From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Geothermal group takes their research up a level—to the 4100”

SURF logo
Sanford Underground levels

From Sanford Underground Research Facility


Homestake Mining Company

November 12, 2019
Erin Broberg

SIGMA-V experiment moves 750 feet up to learn more about hot rocks 600 miles away.

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Researcher with the EGS Collab SIGMA-V experiment works on the 4100 Level at Sanford Lab. Photo by Nick Hubbard

Interstate-80 cuts across the undulating landscape of Utah and Nevada. Along the roadway, mountain ranges with alpine vegetation give way to low desert regions flecked with hunched sagebrush, only to ascend into another isolated mountain range.

The rippling rise and fall of the interstate is caused by fault valleys that run north and south through the Great Basin region. These geologic features, called horsts and grabens (hills and valleys), are the result of crustal extension.

“The whole area has extended, widening hundreds of kilometers over millions of years,” explained Patrick Dobson, geothermal systems program lead and staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). With each stretch and tear, the Earth’s crust thins, allowing heat to seep from the Earth’s fiery mantle into the rocks nearer the surface.

Mining heat

Beneath the city of Milford, Utah, the Earth’s crust is especially thin. Just two kilometers below the surface lies hot granite at elevated temperatures of 175 °C. These hot rocks are good news for researchers like Dobson, who are developing technologies to advance geothermal energy systems.

“Geothermal systems are really just trying to mine heat,” Dobson said. “From a geothermal standpoint, higher temperatures at shallower depths are a good thing. We don’t have to drill as deep to get the temperatures that we need.”

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Subsurface temperatures in the United States at a depth of 20,000 feet. Graphic courtesy University of Utah.

A site just northeast of Milford is a proposed location for the Department of Energy’s FORGE project (Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy). If the project is successful in extracting natural heat, it could act as an enormous, domestic, clean energy resource.

There’s just one problem: the rock near Milford isn’t naturally permeable.

“Geothermal extraction requires three things: hot rock, permeable pathways through the rock and fluid to extract the heat,” explained Tim Kneafsey, principal investigator for the Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) Collab Project and a staff scientist with Berkeley Lab. “Hot rock is an abundant resource in the US, but it is often missing open pathways that allow you to extract the heat.”

The EGS Collab is working to find better ways to extract heat from the earth’s hot rocks. Under the leadership of Berkeley Lab and Sandia National Laboratories, researchers are creating models that can predict the behavior of geothermal hot spots, before full-scale site research begins at the FORGE laboratory in Utah.

“The challenge is to safely and inexpensively create pathways in rocks that will allow us to circulate fluids and extract heat,” Dobson said. “Is it economically viable? Environmentally safe? Technologically feasible?”

These questions brought the EGS Collab to Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab).

Taking research up a level

The rocks here aren’t hot, and that’s a good thing.

“It’s only about 32 degrees Celsius (90 F) in its native state at this depth,” Dobson said as he placed his hand demonstratively against the rock on the 4100 Level of Sanford Lab. In South Dakota, the Earth’s crust is thick, meaning researchers can access relevant depths and take measurements in situ—research that would be cost-prohibitive at another site.

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Researchers have outfitted a drift on the 4100 Level for the next phase of the EGS Collab SIGMA-V experiment. Photo by Nick Hubbard

“At FORGE, they’ll be drilling from the surface down several thousand feet deep, with limited direct access to the rock,” Kneafsey said. “Here, we can stand right next to the rock and collect data at depth.”

The EGS Collab has used the underground drifts of Sanford Lab as a research and development testbed since 2015. The SIGMA-V experiment has probed the Poorman rock formation on the 4850 Level for years, collecting immense amounts of data.

Now, the EGS Collab is moving their equipment to the 4100 Level, where the rock is slightly different.

“This rock on the 4100 Level is amphibolite, a metavolcanic rock much more similar to the basement rocks that we expect in the Great Basin,” Dobson said.

“At Sanford Lab, physics experiments and laboratories are concentrated on the 4850 Level, but a large portion of our research community accesses other levels: the biologists, geologists and engineering groups,” said Jaret Heise, science director at Sanford Lab. “EGS Collab’s move to the 4100 Level takes advantage of the tremendous potential our facility offers.”

The testbed on the 4100 Level will focus on hydraulic shearing: opening natural, preexisting fractures in the rock.

“On the 4100 Level, we are trying to reopen existing natural fractures that have been sealed with mineralization,” Kneafsey said. “By opening them and causing them to shift slightly, the roughness of the fractures keeps them propped open. This self-propping allows water to flow through and, in hot rock environments, transfer heat.”

Just as they did on the 4850 Level testbed, researchers will drill multiple boreholes, both to stimulate the rock and to monitor it with a dense array of sensors. Through these boreholes, they can study how fractures open and shift.

Mapping the pathways

To engineer safe and economical geothermal systems at sites like Milford, Utah, researchers have created intricate computer models of the earth’s subsurface.

“A lot of our effort is contributed by people you don’t see onsite at Sanford Lab,” Dobson said. “They are working to recreate the physics of the earth using computer models.”

These models predict everything from fluid flow and heat transfer to geomechanical displacement and geochemical reactions between fluids and rocks. The experiments done at Sanford Lab and other test sites help researchers test the accuracy of these models’ predictions.

“We have a world-class team of modelers looking at the data,” Kneafsey said. “Oftentimes when you get real data from real sites, it doesn’t exactly fit the preconceived notions of modeling. Every field site helps us validate our models.”

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Researchers with EGS Collab hope that data collected by the SIGMA-V experiment will propel enhanced geothermal energy systems in the future.
Photo by Nick Hubbard.

Open science

“We hope that the knowledge and the understanding we generate are very useful for implementing EGS in the future,” Kneafsey said. “We’ve published over 900 pages of conference papers and journal publications. We are trying to run this project as openly as we can, collaborating and sharing information with other researchers and test sites.”

The EGS Collab includes researchers from nine national labs—LBNL, SNL, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, National Energy Technology Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and seven universities—South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Stanford, University of Wisconsin, University of Oklahoma, Colorado School of Mines, Penn State, and Rice University.

This EGS Collab Project is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Geothermal Technologies Office; part of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

See the full article here .


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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.

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.”

#geothermal-group-takes-their-research-up-a-level-to-the-4100, #now-the-egs-collab-is-moving-their-equipment-to-the-4100-level-where-the-rock-is-slightly-different, #sigma-v-experiment-moves-750-feet-up-to-learn-more-about-hot-rocks-600-miles-away, #surf-sanford-underground-research-facility, #the-egs-collab-has-used-the-underground-drifts-of-sanford-lab-as-a-research-and-development-testbed-since-2015, #the-egs-collab-is-working-to-find-better-ways-to-extract-heat-from-the-earths-hot-rocks, #the-testbed-on-the-4100-level-will-focus-on-hydraulic-shearing-opening-natural-preexisting-fractures-in-the-rock

From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and SURF: “Dark Matter Experiment’s Central Component Takes a Deep Dive – Nearly a Mile Underground”

SURF-Sanford Underground Research Facility, Lead, South Dakota, USA

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From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

October 29, 2019

This video chronicles the move of the LUX-ZEPLIN central detector, known as the time projection chamber, nearly a mile underground to the research cavern where it will be used to hunt for dark matter. (Credit: Matthew Kapust, Erin Broberg, and Nick Hubbard/Sanford Underground Research Facility)

Q: How do you get a 5,000-pound, 9-foot-tall particle detector, designed to hunt for dark matter, nearly a mile underground?

A: Very carefully.

Last week, crews at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in South Dakota strapped the central component of LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) – the largest direct-detection dark matter experiment in the U.S. – below an elevator and s-l-o-w-l-y lowered it 4,850 feet down a shaft formerly used in gold-mining operations.

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Crews at the Sanford Underground Research Laboratory in Lead, South Dakota, begin to lower the LUX-ZEPLIN central detector. Its nearly mile-long descent down an elevator shaft, and its delivery to a research cavern where it will hunt for dark matter, were successfully carried out last week. (Credit: Nick Hubbard/Sanford Underground Research Facility)

LZ xenon detector in the Surface Assembly Lab cleanroom at SURF

This final journey of LZ’s central detector on Oct. 21 to its resting place in a custom-built research cavern required extensive planning and involved two test moves of a “dummy” detector to ensure its safe delivery.

“This was the most challenging move of a detector system that I have ever done in decades of working on experiments,” said Jeff Cherwinka, the LZ chief engineer from the University of Wisconsin, who led the planning effort for the move along with SURF engineers and other support.

Jake Davis, a SURF mechanical engineer who worked on the cryostat move, said, “Between the size of the device, the confines of the space, and the multiple groups involved in the move, the entire process required rigorous attention to both the design and the scheduling. Prior to rigging the detector under the cage, we did testing with other cranes to see how it would react when suspended. We also completed analysis and testing to ensure it would remain nice and straight in the shaft.

He added, “The ride was slow, right around 100 feet per minute. The ride to the 4,850-foot level typically takes 13-15 minutes. Today, it took close to 45 minutes. I rode in the cage, watching it through an inspection port in the floor. There was a huge sigh of relief after the move, but there’s still a lot of work ahead to finish LZ.”

Theresa Fruth, a postdoctoral research fellow at University College London who works on LZ’s central detector, said that keeping LZ well-sealed from any contaminants during its journey was a high priority – even the slightest traces of dust and dirt could ultimately affect its measurements.

“From a science perspective, we wanted the detector to come down exactly as it was on the surface,” she said. “The structural integrity is incredibly important, but so is the cleanliness, because we’ve been building this detector for 10 months in a clean room. Before the move, the detector was bagged twice, then inserted in the transporter structure. Then, the transporter was wrapped with another layer of strong plastic. We also need to move all our equipment underground so we can do the rest of the installation work underground.”

The central detector, known as the LZ cryostat and time projection chamber, will ultimately be filled with 10 tons of liquid xenon that will be chilled to minus 148 degrees Fahrenheit. Scientists hope to see telltale signals of dark matter particles that are produced as they interact with the heavy xenon atoms in this cryostat.

The liquid form of xenon, a very rare element, is so dense that a chunk of granite can float atop its surface. It is this density, owing to the heavy atomic weight of xenon, that makes it a good candidate for capturing particle interactions.

The cryostat is a large tank, assembled from ultrapure titanium, is about 5 1/2 feet in diameter. It contains systems with a total of 625 photomultiplier tubes that are positioned at its top and bottom (see a related article). These tubes are designed to capture flashes of light produced in particle interactions.

Pawel Majewski of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the U.K., who led the design, fabrication, cleaning, and delivery of LZ’s inner cryostat vessel for the U.K. Science and Technology Facilities Council, said, “Now it is extremely gratifying to see it … holding the heart of the experiment and resting in its final place in the Davis Campus, one mile underground.”

LZ is designed to hunt for theorized dark matter particles called WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles. Dark matter makes up about 27 percent of the universe, though we don’t yet know what it’s made of and have only detected it through its gravitational effects on normal matter.

It is 100 times more sensitive than its predecessor experiment, called LUX, which operated in the same underground space. Placing LZ deep underground serves to shield it from much of the steady bombardment of particles that are present at the Earth’s surface.

LZ’s cryostat will be surrounded by a tank filled with a liquid known as a scintillator that will also be outfitted with an array of photomultiplier tubes and is designed to help weed out false signals from unwanted particle “noise.” And the cryostat and scintillator tank will be embedded within a large water tank that provides a further buffer layer from unwanted particle signals.

While LUX’s main detector was small enough to fit in the SURF elevator, LZ’s cryostat narrowly fit in the elevator shaft.

It was first moved outside of a clean room at the surface level, picked up with a forklift, and carried into position below the elevator cage. It was then attached to the underside of the cage with slings and straps, where it was slowly moved down to the level of the Davis Cavern, its final resting place.

Once detached from the elevator cage, it was moved using air skates on a temporarily assembled surface – akin to how an air hockey puck moves across the table’s surface. Because of the cryostat’s size, crews had to first temporarily remove underground duct work to allow the move.

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From left: Jack Bargemann, Simon Fiorucci, Alvine Kamaha, Charles Maupin, Jake Davis, Jeff Cherwinka, Pawel Majewski, and Doug Tiedt, welcome the arrival of the LUX-ZEPLIN central detector to the 4,850-foot level at the Sanford Underground Research Laboratory. The detector, which is lying on its side, will ultimately be surrounded by several other tanks. (Credit: Matthew Kapust/Sanford Underground Research Facility)

Murdock “Gil” Gilchriese, LZ project director and a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), said, “Next, the cryostat will be wrapped with multiple layers of insulation, and a few other exterior components will be installed.” Berkeley Lab is the lead institution for the LZ project.

“Then it will get lowered into the outer cryostat vessel,” he added. “It will take months to hook up and check out all of the cables and make everything vacuum-tight.” Most of the LZ work is now concentrated underground, he said, with multiple work shifts scheduled to complete LZ assembly and installation.

There are plans to begin testing the process of liquefying xenon gas for LZ in November using a mock cryostat, and to fill the actual cryostat with xenon in spring 2020. Project completion could come as soon as July 2020, Gilchriese said.

­­­Erin Broberg of the Sanford Underground Research Facility contributed to this press release.

See the full article here .

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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.

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From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Road tripping with a germanium detector”

SURF logo
Sanford Underground levels

From Sanford Underground Research Facility


Homestake Mining Company

October 10, 2019
Erin Broberg

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Photo by Nick Hubbard

In the grey hours of a September morning, Anna Reine and Morgan Clark turned their Toyota Forerunner onto the interstate. Nineties pop hits were queued, a bag of peanut butter pretzels was nestled in the console and two ultrahigh-purity germanium detectors sat in the hatchback. Reine and Clark, University of North Carolina graduate students, drove 30 hours over the next three days, opting out of scenic routes and zipping past dozens of tourist traps that litter the Midwest: on the road, their cargo was vulnerable.

Reine and Clark had been tasked with shuttling two detectors from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) in Lead, South Dakota. There, the detectors would be characterized before use in LEGEND-200, a next-generation neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment.

These detectors are enriched with an isotope of germanium—germanium-76 (76Ge)—and are incredibly sensitive.

“The advantage of 76Ge detectors compared to other double-beta decay experiments is that it has the best intrinsic resolution,” explained John Wilkerson, U.S. principal investigator for LEGEND-200. “This makes it ideally suited to observe neutrinoless double-beta decay, a theoretical and rare physics event.”

LEGEND Collaboration

During transport, these detectors were susceptible to “cosmogenic activation.”

Earth is constantly showered by a dense torrent of cosmic rays from the sun. When cosmic rays barrage an otherwise stable isotope, they cause cosmogenic activation. While this reaction is harmless to the graduate students humming along to Whitney Houston in the front seat, it could be ruinous to the germanium detectors they were transporting.

“Cosmogenic activation could result in long-lived, unstable isotopes, which could decay over the course of the experiment; this would result in higher backgrounds for LEGEND-200,” said Reine.

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Morgan Clark (left) and Anna Reine (right), University of North Carolina graduate students, in the Common Corridor just outside the Majorana Demonstrator on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab. Photo by Nick Hubbard

Before the cross-country road trip began, the detectors were stored among stalactites in a cave at the Historic Cherokee Caverns in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. To limit the detectors’ exposure to cosmic rays during transport, the researchers traveled the most direct route possible.

“We couldn’t make a lot of stops,” said Clark. “Since we didn’t want these detectors to be above ground any longer than was necessary, we had it all mapped out.” And because higher elevations mean denser cosmic radiation, driving was favored over flying.

When Clark and Reine arrived at Sanford Lab, researchers ushered them directly to the 4850 Level, where nearly a mile of rock overburden shields the detectors from cosmic rays.

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Researchers arrive at the top of the Yates Shaft, ready to move germanium detectors underground. Left to right: Morgan Clark, Anna Reine, Jared Thompson and Brandon DeVries. Photo courtesy Jaret Heise.

“These detectors have had quite the journey, and it’s not over yet,” said Clark.

A cleanroom on Sanford Lab’s 4850 Level will be a temporary home to these and 10 more detectors arriving over the next few months. There, protected from cosmic rays and dust, the detectors will be scanned and characterized. The tests will help researchers get to know these detectors: how accurate are they? What is their active mass? How time-sensitive are they?

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A LEGEND-200 germanium detector, connected to a liquid nitrogen dewer and surrounded by lead bricks, is scanned and characterized in a cleanroom on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab. Photo by Nick Hubbard.

All this information will prove invaluable when they are installed in LEGEND-200, the next generation neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment at Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS) in Italy.

Gran Sasso LABORATORI NAZIONALI del GRAN SASSO, located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy

While the experiment will utilize 200 kilograms of germanium, the detectors only weigh one to two kilograms apiece. Researchers at Sanford Lab and LNGS are testing every detector to fully-understand how each one will impact the experiment.

Later this year, two germanium detectors will be inserted in the Majorana Demonstrator (Majorana) [below] at Sanford Lab. Majorana, a predecessor to LEGEND-200 known for its extremely minimal backgrounds, began taking data in 2016.

“Majorana is the lowest background environment we have,” said Wilkerson, who is also the principal investigator for Majorana. “By installing them inside, we can further characterize the detectors, while also increasing our total physics data taken before Majorana is decommissioned.” Majorana will also provide ultra-pure copper and 35 enriched germanium detectors to LEGEND-200.

When LEGEND-200 is built, the detectors will be packed in a special cargo container and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean. Finally, they will arrive at their final destination: 4,500 feet beneath Gran Sasso mountain in Italy.

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Researchers in a cleanroom on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab take data that will help them better understand germanium detecters that will be used in LEGEND-200. Photo by Nick Hubbard.

See the full article here .


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Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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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.

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.”

#later-this-year-the-two-germanium-detectors-will-be-inserted-in-the-majorana-demonstrator-majorana-at-sanford-lab, #majorana-a-predecessor-to-legend-200-known-for-its-extremely-minimal-backgrounds-began-taking-data-in-2016, #surf-sanford-underground-research-facility, #the-detectors-would-be-characterized-before-use-in-legend-200-a-next-generation-neutrinoless-double-beta-decay-experiment-at-gran-sasso-national-laboratory-lngs-in-italy, #two-ultrahigh-purity-germanium-detectors

From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Underground personnel capacity doubles at Sanford Lab”

SURF logo
Sanford Underground levels

From Sanford Underground Research Facility

October 7, 2019
Erin Broberg

LBNF project upgrades refuge chamber, increases evacuation capabilities.

1
Entrance to the Refuge Chamber on the 4850 Level of Sanford Underground Research Facility. The Compressed Air Management System (CAMS) can be seen to the left of the door. With this recent upgrade, the Refuge Chamber can now shelter 144 people in case of an underground emergency.
Photo by Nick Hubbard

Preparing Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) for its role as the Far Site for the largest physics experiment on United States soil demands a sizeable workforce: the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) team; contractors; and Sanford Lab infrastructure technicians, safety teams and support scientists, just to name a few. All these teams converge in Lead, South Dakota, to ready the facility for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), hosted by Fermilab.

With an increasing underground workforce, LBNF has undertaken multiple projects to ensure worker safety. Working closely with Sanford Lab staff, LBNF recently completed an upgrade to emergency systems, including areas of refuge and evacuation capabilities.

“This recent project doubles the number of people that can safely work underground at once, increasing the headcount from 72 to 144 people,” said Mike Headley, executive director of Sanford Lab. “This is a healthy increase that will allow us to support construction for LBNF.”

The main component of this project was the upgrade of the 4850 Level Refuge Chamber, designed to shelter people in case of an underground emergency in which immediate evacuation is not possible. Previously, the Refuge Chamber could provide shelter to 72 people for 96 hours. Now, using a newly installed compressed air management system (CAMS), an indefinite supply of breathing air will be available. The team also replaced former CO2 scrubbers with smaller, more efficient scrubbers as a secondary air source.

2
The Refuge Chamber is outfitted with MineARC Systems CO2 scrubbers as a secondary air supply system. Photo by Nick Hubbard.

“With LBNF construction continuing to ramp up, we need greater capacity for workers underground—for the LBNF project as well as all the Sanford Lab maintenance crews and other science collaborations,” said Colton Clark, a Fermilab LBNF engineer who led the Refuge Chamber upgrade. “This project means we can safely bring more workers underground at once.”

Engineers also designed new railings for the Yates Shaft Work Deck, allowing the platform to be used in addition to the cage during an emergency evacuation. This upgrade allows for the timely evacuation of 144 people from the underground.

“Whether people need to take refuge underground or the space needs to be evacuated quickly, these upgrades allow us to ensure their safety in case of an emergency,” said Andrew Brosnahan, the Sanford Lab engineer who designed the Work Deck railings.

3
Peter Girtz trains a facility guide on new Refuge Chamber procedures. Photo by Nick Hubbard.

“We can expect to see a modest increase in the underground workforce in the near term,” said Headley. “As LBNF starts to see an increase in construction activities in 2020, and certainly as they transition into the main cavern excavation at the end of 2020, we’ll see a noticeable increase in onsite personnel.”

DUNE will consist of two neutrino detectors placed in the path of the world’s most intense neutrino beam. One detector will record particle interactions near the source of the beam, at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois. A second, much larger, detector will be installed more than a kilometer underground at Sanford Lab—1,300 kilometers (800 miles) from Fermilab. These detectors will enable scientists to search for new subatomic phenomena and potentially transform our understanding of neutrinos and their role in the universe.

Fermilab’s Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility will house the neutrino beamline at Fermilab and additional infrastructure as well as the far site DUNE detectors at Sanford Lab.

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.

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.”

#underground-personnel-capacity-doubles-at-sanford-lab, #fnal-lbnf-dune-at-surf, #lbnf-has-undertaken-multiple-projects-to-ensure-worker-safety-working-closely-with-sanford-lab-staff-lbnf-recently-completed-an-upgrade-to-emergency-systems, #surf-sanford-underground-research-facility

From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “LBNF completes upgrade to Far Site’s underground ventilation system”

SURF logo
Sanford Underground levels

From Sanford Underground Research Facility


Homestake Mining Company

Upgrades to the Oro Hondo Fan undertaken in preparation for LBNF construction and, ultimately, DUNE science.

September 27, 2019
Erin Broberg

1
A crane lowers the prefabricated E-House containing the new Variable Frequency Drive onto a concrete slab near the Oro Hondo Shaft along Kirk Road, with the Sanford Underground Research Facility’s Ross Headframe in the background. Photo courtesy Joshua Willhite, Fermilab

Several projects are underway at Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) to improve the reliability of the facility’s infrastructure. Crews are improving the facility for its role as the Far Site for Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory’s Long Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) , which will house the largest physics experiment on United States soil: The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) [below].

The LBNF project recently completed an upgrade of the Oro Hondo Fan, replacing its variable frequency drive (VFD). The Oro Hondo Fan is the main ventilation fan for the underground facility and is located on the surface along Kirk Road near Lead. This upgrade, completed with the support of Sanford Lab and four local contractors, ensures dependable ventilation in the underground spaces at Sanford Lab.

“This project puts a modern, reliable VFD in control of the Oro Hondo Fan’s motor,” said Mike Headley, executive director of Sanford Lab.

The project included the removal of the former VFD and the stick-built structure that housed it. These were replaced by a prefabricated Electrical House (E-House) and VFD, specifically designed for use at the Oro Hondo Shaft.

2
This prefabricated E-House contains a new Variable Frequency Drive which will control power to the Oro Hondo Fan. This is the primary fan for underground ventilation at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, the Far Site for the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF), which will house the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). Photo courtesy Joshua Willhite, Fermilab

At Sanford Lab, air comes underground via the Yates and Ross Shafts and is drawn horizontally and vertically through a matrix of underground passageways or drifts. The air current is then drawn up to the surface through the two exhaust shafts, the Oro Hondo Shaft and #5 Shaft. When exhaust fans spin in the Oro Hondo Shaft and #5 Shaft, they draw fresh air through this underground circuit.

As the main exhaust shaft for Sanford Lab’s underground ventilation system, the Oro Hondo Shaft’s fan is responsible for most of the underground’s fresh air current. The new VFD is connected to a 3,000 horsepower AC motor and will draw an average of 220,000 cubic feet of fresh air per minute through the Oro Hondo Shaft alone.

Josh Willhite, Fermilab’s LBNF conventional facilities manager for the work in South Dakota, explained that this upgrade increases the reliability of the underground ventilation system; such dependability is critical for future LBNF excavation and construction, as well as DUNE science.

“With the use of diesel-powered excavation equipment, followed by world class science underground, we need to make sure there is no preventable disruption to airflow or to our work,” said Willhite.

“Other experiments will benefit from this upgrade as well as it pulls in more fresh air through these ventilation systems,” said Headley.

Local contractors, including Border States Electric, RCS Construction, Muth Electric and Elite Industrial, participated in the upgrade project.

“As is always the case when coordinating these efforts with Sanford Lab, the coordination and integration of all parties has been very good,” said Willhite.

DUNE, which is hosted by Fermilab, will consist of two neutrino detectors placed in the world’s most intense neutrino beam. One detector will record particle interactions near the source of the beam, at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois.

FNAL DUNE Near Detector

A second, much larger, detector will be installed more than a kilometer underground at Sanford Lab—1,300 kilometers downstream of the source. These detectors will enable scientists to search for new subatomic phenomena and potentially transform our understanding of neutrinos and their role in the universe.

The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility will provide the neutrino beamline and the infrastructure that will support the DUNE detectors. Funding for the LBNF construction prep work comes from the Department of Energy Office of Science.

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.

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.”

#lbnf-completes-upgrade-to-far-sites-underground-ventilation-system, #basic-research, #fnal-lbnf-dune, #neutrinos, #surf-sanford-underground-research-facility

From BBC via Sanford Underground Research Facility: “LUX-ZEPLIN: the new experiment hoping to detect dark matter”

SURF logo
Sanford Underground levels

Sanford Underground Research Facility


Homestake Mining Company

BBC
From BBC

BBC’s Sky at Night’s Iain Todd spoke to Jaret Heise about an experiment aiming to make the first direct detection of dark matter.

1
Jaret Heise, science director at Sanford Underground Research Facility, stands in front of the Yates Headframe. Photo by Nick Hubbard

A mile below Earth’s surface at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) in South Dakota, US, something exciting is happening. There, scientists are carrying out an experiment named LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), with the aim of making the first ever detection of the allusive substance known as dark matter.

Dark matter can’t be directly observed: it currently can’t even be detected. Yet astronomers have inferred its existence by the way it interacts gravitationally with observable matter in the Universe.

In fact, that observable matter pales in comparison to the distribution of dark matter in the Universe, so finding out exactly what dark matter is, and how it can be detected, is one of the big questions that scientists are hoping to solve over the coming years.

We spoke to Jaret Heise, science director at the Sanford Lab, to find out exactly how the LZ experiment works and, if it is successful, what it might mean for our understanding of the Universe.

First off, tell us about the Sanford facility and the sort of work that is done there.

We’re a research facility dedicated to underground science; actually the deepest underground lab in the United States.

Our mission is to advance compelling and transformational science, and as the science director I get to interact with groups that are interested in trying to answer big questions.

Right now our facility currently supports 30 different experiments representing 80 institutions and 100s of researchers, so I would say I have the best job in the whole place!

What is the LUX-ZEPLIN experiment?

The LZ dark matter detector is built on the foundations of two previous experiments: the LUX experiment that operated at our facility and which was turned off in 2016 to make way for the upgrade, LZ.

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

ZEPLIN was another dark matter experiment that operated in the UK at the Boulby Underground Laboratory for many years and through many generations.

So combining the intellectual horsepower of those two operations has resulted in the LZ experiment that’s hosted at our facility just about a mile underground in the Davis Campus, which was created in 2012 when the LUX experiment was moved in to begin its data run.

The depth of the underground lab, in so far as affecting the physics of the experiment, is really to screen unwanted particles that would contribute background noise.

Those muons are generated by cosmic ray particles interacting in the upper atmosphere, producing a shower of muons.

The muons are very energetic and would constitute a background noise if you were to do some of these really sensitive measurements looking for very rare processes on the surface.

Moving a mile underground in our case shields those background particles, reducing them by a factor of about ten million.

So rather than two or three on the surface, if you go underground on the Davis Campus, you’re looking at one of these cosmic ray muons per month, and if you’re a rare physics experiment trying to be the first to detect dark matter directly, you want to give yourself every advantage.

There’s no guarantee that nature will be so kind, but you couldn’t do these experiments on the surface in the way that they’re proposed.

How does the detector work?

The LUX-ZEPLIN is basically a big bucket full of xenon. The LUX detector before it was also a big bucket of xenon; this is a larger bucket of xenon!

LUX started with a third of a tonne – just over 350kg – and the LZ will have 10 tonnes; so a scaling-up of about 30 times.

The way the detector operates is that xenon both scintillates and becomes ionised when particles hit it, so you have an initial burst of light from the scintillation, the deposition of energy.

Those initial particles can be ones that we know about already; they could be beta particles, they could be neutrons. These are particles that are very familiar to us.

They could also be dark matter particles that interact very weakly, possibly just gravitationally, but maybe a little higher up in the interaction spectrum if they also interact weakly.

4
An array of photomultiplier tubes designed to detect signals occurring within LUX-ZEPLIN’s liquid xenon tank.
Photo by Matthew Kapust

A lot of experiments these days are focussing on the weakly interacting massive particle, or WIMPs.

In the case of LZ, with 10 tonnes of xenon, the scientists are looking for bursts of light.

They’ll have light sensors, photomultiplier tubes on the top of the region and on the bottom of the region sandwiching the xenon, looking for signals that a particle has interacted with a xenon particle.

Based on the amount of light that’s given off in the initial scintillation burst, compared to a secondary ionisation measurement, they can determine what type of particle it is.

They can weed out the ones we know about already and look for the ones that we have never seen before.

Is it a process of elimination?

In a way, yes it is. It’s a process of understanding the detector extremely well.

In the case of experiments at our facility, moving a mile underground and away from that cosmic ray background is important.

Also, shielding from the natural radioactivity in the laboratory is important. Everything has radioactivity: the concrete, the paint on the walls, the people, the bananas that people bring for lunch: everything has a small amount of radioactivity.

The LZ experiment is planning to have their titanium vessel with 10 tonnes of xenon immersed inside a large water shielding tank.

LZ has innovated one additional detector as compared to the original LUX run. Here they’re going to use an additional liquid scintillator, and that will help them detect neutrons that are also generated naturally in the laboratory.

Neutrons are particularly dangerous background because they have no electrical charge and they’re relatively massive. So they can mimic the signal of a dark matter particle fairly well.

Understanding the response of the detector to neutrons is very important, and understanding the flux of neutrons that is present is also extremely important.

So it’s a process of elimination, but it’s also about understanding things that you can lay your hands on as best as you can: understanding the background of all the parts and pieces that went into constructing the detector.

We have low background counters at our facility where you would put in the nuts and bolts and light sensors and titanium samples and figure out in some cases what the best manufacturer is, and which one will give you the lowest radioactive components.

In some cases where you don’t have a choice and have already made a selection, you still want to understand how much intrinsic radioactivity is in that part or piece so that you can determine how much background you’ll see within your detector when you turn it on, so that you can then look for signals outside of that range.

Why do you think it’s so important that we do detect and understand more about dark matter?

Dark matter is a very important component of our Universe, as we have discovered.

There’s five times more dark matter in the Universe than the normal matter that we know and love: tables, chairs, planets, stars, galaxies. All of the normal matter makes up four per cent of the Universe.

We’re looking for something that is five times more plentiful.

It has almost certainly affected the formation of our Galaxy, and it plays a huge role in the evolution of our Universe.

Not only that, but we can train the next round of scientists on how to build the next round of detectors, so we’re training qualified personnel to work on these experiments.

It’s a great way to engage the public as well. Tell them about these cool particles no-one has ever seen before, and you can really get people excited about science.

So it runs the gamut from basic research to understanding our Universe, and who knows what we will be able to do with the information once we find dark matter. Are there different types of dark matter? Who knows.

Once we discover dark matter it’s probably not going to make our computers run faster or improve your TV resolution or things that people are looking at from a practical point of view, but knowing what the Universe is made of gives us that much more leverage to understand what we can do in the future.

Is dark matter everywhere? If someone is reading this interview, is it in the room where they’re sitting, for example?

We believe it is. If you had a 2 litre soda pop bottle, there would probably be something like one dark matter particle in that volume.

We believe it is ubiquitous through the Galaxy. Since it interacts gravitationally, there might be more of it in the centre of the Galaxy, and there are groups – other than LZ, which is looking for direct signatures – that are looking for indirect signatures.

Maybe the dark matter particles will collide, or maybe they can decay. Some satellite-based instruments are looking at the centre of the Galaxy because they expect there to be a higher concentration of dark matter in that area. But yes, we believe it’s all around us.

Do you think there could ever be a telescope built that would be able to directly observe dark matter?

I think you could have a visual representation, but I don’t know that we would ever see dark matter directly, the same way that we can’t directly see some of the lightest particles that we know of today.

Neutrinos would be a good example. We see them indirectly because of how they interact with other matter, whether they hit other charged particles and produce light that we can see with instruments.

Often we see these rare weakly-interacting signals only indirectly, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t represent them in some way and there are graphics showing what the dark matter concentration looks like in our Galaxy based on certain models.

So we have that ability, but actually seeing a dark matter particle directly with our own eyes? I’m sceptical about that!

5
A Hubble Space Telescope Chandra X-ray Observatory and Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope composite showing the distribution of dark matter and hot gas in merging galaxy cluster Abell 520. False colour has been added. Orange represents starlight and green regions show hot gas, whereas blue-coloured areas show the location of most of the mass in the cluster, which is dominated by dark matter. NASA, ESA, CFHT, CXO, M.J. Jee (University of California, Davis), and A. Mahdavi (San Francisco State University).

NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

NASA/Chandra X-ray Telescope


CFHT Telescope, Maunakea, Hawaii, USA, at Maunakea, Hawaii, USA,4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level

If money were no object, would it be more scientifically advantageous to launch the LZ experiment into space?

The search for dark matter is multi-faceted, combining the efforts of underground scientists like we have here at Sanford Lab, accelerator scientists as well as satellites.

We’re all complementing each other in that search. The accelerator scientists are trying to reproduce a candidate particle that might be a weakly-interacting massive particle.

The satellites are looking for indirect signals of WIMP annihilation or decay of dark matter particles.

So we already are in space and we already are building some of the largest machines humans have ever made, coming at the search for dark matter in all the ways we can think of.

If money was no object for underground science, we would probably build a larger version!

But having said that, we’re already running in with the current set of experiments. The sensitivity of these instruments is so exquisite, that the search for dark matter is now going to be clouded to a certain degree by neutrinos coming from our Sun.

It’s a really interesting story at our facility because some of the first measurements of neutrinos coming from our Sun were performed by Ray Davis here in Lead, South Dakota, starting back in the 1960s, when he convinced the Homestake Mining Company to dig a big pit and help him install a detector for that purpose.

He had 100,000 gallons’ worth of dry-cleaning fluid to search for interactions of neutrinos over decades. Now those same neutrinos coming from the Sun are the background for searches for other particles.

That doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to look for dark matter with a bigger instrument, but going deeper won’t screen out the neutrinos. However, that doesn’t mean that the next version, a scale above the LZ experiment, wouldn’t be profitable.

What’s next for the project and do you have any idea when to expect the first results?

The collaboration is assembling the instrument. We have clean rooms in our surface facility and the inner components of the detector have been put together, inserted into the titanium inner vessel.

We expect to be able to transport that instrument underground around October 2019 and it’ll be installed in that large water shielding tank.

There’ll be a process for checking it out and making sure everything is working.

They hope to start taking physics data some time in 2020.

First results; I don’t want to speak for the collaboration but we hope to have the first result within a year of turning the instrument on, so maybe some time in 2021 we would look forward to the latest and greatest dark matter result, whether that’s a confirmation of a signal or pushing the boundaries of the sensitivity of instruments looking for dark matter.

LBNL LZ Dark Matter project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

The recently assembled LUX-ZEPLIN xenon detector in the Surface Assembly Lab cleanroom at SURF

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.

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.”

#bbc, #dark-matter, #lbnl-lz-lux-zeplin-experiment-at-surf, #surf-sanford-underground-research-facility, #wimps-weakly-interacting-massive-particles

From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “The extremophiles that saved the waterways”

SURF logo
Sanford Underground levels

From Sanford Underground Research Facility


Homestake Mining Company

September 16, 2019
Erin Broberg

1
James Whitlock, chemist for Homestake Mining Company in the 1970s and 80s, at his home in Spearfish, SD in 2019. Photo by Erin Broberg

In the 1970s, while Ray Davis was underground taking data with the Solar Neutrino Experiment, another chemist was at work on the surface of Homestake Mining Company (Homestake).

2
The idea of housing physics research at Sanford Lab came long before its official conversion to a research facility. The first physics experiment came to Homestake Mine in the mid-1960s when Dr. Ray Davis, a chemist from Brookhaven National Lab, began building his solar neutrino experiment on the 4850 Level. Despite nearly three decades of counting neutrinos, Davis consistently found only one-third of the number predicted. This became known as the solar neutrino problem. Eventually the problem was solved through new understandings in neutrino physics. By the time Ray Davis received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2002, the deep caverns of the mine were coveted for continued particle physics research.

While Davis puzzled over the solar neutrino problem, chemist James Whitlock was working to clean up the waterways of the Black Hills. Although the transition of the facility to a full-fledged science laboratory was decades away, both researchers were forerunners in the fields of physics and biology, respectively, that would be studied there.

An industrial waste crisis

The Black Hills today are traced by clear-flowing creeks, dotted with lakes and awash with aquatic life. Just 50 years ago, however, the view from banks in the Black Hills was quite different.

Then, America was facing an industrial waste crisis. Industries, including mining, manufacturing and even agriculture, were leaking waste into waterways, contaminating the nation’s underground water sources.

In response, the Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970, followed by the Clean Water Act in 1972, which introduced regulations that stymied the discharge of pollutants into the nation’s surface waters, including lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands and coastal areas. Industries were facing new regulations and desperately searching for ways to clean their waste and remain in operation.

Many areas in Black Hills bore the mark of this environmental crisis. “I remember Whitewood Creek growing up, but I would’ve never called it a creek then,” said Whitlock, who grew up just 20 miles away in Spearfish.

That’s because, for most of the 20th century, Whitewood Creek flowed through the South Dakota towns of Lead and Deadwood, clogged with tailings and laced with toxic chemicals. The creek was grey, thick as sludge and known locally as “Cyanide Creek.”

Mining companies had long used cyanide to extract gold ore from crushed rock, releasing the tailings and chemicals into waterways. Whitewood Creek had become more than a local eyesore; full of pollutants, its path wound from the Northern Hills, pouring into the Cheyenne River, then the Missouri River and eventually the Mississippi River.

By the time Whitlock began working as a biochemist at Homestake, the mine was searching for a way to reverse industrial impacts to the area. In 1977, Homestake completed a tailings dam in Grizzly Gulch where heavy tailings could settle out of the water instead of clogging the creek. This, however, was mostly a superficial solution.

“The problem was, all of the cyanide and toxic metals were still flowing down the stream,” said Whitlock. “It looked cleaner, but from a toxicity standpoint, it wasn’t. There wasn’t any life.”

Homestake turned to its team of chemists, which included Whitlock; Carson Sharp, chief chemist; and Terry Mudder, environmental engineer.

“We tried chemical processes first,” said Whitlock. “But even if we were able to get rid of the cyanide with chemicals, the process itself created a leftover chemical soup that nothing could live in.”

A living, breathing solution

After a bleak meeting between Homestake officials and EPA lawyers, Whitlock sighed and turned to the EPA representative who sat next to him. “It’s too bad we never had time to try a biological option,” he said. The representative paused, yet said nothing. When the meeting reconvened, it was announced that Homestake had six months to find a biological option that would allow Homestake to continue operating.

“I honestly don’t think anyone thought a biological solution would work,” said Whitlock. “I think both sides were buying time. It was a bit of a fluke, really.”

Still, the team went to work, determined to use the allotted time to explore biological solutions.

“When I was in graduate school, we didn’t have amino acid and DNA analyzers. One of the tests for identifying bacteria was that certain types could tolerate cyanide and some couldn’t,” said Whitlock. “I thought, well, if they can tolerate it, they have to have a mechanism that allows that.”

The group discovered Whitewood Creek wasn’t completely lifeless. Certain extreme lifeforms were not only surviving in spite of the cyanide-laden water but had adapted to survive because of it. These extremophiles were using cyanide as an energy source.

By slowly introducing these bacteria to higher concentrations of cyanide, the team developed a strain that could breakdown Homestake’s cyanide waste. The bacterium was dubbed “pseudomonas paucimobilis mudlock,” taking its last name from the scientists who developed it, Mudder and Whitlock.

Although multiple tests proved that the cyanide was removed, the next challenge was convincing others that the novel process of using living organisms to treat a poisonous chemical problem was legitimate—and worth the construction of a multimillion-dollar wastewater treatment plant.

Biological treatment was a novel idea at the time, especially to those outside the scientific community. Many officials within the EPA, and Homestake itself, were skeptical of this untried process. The team built a bioassay tank and filled it with biologically treated wastewater, then stocked it with trout, giving the skeptics visible proof of the microscopic change.

“We showed that not only did the trout survive, but actually, with the warm water, their growth rate was a lot faster and they were actually healthier,” said Whitlock.

Whitlock helped design the $10 million Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and the patented technology that would set nationwide trends, making Homestake an industry leader in wastewater treatment processes.

3
Present-day Waste Water Treatment Plant at Sanford Underground Research Facility. Photo by Matthew Kapust

“In 1983, we got it in full-scale operation,” said Whitlock. “Within half a year, we did bioassessments on the stream—we started seeing organisms, fish coming upstream, and, within the first year or two, they caught a state record trout.”

In 1985, the same Time Magazine article that decried the water crisis in America, ended with a segment entitled “Turning to New Technologies” that showcased Homestake’s patented design for wastewater treatment.

How it works

The defining feature of the WWTP were dozens of Rotating Biological Contactors, or RBCs, that housed millions of thriving bacteria.

4
Present-day Waste Water Treatment Plant at Sanford Underground Research Facility. Photo by Matthew Kapust

Once it was pumped from the underground or received from the cyanide breakdown process, the water flowed through the slowly rotating RBCs. The slow rotation of the cylinders allowed the bacteria to alternate between contact with the water below and much-needed oxygen above.

The first set of RBCs housed bacteria that broke down cyanide. “Cyanide is carbon and nitrogen, with a little triple bond between them. The bacteria didn’t actually eat the carbon or nitrogen. Instead, they are cutting that bond; that’s where they get their energy,” explained Whitlock.

When the bond broke, carbon became CO2 and the nitrogen became ammonia, a toxic byproduct. The second set of RBCs housed bacteria that broke ammonia into nitrates, then further into nitrites, that could be discharged safely into the creek. The bacteria also absorbed suspended metals, including iron, silver, copper, lead and mercury.

“The beautiful thing about using bacteria,” Whitlock noted, “is that you don’t have to pay them. They do the work for food, and the food is the waste you’re trying to get rid of anyway.”

Over time, the bacteria even adapted to fluctuations in the wastewater, something that a chemical plant would be unable to cope with.

“There were a thousand different types of bacteria in there, everything that comes out of the mine or the tailings impoundment,” said Whitlock. “If you only had a single chemical to break down cyanide, you’d be dead in the water from a single spill. But living organisms can adapt. We got so we hardly ever saw an upset.”

Impacting future operations

The WWTP continued to operate until 2002, when the declining cost of gold forced Homestake to close. Whitlock worked with Homestake for 13 years before leaving to become a consultant for similar industries trying to reduce waste. He married Carson Sharp in 1986. They traveled to Russia, Africa, Canada, Mexico and South America as waste treatment consultants before eventually returning to Spearfish.

5
The effluent of Sanford Underground Research Facility’s Waste Water Treatment Plant, originally designed by Homestake Mining Company, meets Gold Run Creek, which flows into Whitewood Creek. Photo by Matthew Kapust.

When the facility reopened in 2007 and began to transition into a science facility, Whitlock worked for Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) for seven years to help rehabilitate the WWTP. Because no gold is being processed, the treatment plant uses fewer RBCs, treating only suspended metals and trace amounts of ammonia in water pumped from the underground workings. Using the technologies perfected by Homestake, the plant is still a leader in environmental responsibility, continuing to monitor the health of nearby creeks, counting fish and macro invertebrate populations.

Epilogue

Today, the field that was marked by skepticism is now a leader in industry. Biologists from around the world still come to the facility to study fascinating organisms, however, they focus on those that thrive underground. They gather samples from a number of levels and areas with different temperatures, chemical properties and geologic mineralogies.

In Sanford Lab’s unique ecosystems, researchers have discovered extremophiles that have evolved to survive by consuming methane. Other microbes generate their own electricity with bioelectrochemical systems. Still others are being studied to understand how life could survive on other planets with similar stressors, like extreme heat, temperature, pressure, radiation and lack of sunlight.

Researchers hope that these life forms, like the bacteria discovered in the 1970s, will lead to industry and medical advances, as well as environmental restoration.

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.

The recently assembled LUX-ZEPLIN xenon detector in the Surface Assembly Lab cleanroom at SURF

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.

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.”

#applied-research-technology, #basic-research, #biology, #chemistry, #extremophiles, #homestake-mining-company, #james-whitlock-and-carson-sharp, #particle-physics, #physics, #ray-davis-and-the-solar-neutrino-experiment, #rbcs-rotating-biological-contactors, #surf-sanford-underground-research-facility, #terry-mudder, #the-bacterium-pseudomonas-paucimobilis-mudlock, #wwtp-10-million-wastewater-treatment-plant