia, Ill., to the Sanford Lab in western South Dakota, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

    Having very little mass and no electric charge, neutrinos pass through ordinary matter nearly undisturbed — they can pass through 100 million miles of lead without stopping — and they continuously pass through the earth and our bodies, scientists say.

    In Illinois, project leaders plan to build four structures on the Fermilab site. One building would be connected via a vertical shaft to an underground hall about 200 feet below the Fermilab. The project also would include the construction of a 50- to 60-foot-high hill on the Fermi site as part of the facility that would create the neutrinos, according to the DOE.

    In South Dakota, project leaders plan to construct one building at the surface adjacent to an existing building near the Ross Shaft. About one mile underground, the project would include three large caverns, each about 60 feet wide and 500 feet long. These caverns would provide space for utilities and four large detectors filled with liquid argon to detect the neutrinos fired from Fermi, Headley explained.

    Particle detectors at Sanford Lab would record neutrinos from the Fermilab and measure their properties. They also would look for neutrinos from a supernova and search for signs of nucleon decay. With the data, scientists aim to learn more about the building blocks of matter and determine the exact role that neutrinos play in the universe, he said.

    “I’m a South Dakota kid, from Brookings originally, so to have an opportunity to be part of an international team doing this in my home state is really amazing,” Headley said. “It’s really cool.”

    Michael Weis, Fermi site office manager for the DOE, said on Friday that the DUNE international collaboration includes 776 scientists from 144 institutions and 26 nations, and it is still growing.

    “The number of partners in this project is not unprecedented as high-energy physics experiments have historically involved large collaborations, most recently with the Large Hadron Collider experiments at the CERN laboratory in Europe,” Weis said. “The significance here is that a large number of scientists in the international community want to build and conduct an experiment at a facility here in the United States. This means that the U.S. has an opportunity to host a world-class science facility of this scale, and an international `megascience project’ for the first time.”

    Years in the making, scientists behind the project have exhibited remarkable patience in its development, and must remain patient to realize the potential of the experiment. According to Weis, the preliminary schedule estimates facility construction could start at the Sanford Lab as early as 2017, and be completed in the mid-2020s. Installation of the experiment into the facility could begin as early as 2021 and continue for a few years beyond this, he said, while the experiment duration is estimated to be 20 years. LBNF/DUNE is being funded by the DOE, as well as the international cast of collaborators.

    Headley said the significance of the experiment to the scientific community, the State of South Dakota, and the nation, could not be understated.

    Last year, an important DOE scientific review panel called the “Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel,” or P5, identified the experiment as a top priority for U.S. particle physics, recommending it be planned as an international effort in order to achieve the greatest scientific capability, Headley explained. DUNE represents the convergence of several formerly independent worldwide efforts around the opportunity provided by a new neutrino beam facility planned at the Fermilab and by the new and significant expansion at Sanford Lab, he said.

    “If you look at all the effort and research and development that allowed us to go to the moon, these are the type of technologies that have the potential to power our economy and make us globally competitive into the future,” Headley said. “In terms of science, this experiment is on the level of the Higgs Boson. The answers to some of the questions this experiment will address will be competitive for a Nobel Prize.”

    And yet, Headley acknowledged, “It’s going to lead to more questions, some of which we haven’t yet thought of.”

    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 6:36 pm on June 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Rapid City Journal,   

    From Rapid City Journal via SURF: “Xenon central to next-gen dark matter experiment” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    1
    Rapid City Journal

    6.20.16
    Tom Griffith

    1
    LUX researchers spell out the experiment’s name, like cheerleaders, inside a 72,000 gallon water tank. The detector is the cylindrical titanium tank behind them. The tank is now filled with water, and the detector is operating. Credit: Matt Kapust

    If you happen to have some extra xenon lying around – say about 1.8 million liters – officials at the Sanford Underground Research Facility would like to talk to you.

    That’s the amount of the colorless, odorless element that makes up only 0.0000087 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere that scientists say will be needed for the deep underground laboratory’s $50 million to $60 million LUX-ZEPLIN experiment, so the Sanford Lab is going to start stockpiling it soon.

    At its annual meeting Thursday, the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority unanimously approved a loan from the University of South Dakota Foundation and authorization for its executive director to procure up to 500,000 liters of xenon.

    “The SDSTA truly appreciates the USD Foundation’s investment in the LUX-ZEPLIN experiment,” said Mike Headley, the Science Authority’s executive director. “Their investment along with similar investments by the South Dakota State University Foundation and the South Dakota Community Foundation, along with tremendous support from Gov. Daugaard, will help keep the U.S. in a leadership role in the global search for dark matter.”

    Two years ago, xenon was priced at nearly $25 per liter, meaning the necessary gaseous element of atomic number 54, obtained through the distillation of liquid air, would have set the Science Authority back a cool $45 million. Fortunately, the price has dropped significantly since then.

    “We will pay $5.50 per liter and this is not a discount; it’s the current market price,” said Sanford Lab spokeswoman Constance Walter. “Basically, the increased use of LED lights in vehicles, etc., has decreased the demand for xenon lighting. So, the price has dropped dramatically from a couple of years ago when they were in excess of $20 per liter.”

    Headley said late Thursday that the Science Authority had secured the first 500,000 liters at a cost of $6.25 per liter and the remaining 1.3 million liters would cost $5.50 per liter. Consequently, even with the price reduction, the xenon will likely cost the Science Authority nearly $10.3 million.

    Initially, the Science Authority will purchase 1.5 million liters, or about 80 percent of the 1.8 million liters the experiment will require, Walters said. The xenon will be delivered over the next two-plus years and when it is purchased, it will first go to the U.S. Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, Calif., where it will be purified. Then it will be shipped to the Sanford Lab to be placed in the detector sometime in 2018, she explained.

    Discovered in 1898 by Sir William Ramsay, a Scottish chemist, and Morris M. Travers, an English chemist, shortly after their discovery of the elements krypton and neon, xenon was used in the Sanford Lab’s original Large Underground Xenon experiment known as LUX.

    In October 2013, more than 100 science enthusiasts and government officials gathered at the Sanford Lab to receive initial findings of the LUX, while hundreds more from around the world joined via webcam. In that complex three-month trial involving particle physics, scientists sought to detect mysterious dark matter particles previously observed only through their gravitational effects on galaxies.

    Nearly a mile deep in the bedrock of the Black Hills and shielded from vast amounts of cosmic radiation that constantly bombard the earth’s atmosphere, the LUX was comprised of a phone booth-sized titanium tank filled with nearly a third of a metric-ton (370 kilograms) of liquid xenon cooled to minus 150 degrees, scientists explained. The detector was further buffered from background radiation by its immersion in a 72,000-gallon tank of ultra-pure water.

    Now, scientists around the globe are awaiting the start-up of the much larger 60-ton particle detector known as the LUX-ZEPLIN or LZ, which will be approximately 30 times larger (10 metric tons or 10,000 kilograms of xenon) and 100 times more sensitive than the LUX.

    And, it’s going to take quite a bit of xenon to make that happen.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________

    Xenon Q, xenon A

    LEAD | With the help of a few friends, the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority will spend more than $10 million on xenon this year, a hefty amount for a gaseous element that a non-scientist knows so little about.

    So, we asked Sanford Underground Research Facility scientist Markus Horn, who worked on the LUX and is now collaborating on the LUX LZ, the next-generation dark matter experiment, what makes xenon critical to its success.

    Q: How is xenon extracted from the earth’s atmosphere?

    A: Xenon is a trace gas in the atmosphere and is extracted as a by-product at the separation of air into oxygen and nitrogen.

    Q: Why is xenon worth so much money?

    A: It’s rare in the Earth’s atmosphere; only about 1 part in 20 million.

    Q: Why is xenon critical to the LUX LZ? Succinctly, what does it do?

    A: Xenon has unique properties for dark matter research. To name a few:

    • It emits light at 175nm (UV light, sort of easy detectable with our PMTs);

    • It is heavy, 135 times mass of proton, which is around the theoretically most favorable mass of the WIMP particle (billiard-ball-nuclear recoil is largest, hence easier to detect);

    • It liquifies easily at moderate temperature of -100 Celsius;

    • It is radio-pure;, does not have any natural radioactive isotopes;

    • It has a high scintillation yield (emits a lot of light, so to say), very low energy threshold can be achieved (as we do in LUX);

    • It is self-shielding (easily said, because it’s heavy, it shields itself, so the inner part of the detector is even quieter);

    • It is a liquid noble gas detectors are easy to scale, LUX to LZ, etc.

    Q: Why does it have to be so cold (-150 degrees)?

    A: As with any material, it can be in different states (gas, liquid, solid). Depending on the element, this happens at different temperatures and pressures. Xenon is a gas at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, you need to compress it or cool it to approx -100C to force it into a liquid. I guess that’s simple chemistry.

    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 9:02 pm on April 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Rapid City Journal,   

    From Rapid City Journal via SURF: “Neutrino project could bring elevated conveyor over downtown Lead” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    4.25.16

    1

    Apr 24, 2016
    Tom Griffith

    2

    LEAD | An experiment now in its infancy nearly a mile underground has the potential to put this former gold mining camp on the map as the home for groundbreaking science that could help unravel the mysteries of the universe.

    Plans for the groundbreaking project solidified some now that Congress is considering mark-ups in President Obama’s fiscal 2017 budget, which begins Oct. 1, that include $45 million for start-up of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment at Lead’s Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE
    FNAL LBNF/DUNE
    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF
    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF

    The project received another dose of Congressional support last week when U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., added a provision to a sweeping energy bill that would create a new Congressional subcommittee within the National Science and Technology Council specifically focused on high energy physics projects like those underway in Lead.

    And the project could alter the look of downtown Lead, where a proposal has been made to build an elevated conveyor system across Main Street to carry an estimated 800,000 tons of waste rock from the lab site into the open cut at Homestake Gold Mine.

    While the two acronyms — DUNE and SURF — seem like attractions of a beachfront holiday, they in fact represent man’s most serious attempts to date to understand the origins of our planet. The proposed DUNE project alone involves a collaboration of more than 800 scientists from roughly 150 institutions in 28 countries and with a price-tag estimated at $1 billion to $1.4 billion, about half of which would be spent in the Black Hills.

    That would make it the largest, most expensive project in South Dakota history.

    “I don’t think you could state the importance of the project too strongly,” said Mike Headley, executive director of the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority. “This is an international science mega-project. If you look at the current suite of experiments around the world and those planned in the future, this would be the largest in scale.

    “To draw a parallel, it would include international involvement on the scale of the Large Hadron Collider in Cern, Switzerland, where the Higgs Boson was discovered,” Headley added.

    CERN/LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel
    CERN LHC particles
    LHC at CERN

    The Sanford Lab, occupying the massive 8,000-foot deep former Homestake Gold Mine which operated for 125 years in Lead, and the SDSTA have spent years planning for the DUNE, to be placed at the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility construction site at the 4,850-foot level.

    Sanford Underground Research Facility Interior
    Sanford Underground levels
    SURF

    In fact, private, state and federal funds are being used to refurbish the Ross Shaft, a $30 million project begun in August 2012, now 70 percent complete, that’s on track for completion in September 2017, Headley explained.

    Reconstruction of the Ross Shaft is critical to making room for the DUNE, which would require contractors to excavate 800 million tons of rock — nearly twice that removed from Mount Rushmore in the 1927-1941 carving of the four presidential portraits.

    All of that rock has to go someplace, so SURF has already reached an easement agreement with Barrick, the Canadian-based owners of the former Homestake Mine and its massive Open Cut, to deposit the excavated rock in the open pit. But, for some, getting it there has become an issue.

    SURF recently requested an easement from the city of Lead allowing it to build an elevated, covered conveyor spanning Main Street near Gold Run Park to transport the rock to its final resting place in the open cut. Representatives of SURF, including Headley, have appeared at the last two Lead City Commission meetings to provide project overviews and answer questions and concerns.

    “I do have a few concerns regarding the decision to construct a conveyor belt across a major highway that is a main thoroughfare for our community,” said Commissioner Denise Parker. Many of those concerns, including potential dust, debris and noise, have been brought to her attention by local residents, she said.

    “While I know that the lab officials are taking every precaution they can think of, there are no guarantees as to the outcomes and as of today, I have seen no memorandum of understanding stating the parameters of liabilities,” Parker noted. “I am deeply concerned that there is no definitive tear-down schedule after the digging and rock moving evolution is completed and there is no longer a need for the conveyor belt.”

    Headley said excavation and onsite construction during the peak of activity in the early 2020s, could bring 180 new workers to the SURF on a daily basis, including construction contractors, scientists and other partners. Those workers would not necessarily be added to the 130 employees the Science Authority currently employs at the SURF, he said.

    Parker said she would welcome new jobs in a town depressed since the closure of the Homestake in 2002, and the potential for the DUNE to put her community on the map of ground-breaking science.

    “When I think that our small community may very well be on the cutting edge of the science of tomorrow, it is almost incomprehensible,” she said. “When one hears of Los Alamos, they think of atomic and hydrogen bombs. I can only wonder what future generations potentially could think of when they hear of the city of Lead, South Dakota; hopefully, something synonymous with peace.”

    Mayor-Elect Ron Everett, contacted last week, said he believed SURF’s plan for a conveyor was preferable to another option SURF explored to remove the tons of rock that could lead to 40,000-60,000 round-trip truck loads to move the rock to another site.

    “There have been some concerns expressed about dust and what (the overhead conveyor) will look like, but I am all in favor of granting the easement,” said Everett, who assumes the mayor’s post May 2. “It’s the safest and most efficient way to move that rock out of the mine.”

    Everett, who recently retired as an executive with mining company Wharf Resources, said he views it as his mission to have Lead capitalize on all of the employment, housing and economic development potential of what the DUNE can bring to the Northern Hills.

    “I think people ought to be very excited about the DUNE project,” he said. “It will be an exciting time for Lead over the next 10 years and we want to capitalize on all the economic benefits that will come with this. We want good paying jobs in Lead.”

    Headley said city officials and others naturally gravitate to the economic development, employment and financial aspects of the DUNE. But, he said local residents shouldn’t discount the educational opportunities that students at schools and universities throughout the South Dakota and the U.S. would experience from the collaboration of scientists and advanced experiments coming to the Black Hills.

    “Folks may not think what could potentially happen here in the next few years in terms of educational opportunities, and the advancement of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education for grades K-12,” Headley said.

    “The education of our kids is an area that will be profoundly and positively impacted as this project moves forward. After all, we have the brightest minds on the planet coming here to do their life’s work.”

    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. 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

     
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