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  • richardmitnick 1:58 pm on January 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Fermilab’s Short-Baseline Neutrino Program, , , , , , , SBND - Short-Baseline Near Detector, Short-Baseline Near Detector   

    From Symmetry “Sterile neutrino sleuths” 

    Symmetry Mag


    Tom Barratt
    Leah Poffenberger



    FNAL Short baseline neutrino detector

    Meet the detectors of Fermilab’s Short-Baseline Neutrino Program, hunting for signs of a possible fourth type of neutrino.

    Neutrinos are not a sociable bunch. Every second, trillions upon trillions of the tiny particles shoot down to Earth from space, but the vast majority don’t stop in to pay a visit—they continue on their journey, almost completely unaffected by any matter they come across.

    Their reluctance to hang around is what makes it such a challenge to study them. But the Short-Baseline Neutrino (SBN) Program at the US Department of Energy’s Fermilab is doing just that: further unraveling the mysteries of neutrinos with three vast detectors filled with ultrapure liquid argon.

    Argon is an inert substance normally found in the air around us—and, once isolated, an excellent medium for studying neutrinos. A neutrino colliding with an argon nucleus leaves behind a signature track and a spray of new particles such as electrons or photons, which can be picked up inside a detector.

    SBN uses three detectors along a straight line in the path of a specially designed neutrino source called the Booster Neutrino Beamline (BNB) at Fermilab. Scientists calculated the exact positions that would yield the most interesting and useful results from the experiment.

    The detectors study a property of neutrinos that scientists have known about for a while but do not have a complete grasp on: oscillations, the innate ability of neutrinos to change their form as they travel. Neutrinos come in three known types, or “flavors”: electron, muon and tau. But oscillations mean each of those types is interchangeable with the others, so a neutrino that begins life as a muon neutrino can naturally transform into an electron neutrino by the end of its journey.

    Some experiments, however, have come up with intriguing results that suggest there could be a fourth type of neutrino that interacts even less than the three types that have already been documented. An experiment at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1995 showed the first evidence that a fourth neutrino might exist. It was dubbed the “sterile” neutrino because it appears to be unaffected by anything other than gravity. In 2007, MiniBooNE, a previous experiment at Fermilab, showed possible hints of its existence, too, but neither experiment was powerful enough to say if their results definitively demonstrated the existence of a new type of neutrino.

    That’s why it’s crucial to have these three, more powerful detectors. Carefully comparing the findings from all three detectors should allow the best measurement yet of whether a sterile neutrino is lurking out of sight. And finding the sterile neutrino would be evidence of new, intriguing physics—something that doesn’t fit our current picture of the world.

    These three detectors are international endeavors, funded in part by DOE’s Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, the Science and Technology Facilities Council in the UK, CERN, the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) in Italy, the Swiss National Science Foundation and others. Each helps further develop the technologies, training and expertise needed to design, build and operate another experiment that has been under construction since July: the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). This international mega-scientific collaboration hosted by Fermilab will send neutrinos 800 miles from Illinois to the massive DUNE detectors, which will be installed a mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota.

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

    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF

    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford

    SURF building in Lead SD USA

    Meet each of the SBN detectors below:

    Artwork by Sandbox Studio, Chicago

    Short-Baseline Near Detector

    Closest to the BNB source at just 110 meters, the Short-Baseline Near Detector (SBND) provides a benchmark for the whole experiment, studying the neutrinos just after they leave the source and before they have a chance to oscillate between flavors. Almost a cube shape, the detecting part of the SBND is four meters tall and wide, five meters long and weighs around 260 tons in total—with a 112-ton active liquid argon volume.

    With a CERN-designed state-of-the-art membrane design for its cooling cryostat—which keeps the argon in a liquid state—SBND is a pioneering detector in the field of neutrino research. It will test new technologies and techniques that will be used in later neutrino projects such as DUNE.

    Due to its proximity to the neutrino source, SBND will collect a colossal amount of interaction data. A secondary, long-term goal of SBND will be to work through this cache to precisely study the physics of these neutrino interactions and even to search for other signs of new physics.

    “After a few years of running, we will have recorded millions of neutrino interactions in SBND, which will be a treasure trove of data that we can use to make many measurements,” says David Schmitz, physicist at the University of Chicago and co-spokesperson for the experiment. “Studying these neutrino interactions in this particular type of detector will have long-term value, especially in the context of DUNE, which will use the same detection principles.”

    The SBND is well on its way to completion; its groundbreaking took place in April 2016 and its components are being built in Switzerland, the UK, Italy and at CERN.

    Detector name- SBND (Short-Baseline Near Detector)
    Dimensions- Almost cubic, 4x4x5m (5 meters in beam direction)
    Primary materials- Cryostat and structure made from stainless steel, with polyurethane thermal insulation
    Argon mass- 260 tons in total (112-ton active volume)
    Location- 110 meters from BNB source
    Construction status- Groundbreaking in April 2016, components currently being manufactured in universities and labs around the world
    What makes it unique- Uses membrane cryostat technology, modular TPC construction, and sophisticated electronics operated at cryogenic temperatures, like that which will be used in DUNE; will record millions of neutrino interactions per year

    Artwork by Sandbox Studio, Chicago


    The middle detector, MicroBooNE, was the first of the three detectors to come online. When it did so in 2015, it was the first detector ever to collect data on neutrino interactions in argon at the energies provided by the BNB. The detector sits 360 meters past SBND, nestled as close as possible to its predecessor, MiniBooNE. This proximity is on purpose: MicroBooNE, a more advanced detector, is designed to get a better look at the intriguing results from MiniBooNE.

    In all, MicroBooNE weighs 170 tons (with an active liquid argon volume of 89 tons), making it currently the largest operating neutrino detector in the United States of its kind—a Liquid Argon Time Projection Chamber (LArTPC). That title will transfer to the far detector, ICARUS (see below), upon its installation in 2018.

    While following up on MiniBooNE’s anomaly, MicroBooNE has another important job: providing scientists at Fermilab with useful experience of operating a liquid argon detector, which contributes to the development of new technology for the next generation of experiments.

    “We’ve never in history had more than one liquid argon detector on any beamline, and that’s what makes the SBN Program exciting,” says Fermilab’s Sam Zeller, co-spokesperson for MicroBooNE. “It’s the first time we will have at least two detectors studying neutrino oscillations with liquid argon technology.”

    Techniques used to fill MicroBooNE with argon will pave the way for the gargantuan DUNE far detector in the future, which will hold more than 400 times as much liquid argon as MicroBooNE. Neutrino detectors rely on the liquid inside being extremely pure, and to achieve this goal, all the air normally has to be pumped out before liquid is put in. But MicroBooNE scientists used a different technique: They pumped argon gas into the detector—which pushed all the air out—and then cooled until it condensed into liquid. This new approach will eliminate the need to evacuate the air from DUNE’s six-story-tall detectors.

    Along with contributing to the next generation of detectors, MicroBooNE also contributes to training the next generation of neutrino scientists from around the world. Over half of the collaboration in charge of running MicroBooNE are students and postdocs who bring innovative ideas for analyzing its data.

    Detector name- MicroBooNE (Micro Booster Neutrino Experiment)
    Dimensions- Cylindrical shape (outer), inner TPC: 10.3m long x 2.3m tall x 2.5m wide
    Primary materials- Stainless steel cylinder containing argon vessel and detector elements (stabilized with front and rear supports), polyurethane foam insulation on outer surfaces
    Argon mass- 170 tons in total (89-ton active volume)
    Location- 470 meters from BNB source
    Construction status- Assembled at Fermilab 2012-13, installed in June 2014, has been operating since 2015
    What makes it unique- Used gas-pumped technique to fill with argon; more than half of operators are students or postdocs


    Artwork by Sandbox Studio, Chicago

    ICARUS (Imaging Cosmic And Rare Underground Signals)

    The largest of SBN’s detectors, ICARUS, is also the most distant from the neutrino source—600 meters down the line. Like SBND and MicroBooNE, ICARUS uses liquid argon as a neutrino detection technique, with over 700 tons of the dense liquid split between two symmetrical modules. These colossal tanks of liquid argon, together with excellent imaging capabilities, will allow extremely sensitive detections of neutrino interactions when the detector comes online at Fermilab in 2018.

    The positioning of ICARUS along the neutrino beamline is crucial to its mission. The detector will measure the proportion of both electron and muon neutrinos that collide with argon nuclei as the intense beam of neutrinos passes through it. By comparing this data with that from SBND, scientists will be able to see if the results match with those from previous experiments and explore whether they could be explained by the existence of a sterile neutrino.

    ICARUS, along with MicroBooNE, is also positioned on the Fermilab site close to another neutrino beam, called Neutrinos at the Main Injector (NuMI), which provides neutrinos for the existing experiments at Fermilab and in Minnesota. Unlike the main BNB beam, the NuMI beam will hit ICARUS at an angle through the detector. The goal will be to measure neutrino cross-sections—a measure of their interaction likelihood—rather than their oscillations. The energy of the NuMI beam is similar to that which will be used for DUNE, so ICARUS will provide excellent knowledge and experience to work out the kinks for the huge experiment.

    The detector’s journey has been a long one. From its groundbreaking development, construction and operation in Italy at INFN’s Gran Sasso Laboratory under the leadership of Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia, ICARUS traveled to CERN in Switzerland in 2014 for some renovation and upgrades. Equipped with new observing capabilities, it was then shipped across the Atlantic to Fermilab in 2017, where it is currently being installed in its future home. Scientists intend to begin taking data with ICARUS in 2018.

    “ICARUS unlocked the potential of liquid argon detectors, and now it’s becoming a crucial part of our research,” says Peter Wilson, head of Fermilab’s SBN program. “We’re excited to see the data coming out of our short-baseline neutrino detectors and apply the lessons we learn to better understand neutrinos with DUNE.”

    Detector name- ICARUS (Imaging Cosmic And Rare Underground Signals)
    Dimensions- Argon chamber split into two separate argon chambers, each 3.6m long, 3.9m high, 19.6m long
    Primary materials- Detector components held by low-carbon stainless-steel structure, inside cryostat made of aluminum, with thermal shielding layers of boiling nitrogen (to maintain cryostat temperature) and polyurethane thermal insulation
    Argon mass- 760 tons in total (476-ton active volume)
    Location- 600 meters from BNB source
    Construction status- Designed and built in the INFN lab in Pavia, Italy, from the late 1990s, then transferred to the INFN Underground Laboratory at Gran Sasso Laboratory, Italy, where it began operating in 2010. Traveled to CERN for refurbishment in 2014. Arrived at Fermilab in July 2017; currently under installation. Aims to start taking data in 2018.
    What makes it unique- Largest neutrino liquid argon TPC ever built


    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.

  • richardmitnick 1:11 pm on July 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cosmic ray tagger, FNAL/SBND, , , SBND - Short-Baseline Near Detector,   

    From FNAL: “SBND’s cosmic ray tagger begins taking data” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    June 28, 2017
    Igor Kreslo

    Members of the Short-Baseline Near Detector collaboration install the cosmic ray tagger in the SBND building. The cosmic ray tagger is made of the shiny, rectangular panels on the building floor. Photo: Reidar Hahn.

    On the morning of June 22, an important component of the Short-Baseline Near Detector (SBND) began taking data.

    The component, called the cosmic ray tagger, is the first of SBND’s subdetectors to be completed and operational.

    The SBND collaboration is constructing the Short-Baseline Near Detector piece by piece, and with the completion of the cosmic ray tagger, we’ve reached a construction and operations milestone.

    The SBND’s sought-after particle is the neutrino — a fleeting, difficult-to-capture particle. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that cosmic rays from outer space cloud the sought-after neutrino signal in the detector. The cosmic ray tagger, or CRT, is designed to identify the cosmic rays that rain down on the detector so scientists can subtract those traces from their data, revealing the neutrino signal.

    By functionality it is similar to the one installed earlier at the MicroBooNE detector, which you may have read about.

    The SBND collaboration installed and commissioned the cosmic ray tagger this month — in only two weeks. The CRT is composed of many finely grained modules capable of measuring an interaction instance to the nanosecond and to within a centimeter of its location in the CRT.

    With the newly operational cosmic ray tagger in its current configuration, SBND is currently characterizing the flux of particles called muons. These muons are produced by neutrinos from the Booster Neutrino Beamline so that scientists can measure their parameters in the SBND pit, where SBND will be built. Data taken during this characterization stage will be a great asset on the way to simulation and analysis for the whole SBND detector later on.

    The collaboration will continue to take data using the beam from the Booster Neutrino Beamline, as well as from cosmic rays, until the accelerator shutdown in July. When the accelerator complex restarts in October, we will restart data-taking using the CRT.

    We are grateful to collaborators at the University of Bern who designed and produced the CRT modules. And the swift installation and commissioning was possible thanks only to the tremendous dedication and commitment of many colleagues from the SBND collaboration as well as great support from Fermilab technical personnel.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    FNAL Icon
    Fermilab Campus

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

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