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  • richardmitnick 12:21 pm on July 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , being replaced by LBNL Lux Zeplin project, , ending, , Lead, , , SD, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility, U Washington LUX Dark matter Experiment at SURF, ,   

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab: “Some Assembly Required: Scientists Piece Together the Largest U.S.-Based Dark Matter Experiment” 

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    July 16, 2019

    Glenn Roberts Jr.
    geroberts@lbl.gov
    (510) 486-5582

    Major deliveries in June set the stage for the next phase of work on LUX-ZEPLIN project.

    1
    Lower (left) and upper photomultiplier tube arrays are prepared for LZ at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota. (Credit: Matt Kapust/SURF)

    Most of the remaining components needed to fully assemble an underground dark matter-search experiment called LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) arrived at the project’s South Dakota home during a rush of deliveries in June.

    When complete, LZ will be the largest, most sensitive U.S.-based experiment yet that is designed to directly detect dark matter particles. Scientists around the world have been trying for decades to solve the mystery of dark matter, which makes up about 85 percent of all matter in the universe though we have so far only detected it indirectly through observed gravitational effects.

    The bulk of the digital components for LZ’s electronics system, which is designed to transmit and record signals from ever-slight particle interactions in LZ’s core detector vessel, were among the new arrivals at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). SURF, the site of a former gold mine now dedicated to a broad spectrum of scientific research, was also home to a predecessor search experiment called LUX.

    U Washington LUX Dark matter Experiment at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

    A final set of snugly fitting acrylic vessels, which will be filled with a special liquid designed to identify false dark matter signals in LZ’s inner detector, also arrived at SURF in June.

    3
    An intricately thin wire grid is visible (click image to view larger size) atop an array of photomultiplier tube. The components are part of the LZ inner detector. (Credit: Matt Kapust/SURF)

    Also, the last two of four intricately woven wire grids that are essential to maintain a constant electric field and extract signals from the experiment’s inner detector, also called the time projection chamber, arrived in June (see related article).

    LZ achieved major milestones in June. It was the busiest single month for delivering things to SURF — it was the peak,” said LZ Project Director Murdock Gilchriese of the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Berkeley Lab is the lead institution for the LZ project, which is supported by an international collaboration that has about 37 participating institutions and about 250 researchers and technical support crew members.

    “A few months from now all of the action on LZ is going to be at SURF — we are already getting close to having everything there,” Gilchriese said.

    Mike Headley, executive director at SURF, said, “We’ve been collectively preparing for these deliveries for some time and everything has gone very well. It’s been exciting to see the experiment assembly work progress and we look forward to lowering the assembled detector a mile underground for installation.”

    4
    Components for the LUX-ZEPLIN project are stored inside a water tank nearly a mile below ground. The inner detector will be installed on the central mount pictured here, and acrylic vessels (wrapped in white) will fit snugly around this inner detector. (Credit: Matt Kapust/SURF)

    All of these components will be transported down a shaft and installed in a nearly mile-deep research cavern. The rock above provides a natural shield against much of the constant bombardment of particles raining down on the planet’s surface that produce unwanted “noise.”

    LZ components have also been painstakingly tested and selected to ensure that the materials they are made of do not themselves interfere with particle signals that researchers are trying to tease out.

    LZ is particularly focused on finding a type of theoretical particle called a weakly interacting massive particle or WIMP by triggering a unique sequence of light and electrical signals in a tank filled with 10 metric tons of highly purified liquid xenon, which is among Earth’s rarest elements. The properties of xenon atoms allow them to produce light in certain particle interactions.

    Proof of dark matter particles would fundamentally change our understanding of the makeup of the universe, as our current Standard Model of Physics does not account for their existence.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics (LATHAM BOYLE AND MARDUS OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

    Assembly of the liquid xenon time projection chamber for LZ is now about 80 percent complete, Gilchriese said. When fully assembled later this month this inner detector will contain about 500 photomultiplier tubes. The tubes are designed to amplify and transmit signals produced within the chamber.

    5
    An array of photomultiplier tubes that are designed to detect signals occurring within LZ’s liquid xenon tank. (Credit: Matt Kapust/SURF)

    Once assembled, the time projection chamber will be lowered carefully into a custom titanium vessel already at SURF. Before it is filled with xenon, this chamber will be lowered to a depth of about 4,850 feet. It will be carried in a frame that is specially designed to minimize vibrations, and then floated into the experimental cavern across a temporarily assembled metal runway on air-pumped pucks known as air skates.

    Finally, it will be lowered into a larger outer titanium vessel, already underground, to form the final vacuum-insulated cryostat needed to house the liquid xenon.

    That daylong journey, planned in September, will be a nail-biting experience for the entire project team, noted Berkeley Lab’s Simon Fiorucci, LZ deputy project manager.

    “It will certainly be the most stressful — this is the thing that really cannot fail. Once we’re done with this, a lot of our risk disappears and a lot of our planning becomes easier,” he said, adding, “This will be the biggest milestone that’s left besides having liquid xenon in the detector.”

    Project crews will soon begin testing the xenon circulation system, already installed underground, that will continually circulate xenon through the inner detector, further purify it, and reliquify it. Fiorucci said researchers will use about 250 pounds of xenon for these early tests.

    Work is also nearing completion on LZ’s cryogenic cooling system that is required to convert xenon gas to its liquid form.

    6
    Researchers from the University of Rochester in June installed six racks of electronics hardware that will be used to process signals from the LZ experiment. (Credit: University of Rochester)

    LZ digital electronics, which will ultimately connect to the arrays of photomultiplier tubes and enable the readout of signals from particle interactions, were designed, developed, delivered, and installed by University of Rochester researchers and technical staff at SURF in June.

    “All of our electronics have been designed specifically for LZ with the goal of maximizing our sensitivity for the smallest possible signals,” said Frank Wolfs, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester who is overseeing the university’s efforts.

    He noted that more than 28 miles of coaxial cable will connect the photomultiplier tubes and their amplifying electronics – which are undergoing tests at UC Davis – to the digitizing electronics. “The successful installation of the digital electronics and the online network and computing infrastructure in June makes us eager to see the first signals emerge from LZ,” Wolfs added.

    Also in June, LZ participants exercised high-speed data connections from the site of the experiment to the surface level at SURF and then to Berkeley Lab. Data captured by the detectors’ electronics will ultimately be transferred to LZ’s primary data center, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Berkeley Lab via the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), a high-speed nationwide data network based at Berkeley Lab.

    NERSC

    NERSC Cray Cori II supercomputer at NERSC at LBNL, named after Gerty Cori, the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in science

    NERSC Hopper Cray XE6 supercomputer


    LBL NERSC Cray XC30 Edison supercomputer


    The Genepool system is a cluster dedicated to the DOE Joint Genome Institute’s computing needs. Denovo is a smaller test system for Genepool that is primarily used by NERSC staff to test new system configurations and software.

    NERSC PDSF


    PDSF is a networked distributed computing cluster designed primarily to meet the detector simulation and data analysis requirements of physics, astrophysics and nuclear science collaborations.

    Future:

    Cray Shasta Perlmutter SC18 AMD Epyc Nvidia pre-exascale supeercomputer

    NERSC is a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

    The production of the custom acrylic tanks (see related article), which will contain a fluid known as a liquid scintillator, was overseen by LZ participants at University of California,Santa Barbara.

    5
    The top three acrylic tanks for the LUX-ZEPLIN outer detector during testing at the fabrication vendor. These tanks are now at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota. (Credit: LZ Collaboration)

    “The partnership between LZ and SURF is tremendous, as evidenced by the success of the assembly work to date,” Headley said. “We’re proud to be a part of the LZ team and host this world-leading experiment in South Dakota.”

    NERSC and ESnet are DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

    Major support for LZ comes from the DOE Office of Science, the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, the U.K.’s Science & Technology Facilities Council, and by collaboration members in the U.S., U.K., South Korea, and Portugal.

    More:

    For information about LZ and the LZ collaboration, visit: http://lz.lbl.gov/

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    LBNL campus

    Bringing Science Solutions to the World
    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California.

    University of California Seal

    DOE Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 9:00 am on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: DeMMO The Deep Mine Microbial Observatory, , NASA Astrobiology's Exobiology program, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “NASA Exobiology studies extremophiles at Sanford Lab” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    June 17, 2019
    Erin Broberg

    Researchers with NASA’s Exobiology Program are in search of extremophiles deep below the earth’s surface.

    1
    Brittany Kruger and Lily Momper, researchers with NASA’s Exobiology Program, collect samples on the 2000 Level of Sanford Lab. Matthew Kapust

    It’s not all cleanrooms and Tyvek suits at Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab). Sometimes, it’s muck boots and headlamps. Last week, visiting biologists stepped off the cage onto the 1700 Level of Sanford Lab. From there, the team motored via trolley through the drift, took ATVs down a ramp and walked a mile through shin-deep water by the light of their headlamps to reach a collection site on the 2000 Level.

    Researchers were in search of inhabitants that live deep below the earth’s surface.

    The project is part of NASA Astrobiology’s Exobiology program, which aims to understand the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the Universe. In an earlier phase of the project, Kruger’s team collected samples from other extreme environments, including wells near Death Valley, naturally-occurring springs in Northern California and deep ocean environments.

    “We are studying subsurface samples to learn how microbes are metabolizing and surviving in those locations to help us understand how life might be functioning on other planets that experience the same or similar stressors, like extreme heat, temperature, pressure, radiation and lack of sunlight,” said Brittany Kruger, field work coordinator and assistant research scientist with the DRI.

    Sanford Lab, with over 370 miles of shafts, drifts and ramps, serves the project as DeMMO, or the Deep Mine Microbial Observatory. The observatory is a network of boreholes that intersect fluid-filled fractures on the 800, 2000, 3950 and 4850 levels. Kruger’s team visits two to three times a year to collect samples from the various boreholes.

    “Each borehole we visit is very different in terms of microbiology,” said Kruger. “The differences are not only dependent upon depth, but also on the chemistry of the water that flows through the site.”

    Once Kruger and her team collect the samples, they spend hours processing them.

    “At each DeMMO borehole, we do a suite of both biological and chemical analyses sample collecting,” said Kruger. Some chemical analyses are completed in situ, while other samples are collected in bottles with preservative to be analyzed in a lab. The chemical analysis helps researchers understand the specific environment in which the microbes are living.

    “In terms of microbiology, we take a two-part approach,” Kruger explained. “We take raw water back to the lab to try to grow microbes from that water sample. We also filter the water to collect and concentrate cells.” By concentrating the cells, researchers can do a roll call via DNA analysis to understand which species are present and how the community is functioning.

    “With each sample, we are finding thousands of species. The vast majority overlap with samples we or others have collected elsewhere. That being said, every time we take a sample, we find many organisms that are completely undescribed in the science community and are only known by their DNA sequences. We don’t yet know what they do, how they eat or how they live.”

    By studying these organisms, researchers hope to better understand how these microbes live in such extreme environments.

    “There are components of each of the sites that can relate to environments in space,” explained Kruger. “For example, if we are able to sample the water coming out of the holes anaerobically, without letting oxygen influence them, then that’s much more representative of something you might find on Europa (a moon of Jupiter) or an icy world where there is plenty of water, but no oxygen.”

    With the initial phase of determining whether the underground environments are stable—both microbially and chemically—the team is diving into more technically driven scientific questions, with implications for life on earth, as well as potential life in space.

    “This research informs big-picture questions,” said Kruger. “As a whole, we are gaining a better understanding of subsurface microbiology.”

    Learn more about DeMMO at Sanford Lab.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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.

    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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 8:35 am on May 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility,   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Seven years of science in the Davis Campus” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    May 24, 2019
    Erin Broberg

    Since 2012, the Davis Campus at Sanford Lab has been making international headlines in the global particle physics community.

    1
    Tom Shutt and Richard Gaitskell of the LUX collaboration talk to dignitaries during the dedication of the Davis Campus in 2012.
    Photo by Steve Babbit

    In the last seven years, a laboratory nearly a mile below the unassuming city of Lead, S.D. has been making international headlines in the global particle physics community:

    “World’s Most Sensitive Dark Matter Detector Completes Search”

    U Washington LUX Dark matter Experiment at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

    “Majorana publishes results in ‘Physical Review Letters'”

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    “LZ assembly begins — piecing together a 10-ton detector”

    3
    Inside the LZ water tank, assembly has begun on the Outer Cryostat Vessel. Photo by Matthew Kapust

    For those who were present for the official dedication of the Davis Campus on May 30, 2012, such headlines may have seemed too ambitious—if not altogether out-of-reach.

    Yet, since 2012, these headlines have bled into print, proving that the 30,000 sq. ft. facility on the 4850 Level of Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) is capable of housing incredibly-sensitive particle physics experiments.

    The first two rare-event searches to move into the Davis Campus were the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR (MAJORANA) and the Large Underground Xenon Experiment (LUX).

    Bill Harlan, the communications director for Sanford Lab in 2012, described the goals each experiment had at the time of the Davis Campus dedication: “MAJORANA’s goal is to prove that background noise at the Davis Campus is indeed ‘quiet’ enough to be worth the expense of searching here for neutrinoless double-beta decay, a process with an estimated half-life longer than a trillion times the age of the universe (if it happens at all). LUX too, a search for weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), is not only the most sensitive search yet, it’s a precursor to a bigger detector to be placed in the same spot, if it’s quiet enough.”

    LUX was quiet. In 2013, after a three-month run, the detector was declared the world’s most sensitive dark matter detector.

    In 2016, when LUX completed its search, professor of physics at Brown University and co-spokesperson for the LUX experiment Rick Gaiskell announced, “With this final result from the 2014-2016 search, the scientists of the LUX Collaboration have pushed the sensitivity of the instrument to a final performance level that is 4 times better than the original project goals.”

    Meanwhile, MAJORANA was attempting a different search in laboratory just down the corridor. The goal of MAJORANA is to “demonstrate” that the collaboration’s technology—using ultra-pure crystals of a germanium isotope in a detector deep underground—could achieve background radiation levels low enough to justify building a larger detector. In 2018, the collaboration published a study in Physical Review Letters proving exactly that.

    In the Davis Campus, both LUX and MAJORANA collaborations proved their ability to achieve backgrounds low-enough to observe incredibly rare events. These findings paved the way for next-generation experiments.

    The Davis Campus will be home to one of those forward-reaching experiments, the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) dark matter detector. LZ is currently being assembled in the same water tank that once housed its predecessor LUX. Peering down into the LZ water tank from the work deck above, researchers and engineers can see the assembly process for the 10-ton experiment underway. The Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Pawel Majewski recently returned to Sanford Lab after nearly half a year away, and was thrilled with what he saw.

    “I’m very excited. Activities are happening at full steam, which is great!” said Pawel, whose focus is LZ cryostat installation. “The underground area looks ready to welcome an experiment.”

    MAJORANA will take an active role in preparation for the next-generation search for neutrinoless double-beta decay: LEGEND-200 (Large Enriched Germanium Experiment for Neutrinoless ββ Decay). Although LEGEND-200 will be housed in Italy at Gran Sasso National Laboratory, ultra-pure copper electroformed by the MAJORANA collaboration will be used for the experiment.

    MAJORANA will also be used to validate the detectors created for LEGEND-200. “MAJORANA has proven itself fantastic for characterizing detectors,” said Christofferson. “When detectors are created for LEGEND-200, they will be placed in the MAJORANA experiment to be validated. This helps us figure out how they respond while next-generation experiment is still being built, which is time well-spent before they go into the final experiment.”

    With LZ anticipating data collection in 2020 and LEGEND-200 expecting first measurements in 2021, the physics community can soon expect more headlines rising from the underground Davis Campus at Sanford Lab.

    “The Davis Campus has become exactly what we hoped for—a lab where great science is happening every day a mile underground,” said Mike Headley, the executive director of Sanford Lab. “The science results from the Davis Campus experiments have been world-leading, and we look forward to even more progress into the future.”

    Read more about the Davis Campus history, renovation and dedication.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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.

    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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 8:11 am on March 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Fermi National Accelerator Lab via GIZMODO: “Fermilab Breaks Ground on a New Particle Accelerator to Solve the Mysteries of Neutrinos” 

    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

    GIZMODO bloc

    GIZMODO

    3/20/19
    Ryan F. Mandelbaum

    FNAL A superconducting radiofrequency cavity responsible for accelerating particles at the new PIP-II accelerator

    Construction began last week on a new particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. The new project will power Fermilab’s flagship neutrino-studying accelerator experiment.

    The Proton Improvement Plan II, formally approved by the Department of Energy last summer, includes plans for the highest-energy linear particle accelerator to accelerate a continuous stream of protons using superconducting radio-frequency cavities. That’s a mouthful—so it’s best to think of it as a central component to the American particle physics laboratory.

    PIP-II will “enable other particle physics experiments for many decades,” Lia Merminga, the director of the project from Fermilab, told Gizmodo.

    At present, Fermilab has a 500-foot-long superconducting radio-frequency linear accelerator that can send protons to 400 mega-electronvolts (MeV), or around 70 percent the speed of light. The PIP-II upgrade will include a 700-foot-long accelerator that doubles the energy to 800 MeV, 84 percent the speed of light. This is still a small fraction of the energies of particles produced at the Large Hadron Collider, but rather than producing bunches of particles the PIP-II upgrade will produce a continuous beam.

    Similar to how humming into a cup at just the right pitch makes your voice sound louder, linear accelerators amplify electric fields using resonance. There’s an electric field inside a cavity made from a superconductor and cooled by liquid helium, excited by a radio-frequency source with the same resonant frequency as the cavity. This increases the amplitudes of the electric fields, accelerating the charged particles that pass through.

    Though the accelerator has plenty of potential uses, it’s not the protons you should be most interested right now—instead, these protons will hit a graphite target, producing the incredibly low-mass, mysterious particles called neutrinos. Trillions of these neutrinos will travel 800 miles underground to a detector in South Dakota as part of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, or DUNE.

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


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford


    DUNE’s scientists hope to understand the nature of these particles, like why they oscillate between their three possible types, seemingly by magic.

    PIP-II is also notable as the first Department of Energy-funded accelerator project to be built with significant international contribution. About a quarter of the project’s funding will come from other countries, explained Merminga, including France, India, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

    The project is just one part of the new neutrino experiment, but together with the DUNE detectors and the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facilities that will house the detectors, it will be an important American particle physics experiment to keep your eye on.

    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

     
  • richardmitnick 3:37 pm on March 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Sanford Lab's impacts on education in South Dakota", Sanford Lab's education team uses hands-on learning and 3-Dimensional instruction to transform teaching and learning in K-12 STEM classes., SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Sanford Lab’s impacts on education in South Dakota” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    Sanford Lab’s education team uses hands-on learning and 3-Dimensional instruction to transform teaching and learning in K-12 STEM classes.

    Story by Sanford Lab staff.
    Photos by Matthew Kapust

    Sanford Lab’s education team uses hands-on learning and 3-Dimensional instruction to transform teaching and learning in K-12 STEM classes.

    The Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) takes very seriously its mission to “…inspire and educate through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)” using both informal and formal education.

    Public outreach programs include Deep Talks and Neutrino Day, reaching more than 2,500 people annually. However, Sanford Lab’s education impacts are, perhaps, most keenly felt through the efforts of its Education and Outreach (E&O) team. Through a partnership between Black Hills State University and Sanford Lab, the E&O team has developed curriculum units, school assembly programs and field trips for K-12 students, leveraging the world-leading research hosted at Sanford Lab to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders.

    “Through these programs, we use current and future experiments, as well as day-to-day operations at Sanford Lab, to engage students in doing science and acting as engineers to solve real problems,” said Deb Wolf, director of E&O.

    The team reaches more than 10,000 K-12 students annually and since 2015 has touched the lives of more than 40,000 children throughout South Dakota.

    The programs extend to teachers as well. The E&O team also hosts professional development workshops for K-12 teachers, hosting nearly 200 teachers over the past three years, both at Sanford Lab and online. The team teaches teachers how to incorporate the science happening at Sanford Lab into their classrooms.

    “I like the big ideas—the connections to the lab, international research on a topic and the fundamental science ideas.”—Michelle Crane, Douglas High School science teacher.

    Education and Outreach recognizes the diverse student populations that exist across our large and sparsely populated region, including urban, rural and tribal schools. Equity of science education opportunities varies greatly. Science education opportunities vary greatly. We are attempting to level the playing field—and increase equity in science education—by providing enriching activities for all student populations throughout our state and region.

    “Our team believes that every student deserves high-quality science learning that gives them the opportunity to see themselves as having unlimited potential. In the large, often sparsely-populated region that encompasses South Dakota and surrounding states, providing equitable science learning opportunities for students is of highest priority.”—Deb Wolf, E&O Director.

    Sanford Lab understands that children learn by doing. Every curriculum unit, every classroom presentation, and every field trip to Sanford Lab provides ample opportunities for children to channel their inner scientist.

    “The best way to learn about science is simple, you have to let kids be scientists,” said Becky Bundy, science education specialist at Sanford Lab. And the best way to do that is to let them wrestle with the same problems scientists are wrestling with and come up with their own solutions.

    3
    Students reached

    The Sanford Lab Education and Outreach team reaches more than 10,000 K-12 children every year with its curriculum modules, assembly programs and field trips.

    Teacher impacts

    Each curriculum unit developed by our Education and Outreach team provides K-12 teachers with 5-15 hours of instruction. Everything a teacher needs to teach a curriculum unit is included. For example, if a unit requires Dixie cups, there will be enough for each child. The units are assembled at Sanford Lab then mailed to schools—all at no cost to the teacher or the school district. Additionally, teachers receive training on how to facilitate the units, all of which are based on a science experiment hosted underground at Sanford Lab. Each unit is aligned with South Dakota science standards.

    Comments from teachers using the curriculum units:

    “These kits are such a valuable resource!” 1st grade teacher, South Park Elementary

    “The hands-on materials are great and the unit is very user friendly.” 5th Grade teacher, Hill City

    “This unit inspired a lot of critical thinking.” 4th grade teacher, Rapid City

    4
    People attending events
    Sanford Lab hosts several public events every year, including Neutrino Day and Deep Talks, reaching more than 2,500 people.

    3-D teaching and learning

    Based on a student-centered model and consistent with the National Research Council’s “A Framework for K-12 Science Education,” our curriculum units bring together disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts. Students work as scientists to gain critical thinking skills that allow them to design solutions to real-world problems and make sense of natural phenomena.

    The E&O team receives hundreds of letters from students every year (see photo). Here are some of the comments:

    “I think it was interesting how we people use bio-life forms like bugs to clean our water. Thank you for using your time to teach us about your work.” Simon, 6th grade, Sioux Falls

    “I enjoyed learning about your job and what you do….It was interesting that people can’t feel cosmic radiation. I still want to know how you can detect dark matter when you don’t know if it is even reel (sic) or what it looks like.” Micah, 6th grade, Sioux Falls.

    6

    Feature
    K-12 STEM education
    Based on South Dakota’s science standards, our education specialists work to create and advance innovative educational programming at the local, state and national levels.
    Full Details

    7

    Feature
    Education and Outreach 2018 by the numbers
    Reaching more than 30,000 students and training over a hundred educators—all in the name of STEM education
    Full Details

    8

    Portal
    Resources for educators
    Leveraging research being conducted underground at Sanford Lab, we provide training, teaching tools and materials for teachers so they can inspire and challenge students.
    Full Details

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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.

    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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 1:57 pm on March 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Life in the (low) background", Alan “Al” Smith, BLBF LBNL & SURF, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility, The science of low-background counting   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Life in the (low) background” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    March 15, 2019
    Erin Broberg

    Alan Smith set the gold standard for low background counting—a standard that guides the BLBF at Sanford Lab today.

    1
    Alan Smith (right) explains data recorded at the Oroville facility, where the first-generation dark matter and neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment was housed. Seated next to Smith is Dave Martinez, key account manager for AMETEK ORTEC. (Circa 1994.) Photo courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

    In 1953, Alan “Al” Smith arrived for his first day of work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Over the next seven decades, Smith advanced the science of low-background counting, working to push the capacity of detectors to see ever more minute signatures. He officially retired in 1994, but continued to come to the lab until 2018. By age of 92, Smith had created a “gold standard” of gamma-ray assay counting at Berkeley Lab and established a legacy within particle and nuclear physics research communities.

    “Al’s career has always been in the background of nuclear science—literally,” said Keenan Thomas, Nuclear Counting Facility Manager at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who was previously mentored by Smith at Berkeley Lab as part of the Berkeley Low Background Facility (BLBF) team.

    Quieting the search

    Rare-event searches, such as the Majorana Demonstrator’s search for neutrinoless double-beta decay or LUX-ZEPLIN’s (LZ) dark matter hunt, don’t just need to be shielded from cosmic rays—they also require some of the world’s cleanest materials. By “clean,” researchers mean radio-pure; they are looking for materials with the lowest concentrations of radioactive elements.

    As radioactive elements such as uranium, thorium and potassium decay, they emit signals that quickly light up ultra-sensitive detectors and overwhelm rare-event signals. To lessen these misleading signatures, researchers use low-background counters (LBCs), which can detect even the tiniest amounts of radioactivity and assay all materials and components.

    “Low-background counting is a tedious, yet critical, quality-control step toward success of rare-event experiments,” said Thomas. “Low-level assays are one of our last lines of defense to ensure that an experiment will be successful in achieving the sensitivity to the very weak signals it was designed for—and not be masked by spurious background signals generated from many different sources, including the materials in the detector itself.”

    Going deeper for science

    Smith’s career both paralleled and propelled advances in low-background counting. When Smith began his work in the 1950s, nuclear science was relatively new and booming, with many measurements yet to be made. The Bevatron particle accelerator came online at Berkeley Lab in 1954, and Smith was initially tasked with assessing the stray neutrons it produced.

    LBNL Bevatron

    To do this, he placed large aluminum discs called “activation foils” around the perimeter of the Bevatron to “capture” neutrons that scattered from the accelerator. By assaying these foils later with sodium iodide detectors, Smith determined the amount of neutrons produced using weak signals from the trace amounts of radioactivity generated in the foils.

    3
    Smith places an aluminum disk sample exposed to radiation at the Bevatron into a lead and concrete box containing a detector at the low-level radiation counting facility, circa 1950s.
    Photo courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

    Smith realized that the Bevatron itself created a dynamic background, which clouded the measurements. To reduce this noise, a low background “cave” was constructed using a single pour of concrete, with walls ranging from 4-6 feet thick. Smith and a graduate student, Harold Wollenberg, carefully counted dozens of samples of concrete source materials to find a supply with the lowest levels of naturally occurring radioactive elements. The dense walls reduced external backgrounds from the Bevatron, cosmic rays and natural radioactivity in the environment—all with the benefit of not emitting a significant amount of background themselves. This cave became the surface location for the Berkeley Low Background Facility (BLBF) and is still in use today.

    In the 1980s, Smith became involved with the University of California-Santa Barbara and Berkeley Lab double-beta decay experiment, which used high-purity germanium detectors. Originally installed in the low-background cave at Berkeley Lab, researchers soon realized the backgrounds from cosmic rays were still too high. Smith turned to his professional connections at the underground Hyatt Power Plant at Oroville Dam, to secure a space for the experiment to relocate a few hundred feet below ground. The underground space supplied sufficient overburden for the experiment, and transitioned into a remote location that housed low-background counters for BLBF for decades.

    In 2014, the BLBF at Oroville was relocated to the Black Hills State University Underground Campus (BHUC) on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab. Before the move, Smith assayed hundreds of samples from the 4850 Level, including natural rocks, concrete, shotcrete, paint and other materials to determine what kinds of backgrounds existed. His attention to these samples from the underground construction of the Davis Campus created ample material-radiopurity data that researchers now use in simulations for Sanford Lab experiments. Once the transition to BHUC was completed in 2015, Smith and his team received and analyzed data online at Berkeley Lab.

    Today, the BLBF performs low background counting in its two unique facilities—the surface site at Berkeley Lab and the underground site at Sanford Lab. Researchers assaying their materials from a distance can monitor results in real-time, while relying on daily support from BHSU faculty and students and Sanford Lab staff. Support includes changing samples in the detectors, monitoring the liquid nitrogen systems that purge radon from inside the detectors and assistance in the installation of detectors underground.

    “The campus at Sanford Lab is an ideal location for these counters,” said Kevin Lesko, senior scientist at Berkeley Lab. “Not only does its depth create a shield for the detectors, but it’s in the thick of major physics experiments—it’s where the action is.”

    Both facility locations owe much of their design and creation to Smith’s meticulous measurements.

    Creating a “gold standard”

    Throughout his career, Smith pushed the capabilities of low-background counting, striving to make more and more sensitive measurements. As technology advanced, his methods of detection graduated from sodium iodine (NaI), to germanium lithium-drifted (GeLi) and eventually to high-purity germanium detectors (HPGe). With each advancement, his methods became more sensitive and intrinsic backgrounds needed to be reduced even further. Reducing backgrounds necessitated knowledge in the natural radioactivity of common materials used in the shielding and detectors themselves.

    As he measured countless materials for various projects, Smith developed a deep expertise that became crucial to research into neutrinos, neutrinoless double-beta decay and dark matter—experiments that required extreme radiopurity in detector materials to detect extremely rare, weakly-interacting signals.

    His vast knowledge of the backgrounds in common materials, including metals, composites and ceramics, brought many researchers at Berkeley Lab to him first when designing experiments. Researchers would ask what they should use to create a component of their experiment, and Smith would quickly point them toward the materials with the lowest levels of natural radioactivity.

    3
    Smith displaying the Michael Nitschke Award for Technical Excellence he received in 2001. Photo courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

    “We have immense trust in Al’s judgement,” said Alan Poon, deputy director of the Berkeley Lab Nuclear Science Division, who worked with Smith on multiple projects, including the design and construction of the Majorana Demonstrator detector. “Looking at the counting data from a sample, he could sometimes give us an entire history of the material and the impact it would make on our experiment.”

    When Smith left Berkeley Lab in 2018, he had contributed to dozens of high-profile physics experiments—including Nobel Prize-winning SNO, KATRIN, the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment, LUX [see below], LZ [see below], Majorana [see below], CUORE, DM-Ice, LBNE (the precursor to LBNF/DUNE [see below]), Double Chooz, KamLAND, and more—all while living in the background.

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

    KIT Katrin experiment

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

    CUORE experiment,at the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics’ (INFN’s) Gran Sasso National Laboratories (LNGS) in Italy,a search for neutrinoless double beta decay

    Double-Chooz – Two identical detectors are to be installed near the Chooz nuclear power plant, in the French Ardennes, at different distances from the reactors

    KamLAND-Zen detector, an electron antineutrino detector at the Kamioka Observatory, an underground neutrino detection facility near Toyama, Japan

    “I don’t think we would have achieved what we did without Al’s work,” said Poon. “He set the gold standard for low-background counting.”

    Looking forward

    Sanford Lab benefits tremendously from the impacts of Smith and his team. His scrupulous records of underground backgrounds inform researcher’s simulations, while the materials he screened are part of the the Majorana Demonstrator and LZ dark matter detectors.

    Most notably, his influence is seen at the BLBF on the 4850 Level, where six low-background counters quietly collect data using high-purity germanium detectors.

    BLBF LBNL& SURF

    Here, the same detectors once used for measuring materials for LUX and the Majorana Demonstrator will continue counting for next-generation experiments, including LZ, LEGEND and the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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.

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

    LBNL LZ project 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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 11:51 am on March 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What are cosmic rays?", As Hess ascended 5300 meters he measured the rate of ionization in the earth’s atmosphere finding it increased by three times the amount at sea level., , , At SURF LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) which is searching for dark matter and the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR which seeks to better understand the properties of neutrinos build additional shielding to block out the rest., , Cosmic rays were first discovered in August 1912 by Austrian physicist Victor Hess on an historic balloon flight., , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “What are cosmic rays?” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    March 11, 2019
    Constance Walter

    1
    Sandbox Studio, Chicago

    At Sanford Underground Research Facility, we talk a lot about cosmic rays and the need to escape them—not because they are harmful to humans, but because they create background noise in sensitive physics experiments that are seeking very rare physics events.

    So, what are cosmic rays, exactly, and why the need to escape them?

    Cosmic rays were first discovered in August 1912 by Austrian physicist Victor Hess on an historic balloon flight. As Hess ascended 5,300 meters, he measured the rate of ionization in the earth’s atmosphere, finding it increased by three times the amount at sea level.

    The term ‘cosmic rays’ is a misnomer. They’re really particles—mostly protons—that hurtle through space at nearly the speed of light. When they arrive at our little rock, they collide with the nuclei of other atoms in the upper atmosphere, creating even more particles that then shower the earth (one or two pass through your hand unimpeded every second). To escape these ubiquitous particles, researchers build physics experiments deep underground.

    At Sanford Lab, the rock overburden stops most of the cosmic radiation before it reaches the experiments on the 4850 Level. Still, LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), which is searching for dark matter, and the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR, which seeks to better understand the properties of neutrinos, build additional shielding to block out the rest.

    In a 2017 paper [Science], MAJORANA reported that the depth of the experiment in conjunction with its extraordinary shielding efforts had paid off.

    “We know that we created an environment that is incredibly clean and quiet,” said Vincente Guiseppe, co-spokesperson with MAJORANA. “Our initial results give us a better understanding of the always-elusive neutrino and how it shaped the universe.”

    But some researchers don’t want to avoid cosmic rays—they want to understand them. According to NASA, understanding the chemical composition of cosmic rays is important because they are direct samples of matter from outside the solar system and contain rare elements and they can provide important information on the chemical evolution of the universe.

    Dr. Mike Cherry, the Roy P. Daniels Professor of Physics at Louisiana State University, studied very energetic cosmic rays nearly a mile underground at the Homestake Mine (now the Sanford Underground Research Facility) in Lead, South Dakota, from 1980 to 1988.

    “We wanted to find out the source of these rare, very energetic cosmic events,” Cherry said.“High-energy cosmic rays are the rarest form and could come from exploding stars, which may also emit gamma-ray bursts.”

    Cherry installed the Large Area Scintillation Detector (LASD)—an array of 200 one-foot square plastic pipes welded together and stacked around Ray Davis’ solar neutrino tank. The pipes contained ultra-pure mineral oil and had sensitive light detectors on each end. In conjunction with an array of air shower detectors on the surface, Cherry hoped to draw a line between cosmic ray events on the surface and underground. He continues to do research in the field.

    A Black Hills cosmic connection

    Balloon flights from the 1930s through the mid-1960s—some of which took place from the Stratobowl in the Black Hills of South Dakota—continued to measure both high- and low-energy cosmic radiation. The flights also gathered meteorological and other scientific data necessary to improve safety at high altitudes.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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.

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

    LBNL LZ project 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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 12:06 pm on February 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , LBNL LZ- LUX-ZEPLIN experiment at SURF, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility, The LZ collaboration will circulate liquid xenon through the test cryostat to ensure the system will work properly when the experiment begins operations next year   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “LZ begins new phase: testing the xenon circulation system” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    February 25, 2019
    Constance Walter

    Test will ensure critical element of the next-generation dark matter experiment will operate as needed.

    1
    David Woodward, a researcher on the LZ experiment, works on the test cryostat. Photo by Claudio Pascoal da Silva

    In preparation to test the xenon circulation system for the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) dark matter experiment, David Woodward carefully positioned a tower holding a stainless-steel test cryostat. The LZ collaboration will circulate liquid xenon through the test cryostat to ensure the system will work properly when the experiment begins operations next year.

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

    “We aren’t looking for dark matter with this test. But we do want to make sure all of our systems work the way they are supposed to,” said Woodward, a post doc at Penn State University.

    The circulation system is, perhaps, the most critical component of the LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter experiment. LZ will use 10 tons of liquid xenon to look for WIMPs—weakly interacting massive particles—and that xenon must meet very high radio-purity standards to eliminate background noise. To achieve and maintain this level of radiopurity, the xenon must be continuously removed, purified and reintroduced to the LZ detector, or circulated, during operation.

    The circulation system sits outside the water tank, which will house LZ. It’s a complicated system comprised of thousands of components: circulation compressors, tubing, wiring, sensors, all of which will connect to the actual experiment. The inner cryostat will hold the xenon, which will be fed into the experiment through an opening at the bottom of the water tank then continuously circulated.

    The test cryostat is designed very much like the real inner cryostat. It is the same height and has many of the same components; however, it is not as big around.

    “One of the goals of the test is to make sure we can circulate the xenon at the correct rate,” Woodward said. “That’s definitely possible even with a test device that isn’t exactly the same size as the actual device. It helps us understand whether the flow will work correctly—to make sure we can get the xenon to circulate all the way to the top of the actual cryostat,” Woodward added.

    The tower holding the test cryostat was positioned precisely to ensure the xenon transfer lines, which have a fixed length, will reach the real LZ cryostat once the experiment is actually running. The collaboration will monitor the system; however, there are some things they won’t be able to know, unless they can physically look inside the test cryostat. To do that, they added a glass view port on the top of the device.

    Why do they need a viewport?

    “The xenon has to stay at a certain temperature to remain liquid (minus 169.2 degrees F),” Woodward said. “If it doesn’t stay cold enough, it can revert back to gas. Gas creates bubbles, so if that happened, we could see the bubbles. But, really, we don’t want to see anything—we want this test to be boring and just see a nice flow of the liquid xenon. But if something did happen, we could see it.”

    The team will test the circulation system for several months, or as long as possible, Woodward said, to ensure it is working correctly. Then the test cryostat will be unhooked and removed. By end of summer this year, the actual cryostat will be installed, with operation of the experiment expected to begin in early 2020.

    “This test is very important to our experiment, a very important check for the next phase,” Woodward added.

    Facts and figures

    The test cryostat is made of stainless steel, whereas the one that will be used in the experiment is made of titanium. Although it is as tall as the actual cryostat, it is much smaller in diameter. “We are not looking to collect physics data with the test vessel, so we don’t need the volume,” said Woodward.

    In building the test vessel, the team followed fairly closely the cleanliness protocols for the actual vessel that will be used. It’s important that we have the purest materials possible to minimize radioactive backgrounds in the actual experiment. “We don’t want this test to dirty the real circulation system, so we had to construct it inside the surface clean room then seal it up before bringing it underground,” Woodward said.

    The test cryostat arrived from Penn State where it was initially assembled inside a cleanroom. At Sanford Lab, the test cryostat was cleaned and prepared for use underground. Now, it is underground where it is being used to test the circulation system. “That’s how we’ll know if the system is working.”

    By the numbers:

    100 inches: The height of the inner cryostat
    10 feet: The height of the outer cryostat
    10 tons: The amount of liquid xenon that will be used inside the inner cryostat
    70 kg: The amount of liquid xenon used to test the circulation system

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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

    LBNL LZ project will replace LUX at SURF [see below]

    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.

    Fermilab LBNE
    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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 5:27 pm on February 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Photo Essay- Underground Lab science in many fields, , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Science impact” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    2.20.19
    Erin Broberg
    Matthew Kapust, photographer

    Sanford Lab’s dedication to science, research and development and engineering, as well as its innovative approach to education, make it a world-leading science facility.

    1
    Dark matter science impacts

    The LZ experiment is the upgraded successor to the highly successful Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment. LUX held world-leading sensitivity for approximately three and a half years over most of the WIMP-mass region. The LZ experiment was one of two direct-search, next-generation dark matter experiments selected for funding by DOE’s Office of High Energy Physics (HEP).

    LZ involves a collaboration of 250 scientists, engineers and technicians from 38 institutions, including five U.S. National Labs. LZ expects to achieve a projected sensitivity level up to 100 times better than the final LUX search result for weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), the leading dark matter particle candidate.

    Currently in the construction and installation phase, LZ is expected to begin operations in late 2019. The collaboration will perform a direct search for dark matter using 10 tonnes of liquid xenon within an ultra-pure titanium cryostat that will be surrounded by a new liquid scintillator veto system. The entire experiment will be immersed in a 72,000-gallon tank filled with ultra-pure water.

    7
    Neutrino science impacts

    Beginning with Dr. Ray Davis’ groundbreaking neutrino research (1965-1992), the drifts at Sanford Lab are dedicated to refining knowledge about neutrinos and other research.

    The Majorana Demonstrator Project has been collecting physics data since 2017. Recently published results are competitive with world-leading experiments and highlight the exceptional energy resolution and low backgrounds that have been achieved through the shielding offered at Sanford Lab.

    The MJD project invested significant resources to produce the world’s purest copper. In parallel with ongoing MJD operations, specific elements—such as electronics upgrades and copper electroforming—are being pursued at Sanford Lab in the context of R&D for the next-generation neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment called the Large Enriched Germanium Experiment for Neutrinoless bb Decay (LEGEND). LEGEND-200 physics data collection is expected to begin in 2021. Extraordinary levels of material radiopurity will be required to reach the LEGEND-1000 background goal.

    The work done at Sanford Lab, including depth and ultra-pure materials, have been instrumental in refining the search and preparing for the next generations.

    223 acres
    Surface footprint
    9

    The local footprint of the facility includes 223 acres on the surface. Facilities at both the Yates and Ross surface campuses offer researchers administrative support, office space, communications and education and public outreach. The Waste Water Treatment Plant handles and processes waste materials and a warehouse for shipping and receiving.

    370 miles
    Underground footprint
    10
    Of the 370 total miles of underground space, Sanford Lab maintains approximately 12 for science at various levels, including the 300, 800, 1700, 2000, 4100, and 4850 levels. The Davis Campus on the 4850 Level is a world-class laboratory space that houses experiment for neutrinoless double-beta decay and dark matter.

    The CASPAR experiment, led by SD Mines, studies stellar nuclear fusion reactions, especially neutron production for slow neutron-capture nucleosynthesis (s-process). Accelerator components were relocated from the University of Notre Dame in 2015, and since the first beam in May 2017 and the first operations event in July 2017, accelerator commissioning has continued. Advanced commissioning data were obtained starting in February 2018 using the domain of interest for stellar CNO reactions.

    “Researchers at CASPAR are engaging a community of researchers. Although Notre Dame and SD Mines are at the core, the collaboration continues to reach out to other research groups to build interest. One of the biggest impacts in South Dakota is the number of grad students participating in the Physics Ph.D. program in the state.” —Jaret Heise

    CASPAR at SURF

    12
    Low-background counting impacts

    The BHUC houses a low-background counting facility where components for physics experiments, including current and future Sanford Lab experiments, can be assayed. There has been significant interest in the BHUC low-background counting facility from many groups, including the Sub Electron Noise Skipper-CCD Experimental Instrument (SENSEI) experiment, which aims to search for low-mass dark matter using ~100 g of silicon CCD sensors, and the Germanium Internal Charge Amplification for Dark Matter Searches (GeICA) project.

    Six high-purity germanium detectors are currently operating at the facility, with installation of an additional germanium detector expected in 2019. These low-background counters have been instrumental in characterizing materials for the LZ experiment for the past several years.

    “The campus at Sanford Lab is an ideal location for these counters. Not only does its depth create a shield for the detectors, but it’s in the thick of major physics experiments—it’s where the action is.” —Kevin Lesko, senior scientist at Lawrence Berkley National Lab (Berkeley Lab) who manages the measurement and control of backgrounds

    13
    Geology research impacts

    The SIGMA-V experiment, led by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab), is a significant effort within the earth science field. SIGMA-V mobilized in October 2017, drilling a set of eight horizontal holes (each nearly 200 feet long) on the 4850L.

    Members of the SIGMA-V experiment are continuing to explore enhanced or engineered geothermal systems (EGS) by building on results obtained from a previous experiment that was hosted at SURF between 2016 and 2017. Both groups drilled new holes as field demonstration sites in support of DOE flagship EGS effort called the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE). SIGMA-V is testing the validation of thermal-hydrological mechanical-chemical (THMC) modeling approaches, as well as novel monitoring tools.

    4
    Biology opportunities

    Important questions in life science, such as the conditions of life, the extent of life and ultimately the rules of life, are also being addressed underground at SURF. Generally, these programs have a small footprint in existing spaces and require only modest support from the facility. Biology researchers take full advantage of SURF’s footprint by gathering samples from a number of underground levels and areas with different temperatures and geologic mineralogies. Various groups focus on the diversity of life, including rock-hosted microbial ecosystems, and engineering applications such as improvements to biofuel production.

    15
    Engineering

    The Sanford Underground Research Facility offers a variety of environments in which engineers can test real-world applications and new technologies. And the rich history of the Homestake Mine, which includes a vast archive of core samples, allows engineers to better understand how to excavate caverns for new experiments.

    Sanford Lab’s dedication to science, research and development and engineering, as well as its innovative approach to education, make it a world-leading science facility.

    The Sanford Underground Research Facility supports world-leading research in particle and nuclear physics and other science disciplines. While still a gold mine, the facility hosted Ray Davis’s solar neutrino experiment, which shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics. His work is a model for other experiments looking to understand the nature of the universe.

    The Facility’s depth, rock stability and history make it ideal for sensitive experiments that need to escape cosmic rays. The impacts on science can be seen worldwide.

    2
    Our science as national priority

    In 2014, the Department of Energy’s High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP) committee prioritized physics experiments, giving neutrino and dark matter projects high-priority. Sanford Lab houses two of the five experiments named in the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P-5) Report: LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) and LBNF/DUNE.

    In 2015, a similar report done by the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Science Advisory Committee (NSAC) committee prioritized the ton-scale neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment, which aligns with the objectives of the Majorana Demonstrator Project.

    3
    International investment and cooperation

    Sanford Lab hosts a variety of research projects in many disciplines. Researchers from around the globe use the facility to learn more about our universe, life underground and the unique geology of the region.

    The site also allows scientists to share and foster growth within the science community and encourages cooperation between many countries and institutions.

    We now have several hundred researchers from dozens of institutions around the world.

    For example, for the first time in its history, CERN is investing in an experiment outside of the European Union with its $90 million commitment to LBNF/DUNE in the form of ProtoDUNE. The ProtoDUNE detectors have already recorded physics results. Additionally, the UK committed $88 million to the project.

    CERN ProtoDune

    Cern ProtoDune

    4

    Local impact

    Building laboratory spaces deep underground at Sanford Lab created new opportunities for higher education in South Dakota. In 2012, the Board of Regents authorized a joint Ph.D. physics program at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City and the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. Since then, dozens of students have participated in the program and worked on experiments at Sanford Lab. In 2017, each university saw their first students complete the program.

    To date, there are 27 ongoing research projects housed at Sanford Lab, 24 of which include students and faculty from universities across South Dakota.

    The Black Hills State University Underground Campus (BHUC) provides a space for students from across the state to preform interdisciplinary research underground. While physics students contribute to large-scale physics experiments by working in the low background counting facility, students from other disciplines can work on research in two areas adjoining the counting cleanroom.

    “Biology students can study microbes in situ, and geology students can study the unique rock formations of the Black Hills,” said Briana Mount, director of the BHUC.

    Additionally, a National Science Foundation (NSF) program, Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), gives students from around the country, opportunities to pursue research through the underground campus.

    5

    Global footprint

    Competition for underground laboratory space is fierce. With the completion of the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) construction, Sanford Lab will host approximately 25 percent of the total volume of underground laboratory space in the world.

    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford


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

    The sheer amount of space (7,700 acres underground) and existing infrastructure make the site highly attractive for future experiments in a variety of disciplines.

    Global footprint depth

    Sanford Lab is the deepest underground lab in the U.S. at 1,490 meters. The average rock overburden is approximately 4300 meters water equivalent for existing laboratories on the 4850 Level. The underground laboratory space has a strong track record of meeting experiment needs.

    6

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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

    LBNL LZ project will replace LUX at SURF [see below]

    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.

    Fermilab LBNE
    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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 11:36 am on February 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Enhancing the search” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    2.13.19
    Erin Broberg

    Photos by Matt Kapust

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    Changes in LUX’s design optimize LZ’s search for dark matter.

    1

    2
    LUX cryostat

    To increase the amount of xenon atoms in a given volume, scientists cool xenon gas to very low temperatures until it becomes liquid. To keep the experiment cold, it is housed in a double-walled titanium vessel to maintain the low temperature, a cryostat. The LUX cryostat held 380 kg of LXe.

    The LUX cryostat held 380 kilograms of liquid xenon.

    3
    LZ cryostat

    LZ will hold 10 tons of liquid xenon, over 26 times the volume previously contained by LUX. This increases the chances for a WIMP to collide with a xenon atom, causing a series of signatures to be detected.

    4
    LUX PMTs

    Essential to the detection of WIMP signatures are two arrays of photomultiplier tubes (PMTs), housed at the top and bottom of the cryostat.

    The arrays in LUX held a combined 122 PMTs, each with a two-inch diameter.

    5
    LZ PMTs

    With a larger volume of xenon to monitor, researchers have designed larger PMT arrays. LZ will boast a total of 494 PMTs, three inches in diameter, in the top and bottom arrays.

    To optimize both their detection and veto capabilities, researchers have included additional PMTs in the skin and dome structures of the detector.

    6

    “In addition to the size, we are improving every aspect of the experiment that we can,” Horn said.

    To transport and store the xenon, LUX previously used eight compressed gas cylinders. LZ will use 200 of these cylinders stored in a newly outfitted room outside the laboratory underground.

    More xenon means a larger, more complex circulation system. Previously, the pumps exchanged 25 liters of purified xenon gas per minute. The small pumps will be replaced with large compressors capable of circulating xenon efficiently. Now, that number will be closer to 200 liters per minute.

    A xenon tower outside the water tank will allow xenon to be heated to its gaseous form, purified, then re-liquified before it is reintroduced into the detector again.

    The signal readouts for all photomultipliers and sensors amount to over 1000 cables which will run out of the detector and into computer racks. Also, the voltages required to create the electric field over the increased detector size are significantly higher.

    “Overall, there are far more challenges, more sub-systems and simply far more pieces to this experiment – all bigger and better than before”, said Horn.

    7
    Increasing veto detection

    LUX relied on the water tank as a veto detector, helping researchers rule out extraneous signatures.

    In addition to the water tank, LZ will improve veto detection by installing nine acrylic vessels around the cryostat, filled with a liquid scintillator and and monitored by larger PMTs (8-inch diameter) within the water tank. This system allows researchers to further reduce backgrounds by by observing interactions outside the detector.

    In 2013, the Large Underground Xenon detector (LUX) at Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) was named the most sensitive dark matter detector in the world. In the global search for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs), a candidate for dark matter, LUX was preforming exceedingly well.

    So why did the collaboration decommission LUX in 2016? And why are they building a larger detector—LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ)—in it’s place?

    “The search for dark matter is a numbers’ game,” said Markus Horn, Sanford Lab research scientist and member of the LZ collaboration. “We’re waiting for a dark matter particle or weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP) to interact with the xenon atoms in the detector. The likelihood of such an interaction depends on how many xenon atoms we have.”

    By sizing up the experiment, researchers increase their chances of witnessing rare WIMP interactions with a larger volume to hold xenon. Horn said that, while the size of the detector isn’t the only way researchers are enhancing the search, it’s a good starting point.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings
    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    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

    LBNL LZ project will replace LUX at SURF [see below].

    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.

    Fermilab LBNE
    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.”

     
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