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  • richardmitnick 8:31 am on July 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "SHERLOC goes to Mars", , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility, WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) a camera capable of microscopic imaging will accompany SHERLOC.   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “SHERLOC goes to Mars” 

    SURF logo

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility


    Homestake Mining Company

    July 27, 2020
    Erin Lorraine Broberg

    1
    This illustration depicts the mechanism and conceptual research targets for an instrument named Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals, or SHERLOC. This instrument has been selected as one of seven investigations for the payload of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission. Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.

    Deep underground, where, in some places, oxygen is scarce, and sunlight never gleams, life somehow thrives. At Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab), researchers study subterranean microbes to better understand how life forms could survive in other extreme places—places like Mars.

    On July 30, NASA expects to launch its fourth rover toward Mars. Once it escapes Earth’s gravity, the Perseverance Rover will stream outward, intercepting Mars’ orbit on February 18, 2021. For one Mars year (687 Earth days), it will scour the surface for signs of ancient life. On board, Perseverance will carry a detective instrument called SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals), a concept that was tested on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab.

    Perseverence

    NASA Perseverance Mars Rover

    Searching for signs of bygone life

    Although there is no evidence of extant life on the surface of Mars, researchers believe the planet—made of the same primordial substances as Earth—once boasted all the conditions necessary for living organisms to form.

    “Three and a half billion years ago, Mars seems to have had everything the Earth did when life started on Earth,” said Luther Beegle, principal investigator of SHERLOC with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “So, the question is: Did life start there? And if not, why not?”

    To answer this question, researchers look to the timeline encrypted in Mars’ rocks.

    The Perseverance Rover will land in a massive depression called Jezero Crater. Long ago, a lake the size of Lake Tahoe lapped against Martian shores in the midst of the crater. As Mars’ climate changed, the lake dried up, leaving sand and mud deposits to dry and crackle in the sun. Those deposits are now a rich source of information about what life—if any—once bloomed in the lake.

    Perseverance will explore this lakebed and the fan-shaped delta that fed it, seeking signs of ancient life and collecting rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.

    SHERLOC uses Raman spectroscopy, a special property of light, to identify the composition of samples it encounters along its journey. When a beam of monochromatic light—light traveling uniformly through space—is reflected off a material, some of the light is scattered, breaking from the otherwise unvarying wavelength and amplitude of the beam. Every organic molecule or compound has its own unique scattering signature, or fingerprint.

    SHERLOC will aim a laser on a sample to observe how the light reflects and scatters. Then, SHERLOC will deduce the composition of each sample—all without touching or crushing the rock.

    This is the first time Raman spectroscopy will be deployed on Mars, but SHERLOC won’t brave the red planet alone. WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering), a camera capable of microscopic imaging, will accompany SHERLOC.

    “WATSON puts everything in perspective,” Beegle said. “We overlay the chemistry, mineralogy and organic composition from SHERLOC on WATSON’s color image to create a chemical map.”

    Not only can it tell us what minerals there are, but it can tell us how they are distributed through the rock. With these clues, researchers can decide which samples warrant a trip back to Earth.

    “If we see certain combinations of minerals and see that they are clumped together—that is something really exciting—we should bring that back to Earth and look at it in our laboratories,” Beegle said.

    Testing the technology

    In 2014, a NASA Astrobiology Institute Research grant was awarded to the University of Southern California to deploy the SHERLOC detection technique underground at Sanford Lab.

    “It’s one thing to use a scientific concept in a laboratory, but it’s a whole different set of experiences in the field,” Beegle said. “The tests at Sanford lab provided valuable information on how to actually operate and how to refine the technique.”

    The team studied core samples taken from the 4850 Level for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, or DUNE. By testing the concept at SURF, researchers could both perfect SHERLOC’s technology and learn more about the extremophiles underground.

    “The NASA Astrobiology Institute embodies all of the main Sanford Lab research disciplines in one collaboration: biology, geology, engineering and physics. Not since an early gravity-wave experiment has one group taken advantage of so much of the our real estate breadth, with activities on multiple underground levels as well as work at the surface drill core archive,” said Jaret Heise, science director at Sanford Lab. “It’s exciting to think that the electronic biology and geology ‘scientist’ on the upcoming mission to Mars was trained and tested at Sanford Lab.”

    2
    The SHERLOC detection technique was installed at the NASA Astrobiology Institute’s worksite on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab in 2014. Photo by Greg Wanger.

    “Sanford Lab is an ideal place for this research because it’s a science facility,” said Greg Wanger, who was an assistant professor at the University of Southern California at the time of the tests. Wanger said the underground at Sanford Lab has “well-characterized geology and access to several levels, allowing 3-D windows into the subsurface.”

    Teams also tested the SHERLOC concept in other extreme environments, including the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, Greenland, the Mojave Desert and deep underground in Borrego Springs, California.

    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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 8:39 am on June 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Crews create a blast to take the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment to the next stage” 

    SURF logo

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility


    Homestake Mining Company

    June 25, 2020
    Lauren Biron and Leah Hesla [FNAL]

    Initial blast marks beginning of excavation for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility which will house DUNE.

    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford

    1
    Excavation activities for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility began with first blast on June 23. Workers inspect the space cleared by the blast 3,650 feet below ground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota. They will eventually excavate hundreds of thousands of tons of rock to make way for the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, hosted by Fermilab, and LBNF, which is the infrastructure that supports and houses the experiment. Photo courtesy Kiewit Alberici Joint Venture

    It started with a blast.

    On June 23, construction company Kiewit Alberici Joint Venture set off explosives 3,650 feet beneath the surface in Lead, South Dakota, to begin creating space for the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, hosted by the Department of Energy’s Fermilab.


    The blast is the start of underground excavation activity for the experiment, known as DUNE, and the infrastructure that powers and houses it, called the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility, or LBNF.

    Situated a mile deep in South Dakota rock at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, DUNE’s giant particle detector will track the behavior of fleeting particles called neutrinos.

    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF

    The plan for the next three years, is that workers will blast and drill to remove 800,000 tons of rock to make a home for the gigantic detector and its support systems.

    “The start of underground blasting for these early excavation activities marks not only the initiation of the next major phase of this work, but significant progress on the construction already under way to prepare the site for the experiment,” said Fermilab Deputy Director for LBNF/DUNE-US Chris Mossey.

    The excavation work begins with removing 3,000 tons of rock 3,650 feet below ground. This initial step carves out a station for a massive drill whose bore is as wide as a car is long, about four meters.

    The machine will help create a 1,200-foot ventilation shaft down to what will be the much larger cavern for the DUNE particle detector and associated infrastructure. There, 4,850 feet below the surface — about 1.5 kilometers deep — the LBNF project will remove hundreds of thousands of tons of rock, roughly the weight of eight aircraft carriers.

    The emptied space will eventually be filled with DUNE’s enormous and sophisticated detector, a neutrino hunter looking for interactions from one of the universe’s most elusive particles. Researchers will send an intense beam of neutrinos from Fermilab in Illinois to the underground detector in South Dakota – straight through the earth, no tunnel necessary – and measure how the particles change their identities. What they learn may answer one of the biggest questions in physics: Why does matter exist instead of nothing at all?

    “The worldwide particle physics community is preparing in various ways for the day DUNE comes online, and this week, we take the material step of excavating rock to support the detector,” said DUNE spokesperson Stefan Söldner-Rembold of the University of Manchester. “It’s a wonderful example of collaboration: While excavation takes place in South Dakota, DUNE partners around the globe are designing and building the parts for the DUNE detector.”

    A number of science experiments already take data at Sanford Underground Research Facility, but no activity takes place at the 3650 level. With nothing and no one in the vicinity, the initial excavation stage to create the cavern for the drill proceeds in an isolated environment. It’s also an opportunity for the LBNF construction project to gather information about matters such as air flow and the rock’s particular response to the drill-and-blast technique before moving on to the larger excavation at the 4850 level, where the experiment will be built.

    “It was important for us to develop a plan that would allow the LBNF excavation to go forward without disrupting the experiments already going on in other parts of the 4850 level,” said Fermilab Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility Far-Site Conventional Facilities Manager Joshua Willhite. Following a period of excavation at the 3650 level, the project will initiate excavation at the 4850 level.

    Every bit of the 800,000 tons of rock dislodged by the underground drill-and-blast operation must eventually be transported a mile back up to the surface. There, a conveyor is being built to transport the crushed rock over a stretch of 4,200 feet for final deposit in the Open Cut, an enormous open pit mining area excavated in the 1980s. As large as the LBNF excavation will be, the rock moved to the surface and deposited in the Open Cut will only fill less than one percent of it.

    Excavation at the 3650 level will be completed over the next few months, with blasting at the 4850 level planned to begin immediately after.

    Learn more about the science of the DUNE experiment at http://www.lbnf-dune.fnal.gov.

    Work on LBNF and DUNE is supported by the DOE Office of Science and international partners in more than 30 countries.

    Fermilab is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit science.energy.gov.

    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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 8:53 am on May 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: ‘Why DUNE? [Part III] Shedding light on the unification of nature’s forces” 

    SURF logo

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility


    Homestake Mining Company

    May 22, 2020
    Erin Broberg

    Part III in our series exploring the science goals of the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment [image below].

    1
    The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) could help us learn more about physics beyond the Standard Model. Courtesy Fermilab

    Master theoretical physicists laid the foundations of the Standard Model throughout the second half of the twentieth century. With outstanding success, it explained how particles like protons, neutrons and electrons interact on a subatomic level. It also made Nobel Prize-winning predictions about new particles, such as the Higgs Boson, that were later observed in experiments. For decades, the Standard Model has been the scaffolding on which physicists drape quantum concepts from magnetism to nuclear fusion.

    Despite its remarkable dexterity and longevity, however, some physicists have described the Standard Model as “incomplete,” “ugly” and, in some instances, even “grotesque.”

    “The Standard Model is an effective theory, but we are not satisfied,” said Chang Kee Jung, a professor of physics at Stony Brook University. “Physicists, in some sense, are perfectionists. We always want to know exactly why things work a certain way.” While the Standard Model is incredibly useful, it is far from perfect.

    2
    A portion of the Lagrangian standard model transcribed by T.D. Gutierrez. Courtesy Symmetry Magazine.

    Standard Model of Particle Physics, Quantum Diaries

    In a bewildering example, the Standard Model predicted that neutrinos, the universe’s most abundant particle, would be massless. In 1998, the Super-Kamiokande experiment in Japan caught the Standard Model in a lie.

    Super-Kamiokande experiment. located under Mount Ikeno near the city of Hida, Gifu Prefecture, Japan

    Neutrinos do indeed have mass, albeit very little. Further complicating matters, the Standard Model doesn’t explain dark matter or dark energy; combined, these account for 95 percent of the universe. In other cases, the Standard Model requires physicists to begrudgingly plug in arbitrary parameters to reflect experimental data.

    Unwilling to ignore these flaws, physicists are looking for a new, more perfect model of the subatomic universe. And many are hoping that the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, hosted by the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, can put their theories to the test.

    Grander theories of the quantum world

    Leading alternatives to the Standard Model attempt to unify the three quantum forces: strong, weak and electromagnetic. Physicists have demonstrated that, at extremely high energies, the weak and electromagnetic force become indistinguishable. Many believe that the strong force can be unified in the same way.

    “Grand unification is the beautiful idea that there was a single force at the beginning of the universe, and what we see now is three manifestations of that original force,” said Jonathan Lee Feng, particle and cosmology theorist at the University of California, Irvine. This class of “Grand Unified Theories” is charmingly abbreviated as “GUTs.”

    In their search for a GUT, theorists have been a bit too successful. They haven’t created just one alternative to the Standard Model—they’ve created hundreds. These models unify quantum forces, explain the mass of a neutrino and eliminate many arbitrary parameters. Some are practical and bare-boned, others far-fetched and elaborate, but nearly all are mathematically solid.

    Even so, they can’t all be “right.”

    “You can write a logically and mathematically consistent theory, but that doesn’t mean it matches the real mechanisms of the universe,” Jung said. “Nature chooses its own way.”

    Testing physics beyond the Standard Model

    GUTs are a major branch of theory. But others also attempt to reshape our understanding of the universe. Surrounded by more models than could possibly be correct, theorists around the world are asking the universe for a nudge in the right direction.

    Just as the Standard Model predicted novel particles in the twentieth century that were later discovered through experimentation, new theories also predict never-before-seen phenomena. Some models predict the decay of a particle once thought immortal. Others hint at a fourth generation of neutrino. Still others foretell of particles that communicate between our realm and the realm of dark matter.

    “We can continue to speculate and refine these models, but if we actually witnessed one of these predictions, we’d have much more precise hints about where to go,” Feng said.

    Enter DUNE. The main goal of the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment is to keep a watchful eye on a beam of neutrinos traveling from Fermilab to detectors deep under the earth at Sanford Underground Research Facility. However, the experiment is also designed to be sensitive to a slew of interactions predicted by avant-garde theories. The observation of even one of these predictions would rule out dozens of theories and guide the next generation of quantum theory.

    Tuned to witness quantum strangeness

    Proton decay

    The Standard Model dictates that protons—basic building blocks of matter best known for how they clump with neutrons in the center of an atom—are stable particles, destined to live forever.

    However, many Grand Unified Theories have predicted that, eventually, protons will decay. While different models disagree on the specific mechanisms that cause this decay, the general consensus is that proton decay is a good place to start investigating physics beyond the Standard Model.

    To validate these theories, physicists just have to glimpse the death of a proton.

    In the early 1950s, Maurice Goldhaber, an esteemed physicist who later directed Brookhaven National Laboratory, postulated that protons live at least 10^16 years. If their lifespan were any shorter, the radiation from frequent decays would destroy the human body. Thus, Goldhaber said, you could “feel it in your bones” that the proton was long-lived. Over time, experiments determined that protons lifetime was even longer—at least 10^34 years.

    According to current estimates, you would have to watch one proton for a minimum of 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years—without blinking—in order to see it decay. Sensible physicists aren’t quite that patient.

    By watching a multitude of protons at once, researchers can greatly increase their chances of seeing a decay within their own lifetime (and still be alive to receive the Nobel Prize for their discovery). DUNE detectors will monitor 40,000 tons of liquid argon.

    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF

    Each atom of argon contains 18 protons. If one out of this incredible number of protons decays during DUNE’s lifetime, it will show up in DUNE’s data.

    “If a proton decay is discovered, it is a revolutionary discovery—a once-in-a-generation discovery,” said Jung, who has played various leadership roles in DUNE.

    An invisible neutrino

    Neutrinos are subatomic particles; waiflike, abundant and neutral, they hardly interact with normal matter at all. DUNE is designed to monitor how neutrinos oscillate, or change between three different types of neutrino, as they stream through the Earth. But DUNE could also see something extra hidden in its data.

    “In the Standard Model, there are three types of neutrino: the electron neutrino, the muon neutrino and the tau neutrino. But why is there not a fourth generation? Why not five? What stops it at three? That is not known,” Jung said.

    There are subatomic hints of another type of neutrino, called a sterile neutrino, that interacts even less than the other known types. If it exists, the only way it could be measured is the way in which it joins the oscillation pattern of neutrinos, disrupting the pattern physicists expect to see.

    4
    There are subatomic hints of another type of neutrino, called a sterile neutrino, that interacts even less than the other known types. Courtesy Fermilab.

    “If what we see doesn’t match our three-flavor oscillation pattern, it will tell us a lot about what is incomplete about our understanding of the universe,” said Elizabeth Worcester, DUNE physics co-coordinator and physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory. “It could point to the existence of sterile neutrinos, a new interaction or even some other crazy thing we haven’t thought of yet. It would take some untangling to understand what the data is really telling us.”

    Investigating dark matter

    Dark matter is a mysterious, invisible source of matter responsible for holding vast galaxies together. Although not directly tied to theories of unification, the long-standing mystery of dark matter transcends the Standard Model. And depending on its true characteristics, DUNE could be the first to detect it.

    “Dark matter is an enormous question in our field,” said Feng, who has worked on a specific dark matter theory, called WIMP theory, for 22 years. “There is a lot of interesting creative work being done in theory, but hints from experiments like DUNE would be really helpful.”

    According to WIMP theory, dark matter is composed of weakly interacting, massive particles (WIMPs). If these particles exist, some of them are expected to pass through the Sun. There, they would interact with other particles, losing energy and sinking into the Sun’s core. Over time, enough WIMPs would gravitate toward the Sun’s core that they would annihilate with each other and release high-energy neutrinos in all directions. As you might guess, DUNE would be ready to detect these neutrinos. Researchers could reconstruct their trajectory, tracing them back to the Sun and, indirectly, to the WIMPs that produced them.
    ________________________________________________
    Dark Matter Background
    Fritz Zwicky discovered Dark Matter in the 1930s when observing the movement of the Coma Cluster., Vera Rubin a Woman in STEM denied the Nobel, did most of the work on Dark Matter.

    Fritz Zwicky from http:// palomarskies.blogspot.com

    Coma cluster via NASA/ESA Hubble

    In modern times, it was astronomer Fritz Zwicky, in the 1930s, who made the first observations of what we now call dark matter. His 1933 observations of the Coma Cluster of galaxies seemed to indicated it has a mass 500 times more than that previously calculated by Edwin Hubble. Furthermore, this extra mass seemed to be completely invisible. Although Zwicky’s observations were initially met with much skepticism, they were later confirmed by other groups of astronomers.

    Thirty years later, astronomer Vera Rubin provided a huge piece of evidence for the existence of dark matter. She discovered that the centers of galaxies rotate at the same speed as their extremities, whereas, of course, they should rotate faster. Think of a vinyl LP on a record deck: its center rotates faster than its edge. That’s what logic dictates we should see in galaxies too. But we do not. The only way to explain this is if the whole galaxy is only the center of some much larger structure, as if it is only the label on the LP so to speak, causing the galaxy to have a consistent rotation speed from center to edge.

    Vera Rubin, following Zwicky, postulated that the missing structure in galaxies is dark matter. Her ideas were met with much resistance from the astronomical community, but her observations have been confirmed and are seen today as pivotal proof of the existence of dark matter.

    Astronomer Vera Rubin at the Lowell Observatory in 1965, worked on Dark Matter (The Carnegie Institution for Science)


    Vera Rubin measuring spectra, worked on Dark Matter (Emilio Segre Visual Archives AIP SPL)


    Vera Rubin, with Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) image tube spectrograph attached to the Kitt Peak 84-inch telescope, 1970. https://home.dtm.ciw.edu

    The Vera C. Rubin Observatory currently under construction on the El Peñón peak at Cerro Pachón Chile, a 2,682-meter-high mountain in Coquimbo Region, in northern Chile, alongside the existing Gemini South and Southern Astrophysical Research Telescopes.

    LSST Data Journey, Illustration by Sandbox Studio, Chicago with Ana Kova


    ________________________________________________

    While Feng hasn’t given up on WIMPs, he has recently started working on another dark matter theory that involves light dark matter particles. This theory predicts that, in addition to looking for dark matter directly, we could also learn more about dark matter through so-called “mediator particles.”

    “If you imagine we could talk to dark matter on the phone, mediator particles would be the wire that connects us to it,” Feng said. If this theory is accurate, mediator particles could potentially be created as by-products in Fermilab’s particle accelerator and show themselves in one of DUNE’s detectors.

    Whatever its true characteristics, dark matter might reveal itself in DUNE, offering clues to yet another universe-sized mystery.

    Looking where the light is

    “There are other interactions beyond the Standard Model that DUNE could be sensitive to,” Worcester said. “Spontaneous neutron-antineutron oscillation, nonstandard interactions, exotic things like Lorentz violation, which would mean that almost all theory is broken.” The list goes on. “If it feels like a grab bag, that’s because it is.”

    Worcester likens DUNE’s multifaceted approach to the streetlamp effect. If you drop your keys on a dark street, you look under the streetlamp to find them. They may not be within the beam of light created by the streetlamp, but you have no hope of finding the keys in the darkness. So, you look where the light is.

    When researchers are attempting to look beyond what is known, advanced experiments like DUNE become their streetlamps, casting puddles of light onto unfamiliar physics.

    “It could be that some answers are still in the dark, but if we keep creating sophisticated experiments, we’ll find them,” Worcester said.

    So, why DUNE? Amidst its search for the origin of matter and supernovas on the galactic horizon, DUNE will also shine a bright light on physics beyond the Standard Model.

    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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 11:40 am on May 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Why DUNE? Searching for the origin of matter", , , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Why DUNE? Searching for the origin of matter” 

    SURF logo

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility


    Homestake Mining Company

    May 11, 2020
    Erin Lorraine Broberg

    1
    DUNE science goal icon: Origin of matter.Credit: Fermilab

    Why does matter exist? It may seem like a strange question, but according to current models of the early universe, matter shouldn’t exist.

    “According to what we know about the laws of physics, the amount of matter in the universe should be, effectively, zero,” said André de Gouvêa, a theoretical physicist with the DUNE collaboration and professor at Northwestern University.

    In physics, the discrepancy between what we see—a universe filled with galaxies and a planet teeming with life—and what models predict we should see—absolutely nothing—is called the “matter-antimatter asymmetry problem.” The international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, or DUNE, hosted by the Department of Energy’s Fermilab and to be built at Fermilab and Sanford Lab, seeks to solve this problem, which has dogged physicists for nearly a century.

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


    The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment will measure neutrino oscillations by studying a neutrino that will be sent from Fermilab to the DUNE detectors at the Sanford Underground Neutrino Facility. The experiment will use a muon neutrino beam created at Fermilab’s Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility and send it 800 miles/1300 kilometers straight through the earth to South Dakota. By the time the neutrinos arrive in South Dakota, only a small fraction of neutrinos will be detected as muon neutrinos. Most neutrinos will interact as electron and tau neutrinos. Graphic courtesy Fermilab

    A universe-sized problem

    Despite what the models predict, we find ourselves amidst a universe replete with matter. Everything we see around us is made from just a few types of fundamental particles. Combined, they form protons and neutrons which join up with electrons to form atoms, which in turn bind to make molecules, building ever larger.

    But these key ingredients are only half the story.

    In the 1930s, physicists discovered “antiparticles” that mirror the fundamental particles. Identical in nearly every way, except with reversed charge, these equal yet opposite particles are called antimatter. Just like matter particles, antimatter particles could combine to build bigger and bigger units of antimatter—if they ever survived long enough do to so.

    Although matter and antimatter particles are nearly indistinguishable, the two forms do not coexist peacefully. When antimatter comes into contact with regular matter, particles and antiparticles immediately annihilate, leaving leaving pure energy in their wake.

    This complete, mutual annihilation is the impetus of the matter-antimatter asymmetry problem. Our current models dictate that the Big Bang created equal parts matter and antimatter. Within a second, all the matter and antimatter should have met and annihilated, leaving behind a universe with nothing but energy in the form of light.

    2
    Identical in nearly every way, except with reversed charge, these equal yet opposite particles are called antimatter. Graphic courtesy Fermilab

    “The problem is, if we take our favorite model and calculate the evolution of the universe, we get a prediction that is completely off,” de Gouvêa said. “There should not be any matter in the universe we live in today.”

    We know, of course, that this didn’t happen. We live in a matter-dominated universe with swirling galaxies, innumerable stars and at least one life-sustaining planet. Somehow, about one billionth of the total amount of matter created in the Big Bang managed to evade annihilation and fill the universe with the matter we see today. Thus, the matter-antimatter asymmetry problem.

    Physicists believe there is an undiscovered mechanism, hidden in the wrinkles of nature’s laws, that gave matter an initial advantage over antimatter. And for nearly a century, they’ve been trying to pinpoint it.

    A crack in nature’s symmetry

    Because matter and antimatter are mirror images of each other, physicists assumed that the laws of nature applied to both matter particles and antimatter particles in the exact same way. In physics, this type of equality is called a “symmetry.”

    According to this idea, weak and strong forces should bind particles and antiparticles without discrimination. Gravity should pull on antimatter with the same force it exerts on matter. Magnets should attract oppositely charged particles and antiparticles with the same gusto. In fact, an entire universe made of antimatter should look identical to the one we live in today.

    This assumption of a perfect symmetry among the fundamental building blocks of the universe held true until the 1960s, when James Cronin and Val Fitch made the shocking discovery that, in a very specific case, the universe treats matter slightly different than antimatter.

    Their Nobel Prize-winning experiment examined the way that quarks (fundamental particles that make up protons and neutrons) and antiquarks (their corresponding antiparticles) interacted with the weak force. Rather than treating quarks and antiquarks the same way, the weak force favored quarks in an infamous violation of what is called the Charge Parity (CP) symmetry.

    In other words, the universe had revealed a slight preference for matter over antimatter.

    3
    CP violation experiment: In 1963, a beam from BNL’s Alternating Gradient Synchrotron and the pictured detectors salvaged from the Cosmotron were used to prove the violation of conjugation (C) and parity (P) – winning the Nobel Prize in physics for Princeton University physicists James Cronin and Val Fitch. Photo courtesy Brookhaven National Laboratory.

    This discovery stunned the particle physics community. In the decades that followed, researchers continued to make precision measurements of these decays, combing their data for new physics that might be lurking within this phenomenon. Thirty years after Cronin and Fitch’s discovery, Elizabeth Worcester was making such measurements at Fermilab’s Tevatron with the KTeV experiment.

    “In the 1990s, we were studying the same decays in which CP violation was first observed,” said Worcester, who is now a DUNE physcis co-coordinator and physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

    This glitch in the laws of nature specifically caught the attention of physicists studying the imbalance of matter and antimatter in the universe. Was this violation of CP symmetry the mechanism that allowed some matter to escape annihilation after the Big Bang?

    Subsequent experiments combined with more and more sophisticated calculations demonstrated that nature’s unequal treatment of quarks and antiquarks is not quite big enough to account for the gaping discrepancy we see today.

    However, scientists think the existence of CP violation is a major clue.

    “This violation could mean there is something very fundamental about the laws of nature that we are missing,” de Gouvêa said.

    As soon as Cronin and Fitch made their discovery, physicists began to wonder if other fundamental particles broke the same symmetry. Perhaps multiple sources of CP violation, when combined, could explain how so much matter escaped annihilation in the early universe.

    By finding another, even bigger crack in this symmetry, physicists aim to prove that the universe has an overarching preference for matter, making our current universe possible.

    A ghost-like candidate

    If quarks didn’t provide enough CP violation in the early universe, could another category of elementary particles known as neutrinos have provided another way to favor matter over antimatter?

    “If you look at everything that we’ve learned about neutrinos so far, it indicates that CP could be violated in the neutrino sector,” de Gouvêa said. “There is no specific reason to expect it not to be violated.”

    Neutrinos are extremely challenging to work with. Trillions of these particles pass through you each second. Their miniscule mass and neutral charge make them almost impossible to detect. Building an experiment to test whether these ghost-like particles violate the CP symmetry is even more ambitious.

    “The reason we don’t know if neutrinos violate CP symmetry is purely an experimental issue,” said Ryan Patterson, DUNE physics co-coordinator and professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). “Neutrinos could violate CP a lot, but we don’t know yet because the experiments up to this point haven’t been sensitive enough.”

    One peculiar property of neutrinos, however, makes the DUNE experiment possible. As neutrinos speed through the universe just under the speed of light, they alternate between three different types, or flavors. This process is called oscillation.

    4
    As neutrinos speed through the universe just under the speed of light, they alternate between three different types, or flavors. This process is called oscillation. Graphic courtesy Fermilab

    “In regard to neutrinos, we only have one realistic way of measuring CP violation: it will show itself in the way neutrinos oscillate between flavors,” de Gouvêa said.

    In principle, the measurement is quite simple, according to de Gouvêa.

    “You simply compare a matter process with an antimatter process, and then you ask if they agree,” de Gouvêa said. To measure the CP violation, researchers must compare the oscillations of neutrinos with the oscillations of antineutrinos. If there is a discrepancy in the way they oscillate over a distance, then neutrinos break the symmetry.

    The difficult part of the experiment is that neutrino oscillations occur over hundreds of miles. To measure a deviation or discrepancy, researchers would need… well, they would need to build a long-baseline neutrino facility.

    Are neutrinos the reason we exist?

    The particulars of this universe-sized mystery have guided the design of the aptly named Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF), which will house the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. Stretching across the Midwest, with infrastructure located at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois and at Sanford Lab in Lead, South Dakota, the facility allows researchers to measure just how neutrinos and antineutrinos oscillate over long distances.

    It works like this: a particle accelerator will generate intense beams of neutrinos and antineutrinos at Fermilab. The beams will travel 800 miles straight through rock and earth – no tunnel needed – to enormous particle detectors located deep underground at Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab), where 4,850 feet of rock overburden shield the detectors from unwanted background signals.

    During their trip through the Earth’s crust—which takes just four milliseconds—the neutrinos and antineutrinos will oscillate, changing from one flavor into another. Conveniently, the distance between Fermilab and Sanford Lab is ideal for this measurement; by the time the particles arrive at Sanford Lab, their oscillations will be at their peak.

    “To get the best measurement, we put the detectors right where we expect the oscillation to be maximal,” Patterson said.

    When the beam reaches Sanford Lab, some of the neutrinos and antineutrinos will collide with argon atoms inside the detectors. These collisions result in unique signals. By measuring and comparing hundreds of these signals, researchers will be able to tell if neutrinos and antineutrinos oscillate in different ways – the sure-tell sign of CP symmetry violation – and if so, by how much.

    “I think what the neutrinos are going to tell us could change our understanding of nature in a very interesting way,” de Gouvêa said.

    So, why DUNE? In a nutshell, it could help scientists answer one of the big unsolved questions in science and give all of us an answer to the reason we—and everything else in the universe—exists.

    That, however, is only part of the story. Stay tuned for part II of our series of stories about the science of DUNE.

    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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 9:41 am on April 21, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A day in the life of a subterranean astronaut", Mark Hanhardt- experiment support scientist, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “A day in the life of a subterranean astronaut” 

    SURF logo

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility


    Homestake Mining Company

    4.21.20

    Mark Hanhardt, experiment support scientist

    As a particle physicist, I work in a unique environment: a mile underground. I’m an experiment support scientist with the Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    As an experiment support scientist with the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), I work in a unique environment to support the various experiments we have throughout our entire underground campus. I have a distinctive job because I don’t work on just one project, but rather on many projects helping out where I am needed. The job can be busy, sometimes overwhelming, but it’s never boring. Follow me through a typical day working nearly a mile underground at SURF.

    Pulling into the lab parking lot this morning, I get to briefly watch the sunrise before I head inside. The lab, situated in the gorgeous town of Lead, SD, surrounded by the Black Hills, is at the top of one of the tallest hills in town, which offers a great view of the surrounding area.

    2

    Who you gonna call?

    The morning starts pretty early at SURF; I have to be ready, dressed in my safety gear and at the “cage” by 7 a.m. to go underground. My safety gear consists of steel-toed boots, a hard hat with a cap lamp, safety glasses and coveralls with safety reflectors—the coveralls make me more visible and protect my clothes from mine dust and dirt that I don’t want to track into the lab. (My coveralls sport a Ghostbusters patch on each arm because if there’s one thing I know, it’s fashion). I also carry a W-65 self-rescuer on my belt, a device capable of filtering carbon monoxide out of the air to allow me to breathe if I ever need to escape in the unlikely event of an underground fire.

    3
    I head down an underground walkway to catch the cage. At the end of the walkway, I take two brass tags with my name on them from the orange tag board labeled “Science.” I put one on a large blue tag board labeled “In” and the other one in my pocket. This is just one way we keep track of everyone who is underground at any given moment.

    4

    The morning cage ride

    The cage ride is just like a party except that there’s no music, no drinks and no dancing. I ride the cage down with a handful of other scientists and several members of our Underground Maintenance Crew who work to keep the underground lab spaces habitable by bolting the rock, clearing the ventilation paths and maintaining all of the infrastructure. The 12-minute ride is dark, illuminated only by a couple cap lamps. It can sometimes be noisy and wet as water in the shaft above us drips into the cage. But it’s a great chance to catch up with the crews, find out what’s going on for the day and share a few laughs before the work begins.

    5
    It’s a full day underground; five research groups will be present on the 4850L and another one will be on the 4100L. After finishing the morning coordination discussions, I catch a ride on an underground, battery-powered locomotive to one of the two major science campuses on this level, the Ross Campus.

    6
    Motor here, motor there

    I’ve been told that if you can get one of these babies to 88 mph, it will travel through time. Unfortunately, they top out at about 4 mph.

    At the Ross Campus I conduct a little training for a new researcher on how to safely handle lead bricks. Don’t eat the lead bricks, don’t lick the lead bricks, don’t speak in harsh tones to the lead bricks, etc. We come a mile underground to conduct extremely sensitive experiments because the rock blocks out much of the noisy cosmic radiation that bombards the earth. We use lead bricks to further shield the experiments from radiation from local sources including the rock and concrete underground, the signals created by the various electronic equipment used in the experiments and radioactive researchers—the human body puts out enough radiation on its own that it could overwhelm or even ruin some of our underground experiments.

    7
    A researcher swaps a sample in a low-background counter

    Training done, I walk over to the Black Hills State University Underground Campus (BHUC) to help one of the researchers get together the materials she needs to swap out a radiation counting sample in one of the many low-background high-purity germanium (HPGe) detectors in that area.

    8
    Subterranean astronauts

    Anything with that much caution tape has to be fun!

    I spend more time working with CASPAR than the other experiments because, in addition to being an experiment support scientist at SURF, I’m also a Ph.D. candidate at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SD Mines) and CASPAR is my project. In CASPAR, an experiment in the field of nuclear astrophysics, we use a low-energy particle accelerator to reproduce the conditions inside the heart of a star, creating fusion reactions and observing the resultant particles. We do so in an attempt to better understand how the stars synthesize new elements in the cosmos. The juxtaposition of going underground to study the stars is why I sometimes refer to this group as Subterranean Astronauts.

    While in CASPAR I help replace an accelerator target and review the radioactive sources (used for detector calibration) as part of our regular inventory program.

    After leaving CASPAR, I walk roughly 1 km back to the other major science campus on the 4850L, the Davis Campus, which is named for Ray Davis Jr, a chemist from Brookhaven National Laboratory. Davis conducted the Homestake Solar Neutrino Experiment, detecting neutrinos from the sun for the first time in the 1960’s-1980’s. His work introduced the world to the Solar Neutrino Problem, which puzzled physicists for many years, but resulted in a share of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics when two other underground laboratories discovered that neutrinos come in three flavors. His work was conducted in the same space underground that is used for experiments looking for dark matter.

    9

    Back to the Davis

    On my way to the Davis Campus, I pass by the #6 Winze, a shaft that goes from the 4550L down to the 8000L. The winze (which means a shaft that does not open to the surface) was used when the Homestake Gold Mine operated. The mine shut down around 2002. The 8000L is intentionally no longer accessible due to water that has been allowed to inflow all the way up to the 5700L.

    10
    SIGMA-V wins the prize for “Experiment Most Resembling a James Bond Villain Lair.”

    My trip takes me down the West Drift, so I am able to check on the SIGMA-V equipment. SIGMA-V is an experiment being conducted to help understand processes that can be used to improve the efficiency and feasibility of geothermal energy production. In contrast to most of the drifts underground, this area is well lit to help the researchers on that project work quickly and safely.

    The area beyond SIGMA-V, however, is not lighted. Aside from the line of overhead reflectors indicating my primary escape route in case of an emergency, there’s not much to capture on camera. I have to use my cap lamp to see where I’m going as I hike the remainder of the way to the Davis Campus. This area is quiet and it can be very peaceful to walk through alone—my monastery a mile underground.

    11
    Attention: The light at the end of the tunnel has been shut off for maintenance.
    Please ignore any metaphorical implications.”

    12
    Future’s so bright …

    LZ’s future is so bright, I gotta wear shades. No, seriously, it’s really bright in here.

    SURF is in the process of upgrading the space once occupied by the LUX (Large Underground Xenon) experiment so it can fit the second-generation dark matter search experiment, LUX-ZEPLIN. The construction is nearly complete and today’s activities include installation of circulation lines and chemical passivation of the seams of the massive water tank that will be used as active shielding for the LZ detector. I check in with the researchers working on those two tasks, do a quick inspection of the lab spaces then head back out to wash my boots one more time before going into the Davis Campus clean space.

    13

    Entering the clean space

    Not to be outdone by Michelangelo, this LZ engineer paints a fresco on the water tank floor.

    To enter the clean space, I must wash my boots one more time, take off my dirty hard hat and rescue belt, then gratefully remove my coveralls (which have acted like a personal sauna until now). I walk through a maze of doors that act as airlocks to keep out dirt and dust and I pick up a clean hard hat and clean lab shoes before entering the Davis Campus clean space. The two major experiments housed at the Davis Campus require exemplary cleanliness and we go through great efforts to meet those requirements. One of those experiments is LZ, but because it is under construction and separated from the rest of the Davis Campus by a plastic barrier, the most stringent cleanliness protocols do not apply right now. (They will be reinstated once construction is completed and a deep clean can be performed).

    The other experiment, the Majorana Demonstrator, aiding in the search for neutrinoless double-beta decay, is currently running and is very sensitive to any outside contaminant. Researchers working directly on Majorana must go through a second, even more stringent set of cleanliness protocols—they wear a hair net, booties over their lab shoes, two pairs of nitrile gloves, a Tyvek suit, a hood, a face mask, another pair of booties that clip into the suit, and tape around the gloves at the sleeve. (When I have helped out in Majorana, it is usually at this point that I realize I need to use the restroom.) Onced garbed up in this fashion, researchers can enter the detector room where they must discard their topmost pair of nitrile gloves and put on a new pair.

    14

    15

    A natural habitat for an underground physicist

    Inside the Davis Campus I check on the facility monitoring computer, do a quick update and wipe down one of the stainless steel tables. At this point I can finally sit down, pull out my laptop and begin logging the daily lab activities. I also need to complete the training paperwork from this morning’s training session, send some emails about safety inspections and distribute notes from a meeting the day prior.

    When it’s time for lunch I take a break from the computer work and read a nuclear astrophysics paper for my Ph.D. research, while I eat. No rest for the wicked(ly handsome). Then a few of the researchers join me for a 1 p.m. phone meeting wherein all of the science groups talk about their upcoming plans so we can coordinate efforts and make sure we have everything we need in place. After a busy morning, the rest of the day goes by quietly. I get a few calls from researchers needing me to coordinate resources and find transportation for some materials. Then, I take the chance to get into some deeper projects I’ve been working on.

    15
    Back to the surface

    The afternoon cage is like the morning cage, but in reverse and more exhausted.

    Before I know it, it’s time to pack up and get ready for the ride to the surface. The cage up is a bit more crowded than the cage down. We shuffle in and take the 12 minute ride to the surface world, joking and talking through what needs to get done tomorrow.

    16
    The Sun! It burns!

    It’s a sunny day on the surface and it’s good to get above ground after a long day.
    But I’m looking forward to getting back to it tomorrow because, as we say at Sanford Lab, it’s always sunny on the 4850.

    16

    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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 10:24 am on March 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Milestone reached in Yates Shaft top-down maintenance", At Sanford Lab four crews are dedicated to work in the Yates Shaft., Because the nation’s steel supply was dedicated to the early war effort Homestake Mining Company constructed the Yates Shaft out of timber., SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility, The Ross Shaft had been built with steel five years prior., This March crews completed top-down maintenance from the surface to the 4850 Level in the skip compartment of the Yates Shaft.   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Milestone reached in Yates Shaft top-down maintenance” 

    SURF logo

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility


    Homestake Mining Company

    March 23, 2020
    Erin Broberg

    Infrastructure crews reach 4850 Level in the skip compartments of the Yates Shaft.

    1
    At Sanford Lab, four crews are dedicated to work in the Yates Shaft. These crews provide access to people and supplies and carry out top-down maintenance. From left to right, top to bottom: Juan Molina-Harris, David Schaffer, Dan Essink, Ashana Baumberger, Dustin Mund, James Nonnast, Jeramie Sjomeling, Russell Bauer, William Hover, Joseph Sigdestad, Ricky Allen, Michael Harvey, Alexis Novotny, Casey Schaff, Pat Urbaniak, Blake Williams. Photos by Nick Hubbard.

    Infrastructure crews at Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) reached a major milestone in their effort to enhance the infrastructure of the Yates Shaft. This March, crews completed top-down maintenance from the surface to the 4850 Level in the skip compartment of the Yates Shaft.

    “This project has been in the works for a long time, and we are thrilled to see these milestones bringing us closer to completion of the overall project,” said Mike Headley, executive director of Sanford Lab.

    As the main conduit for transporting people and supplies underground, the Yates Shaft is often considered the facility’s “interstate to the underground.” Since 2012, infrastructure technicians have worked to provide consistent access to various levels, while working to reinforce the integrity of the structure.

    “The Yates Shaft crews are experts at methodically executing the top-down maintenance program, and it is a big accomplishment to complete the skip compartments to the 4850 Level,” said Bryce Pietzyk, underground access coordinator. “I also want to recognize all the work it takes from other departments to keep the program moving, including finance, accounting, purchasing and safety.”

    An eight-year effort

    Construction on the Yates Shaft began in 1939. Because the nation’s steel supply was dedicated to the early war effort, Homestake Mining Company constructed the Yates Shaft out of timber, unlike the Ross Shaft, which had been built with steel five years prior.

    A feat of engineering, the 5,000-foot structure is comprised of 799 stacked support sets that divide the shaft into three main compartments: the North and South cages, which transport people and supplies between levels; the North and South skips, which hauled ore from underground; and the utility compartment, which houses piping and electricity lines.

    When Sanford Lab reopened the Yates Shaft, work began to ensure the longevity of the shaft. In 2013, leadership developed a methodical construction approach called “top-down maintenance.”

    Top-down maintenance involves inspecting every component of every set, giving each a “grade,” said William McElroy, executive operations program manager. McElroy, who was the underground access director at the time, helped develop the maintenance project. Timbers, posts, guides, bolting, lacing and turnbuckles are all examined and graded. This information is compiled into a database that details the health of each of the 799 sets in the Yates Shaft.

    “Data tells a story,” McElroy said. “When you have nearly 800 sets with so many individual components, you need data to inform your decisions.” The data guides infrastructure crews as they move from the surface and work their way down the shaft, set by set.

    But top-down maintenance involves more than rating and making needed repairs. As the crews move down the shaft, they also remove the old wooden lacing and 75 years of muck (rock, timber and gravel) that has built up behind it.

    “Regular rock removal equipment doesn’t fit in the cage compartments, so removing rock is done by hand, using a flat shovel and five-gallon pails,” said Casey Schaff, Yates Shaft foreman. “Those pails are dumped into the skip, which can hold 11 tons of material, and hauled to the surface at the end of the shift.”

    On average, crews remove more than 27 tons of muck every month. As the muck is removed, crews put in new ground support, repair timber pieces and install new lacing where needed.

    Achieving the milestone

    In 2019, infrastructure crews completed maintenance on 677 sets in both the cage and the skip compartments of the Yates Shaft. This brought their progress to just below the 4100 Level. They then focused their efforts on the skip compartment, in anticipation of an upgrade to the skip hoist motors that would temporarily pause maintenance in the skip compartment. This March, the crew reached Set 767 at the 4850 Level in the skip compartment.

    Including post work, guide work, bolting, lacing and blocking, there have been 28,696 corrections made in the Yates Shaft to date. While performing all of this work, the Yates Shaft crews have also moved 4,800 loads since January 2018.

    “During this project, we’ve had no lost time or injuries. I attribute that to the diligence of the crews working in the shaft,” said Patrick Urbaniak, Yates Shaft superintendent. “They do a good job of looking after each other and looking after other crews, too.”

    “Top-down maintenance will now continue in the cage compartments just below the 4100 Level and eventually continue in the utility compartments,” Pietzyk said.

    The overarching vision

    On the other side of the facility, the Ross Rehabilitation project, a complete rebuild of the shaft’s steel infrastructure, is in the final stages. In terms of facility progress, McElroy says the Ross and Yates Shafts must be considered as a pair, rather than separate systems.

    “These two shafts are the access points that make every other part of our work possible,” McElroy said. “Whatever you do with one will impact the other. This has to be the vision for the future of what we are doing here.”

    As Sanford Lab leadership considers future plans for the Yates, including an imminent rebuild of the shaft with steel infrastructure, McElroy said the top-down maintenance project will help with that work.

    “The lion’s share of rock bolting in the shaft will be completed during top-down maintenance, which is a massive, massive advantage to future work in the shaft,” McElroy said.

    Keeping maintenance at the forefront

    Most everyone who travels down the Yates Shaft has passed a yellow railcar outside the Education and Outreach building on their way to the ramp. The railcar is filled with rock from the Yates Shaft. McElroy was a proponent of placing the railcar in this central location, as a tribute to the vital maintenance processes at Sanford Lab.

    “I wanted it to be a constant reminder of how important ongoing maintenance is in the Yates Shaft,” McElroy said. “The time that is dedicated to maintenance is so important to the future and longevity of our entire facility—and to the safety of our team.”

    3
    A railcar is filled with rock from the Yates Shaft sits outside the Education and Outreach Building at Sanford Lab. The railcar is a tribute to the vital maintenance processes at Sanford Lab. Photo by Nick Hubbard

    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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 9:44 am on February 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Microbial community could help map the subsurface", SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Microbial community could help map the subsurface” 

    SURF logo

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility


    Homestake Mining Company

    February 10, 2020
    Erin Broberg

    Researchers ask microorganisms for directions through the subterranean networks they colonize.

    1
    Researchers collect water samples containing an invisible diversity of microbes from boreholes at a testbed on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab. Photo by Nick Hubbard.

    Beneath our feet, rivers trickle, swell, then gush through natural fractures in the Earth’s crust. Studied extensively by geologists and reservoir engineers, these complex subterranean networks sidestep direct measurements, preferring to flow mysteriously through opaque passageways.

    At a testbed on the 4850 Level of Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab), researchers walk drifts adjacent to these pathways. Just inches from dribbling underground streams, researchers with Enhanced Geothermal Systems Collab (EGS Collab) are trying to find better ways to extract heat from the earth’s hot rocks 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 one day act as an enormous, domestic, clean energy resource.

    2
    Researcher stands in an outfitted drift on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab that serves as a test site for the Enhanced Geothermal System Collab. Photo by Nick Hubbard.

    The project requires creating sophisticated models that can predict how water travels through fractures in rock, absorbing the heat that seeps from geothermal hot spots. This proves challenging.

    “Geothermal reservoirs are famously difficult to understand,” said Roland Horne, a professor of energy resources engineering at Stanford University and member of EGS Collab. “They are based upon fractures, unlike other reservoirs that are found in more uniform, sedimentary porous rocks.”

    However, a team of researchers with the EGS Collab may have recently unlocked a new way to map underground water movements: by asking microorganisms for directions.

    Traditional methods meet a novel idea

    Traditionally, researchers use environmentally friendly chemical tracers to follow water traveling through the earth. By injecting a trackable chemical into the reservoir then taking samples at outlet locations downstream, researchers can get a sense of where and how quickly the water is flowing.

    Chemical tracers, however, are limited in their ability to track more complex systems.

    “One challenge in chemical tracer testing is that we don’t have enough unique variations in the tracers,” explained Yuran Zhang, a doctoral student at Stanford University and member of EGS Collab. “That’s a huge limitation when we are dealing with complex systems that have a lot of variation. Additionally, the reservoirs are likely not static. We may need to conduct multiple tracer tests just to get different snapshots of the reservoir.”

    Due to the inflexibility of chemical tracers, researchers have begun developing tracers tagged with synthetic DNA. Unlike chemical tracers, DNA tracers have inexhaustible configurations, allowing them to be used for more complex reservoirs. Still, these injected tracers are only useful once researchers have established flow circulations between wells.

    When Zhang started with the EGS Collab, her work involved both chemical and synthetic DNA tracers. Soon, Zhang wondered if they could advance the use of living organisms that colonize the subterranean network.

    Because geologic reservoirs naturally harbor a significant fraction of Earth’s microorganisms, Zhang suggested harnessing the information already present in the rock.

    “I suddenly realized that we may be able to use the entire microbial community population—not just a few microbes—that were already living in the waterways,” Zhang said. “If we took advantage of the entire community, it would be really helpful in constraining what really happens as the water is flowing through a formation.”

    3
    Yuran Zhang, a doctoral student at Stanford University and member of EGS Collab, works at the testbed at the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab. Photo courtesy Yuran Zhang.

    Testing a hypothesis

    Two years ago, when the EGS Collab drilled the first boreholes on the 4850 Level, water spilled from the rock into Zhang’s collection tube. It was teeming with microscopic life.

    “There are tons of microbes in these samples,” Zhang said. “In terms of distinct families, we have tens of families in each sample. In terms of unique DNA sequences, we have thousands.”

    4
    Researchers collect water samples containing an invisible diversity of microbes from boreholes at a testbed on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab. Photo by Nick Hubbard.

    Since then, samples have been collected from flowing boreholes or fractures at or near the testbed to further explore the use of this novel data source.

    Carlo Primo, science support with subcontractor with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been onsite taking samples for the researcher team based at Stanford University. “Once a week, I take biological samples, recording water collection start and stop time, pH level, size of water sample and the amount of water that passed through the filters,” Primo said. The samples are frozen on site with dry ice, temporarily stored at Black Hills State University, then shipped to Stanford University, where Zhang processes them in a geomicrobiology lab.

    5
    In a drift on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab, water samples taken from a borehole are pumped through a filter to collect microbes. Photo courtesy Carlo Primo.

    With these samples on hand, Zhang began asking how effective microbial community data could be to the field of reservoir engineering: Are these communities distributed evenly throughout deep subsurface environments? How similar should samples from the same fracture look? Is this method more useful than chemical tracers?

    By sequencing and analyzing the microbial DNA, Zhang realized these microbes held a wealth of information about the origins of the water they lived in.

    “The microbial community difference among boreholes or fractures is astonishing,” Zhang said. “You typically see completely different dominating families in samples from different sources.”

    One group of samples with an unusually high overlap seemed to indicate that two of the boreholes were connected. Zhang decided to test the microbial data’s implications.

    With core logs and sewer camera footages from the EGS Collab database as well as Sanford Lab’s records, Zhang was able to verify the information she had gained from her microbial data.

    “That provides great corroboration with what we found using this different method,” Zhang said, who published these findings in Water Resources Research in November 2019.

    Further research

    More research is needed to understand just how viable this approach is to the mapping of vast underground reservoirs, especially when those reservoirs increase in temperature near geothermal hot spots, but Horne is optimistic.

    “One of the unexpected potentials of microbes is that they are found at temperatures way hotter than anyone imagined they would ever be,” Horne said. “Certainly, at temperatures of commercial geothermal interests, microbes could prove useful.”

    According to a recent article from Stanford Earth, applications extend beyond geothermal systems and could be used “to predict the spread of contamination, assess artificial fracturing effects or determine the potential for leakages, for example, when studying carbon sequestration.”

    “These applications have one goal in common, which is a better understanding of the subsurface,” Zhang said. “In any application, there are great potential impacts, which can help people in multiple ways.”

    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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 12:29 pm on February 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , CASPAR-Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR) collaboration, , , Neon-22, , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “CASPAR’s newest target: neon-22” 

    SURF logo

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility


    Homestake Mining Company

    February 3, 2020
    Erin Broberg

    Upcoming experiment may explain how neon fuels the formation of life-giving elements in the stars.

    1
    Frank Strieder, principal investigator for CASPAR [below] and professor of physics at SD Mines, explains how CASPAR’s low-energy beamline can help astrophysicists understand reactions that occur inside stars.
    Photo by Nick Hubbard

    Deep in space, quivering stars are forging new worlds.

    Enflaming night skies like the fires of a billion isolated blacksmiths, the nuclear burning inside aging and collapsing stars produces about 50 percent of the elements on the periodic table.

    Young stars begin with the basics. Hydrogen, remnant of the Big Bang, fuses together inside the core of adolescent stars, producing helium. As stars get older and hotter, they begin to fashion heavier elements like carbon, oxygen and neon. In the last throes of life, the star will create hefty elements from iron to uranium before dying a brilliant death, blasting these elements into space where they will eventually coalesce into planets or reignite into a new generation of stars.

    This occurs on a timescale marked by eons, creating worlds that won’t come into existence until long after our own dissipates. However, by studying the ongoing handiwork of stars, researchers are discovering how the elements in our own world were formed long ago.

    Today, astrophysicists are studying the individual stellar processes that created our planet—the nitrogen-saturated skies, the gold-riddled crust and the carbon-infused surface.

    “Our goal is to explain where these elements in our natural environment came from, how they were produced and how they made their way to us, because that’s to some extent still unknown,” said Frank Strieder, principal investigator of the Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). The experiment, housed on the 4850 Level of the Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab), is designed to look at how a range of these elements—from iron to uranium—were originally formed inside stars.

    2
    A chart of nuclides hangs in the CASPAR control room on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab. This chart displays the isotopes of elements on the periodic table and helps researchers explain the order in which they are formed in stellar reactions. Photo by Nick Hubbard

    “From all the reactions that happen in the stars, we take a couple of important reactions and study them case-by-case,” explained Strieder, who is a professor of physics at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SD Mines).

    After firing alpha particles down the beamline at other elements like boron and graphite over the past two years, researchers are introducing CASPAR’s beamline to a new target: neon-22.

    A missing source

    To build bulky elements like iron, silver and xenon, the nucleus of a smaller atom must capture a stray neutron in a transformation called the s-Process. The s-Process, or the slow-neutron capture process, is well-understood by researchers today.

    What remains a mystery—and the current focus of CASPAR’s research—is the sheer abundance of neutrons available in the stars.

    On their own, neutrons are unstable, lasting just 15 minutes before decaying into a proton, an electron and an antineutrino. To feed the star’s ongoing demand for neutrons, there must be a source constantly producing these short-lived particles en masse.

    One possible candidate is neon-22. Alongside the heavy-element formation inside a star, neon-22 is transforming into magnesium-25. When this happens, a single neutron is emitted.

    While researchers know this reaction is responsible for some of the neutrons that briefly hurtle through the stars, they are unsure just how much this reaction supports the star’s impossibly high demand for neutrons.

    Answers from the underground

    On the surface of the earth, significant backgrounds have long kept researchers from studying neon-22’s transformation at the same energies that would occur inside a stellar environment. While they can replicate the reaction at higher energies, the data needs to be extrapolated down, leaving large gaps of uncertainty.

    But CASPAR’s low-energy beams, shielded by a mile of rock, can mimic reactions at relevant energies.

    3
    CASPAR’s 50-foot beamline on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab. Photo by Nick Hubbard

    This month, researchers are prepping for a test that could reveal how integral neon-22 is to the production of neutrons in a star—or tell them to look elsewhere for the source of these flighty particles.

    Designing a gaseous target

    To duplicate neon-22’s transformation into magnesium-25, the team will focus a beam of alpha particles on a chamber filled with neon gas.

    “The challenge with this experiment is the neon itself. Neon is a noble gas, and it is nearly impossible to deposit neon atoms onto a solid target and keep them there. That’s why we have to use a gas target,” explained Tom Kadlecek, a graduate student at SD Mines who is working on the neon-22 campaign.

    The accelerator beam travels in a vacuum through a beam pipe that is guided by magnets. The team designed a unique chamber that allows neon gas to circulate through a portion of the beamline. A detector surrounds this section, poised to count the number of neutrons produced as the beamline collides with neon gas.

    4
    Tom Kadlecek, a graduate student at SD Mines who is working on the neon-22 campaign, explains the innovative design that allows gaseous neon-22 to circulate through a portion of CASPAR’s beamline without dissipating throughout the entire vacuum. Photo by Nick Hubbard

    “We will run this test over the course of a couple of weeks, measuring first at higher energies, then going as low as possible,” Strieder said. “From this experiment, we can calculate the number of neutrons per second that are produced inside the core of the star.”

    By gaining a better understanding of this isolated reaction, CASPAR’s latest experiment could enhance current stellar models. More importantly, perhaps, it could explain how life-giving elements are formed deep in the heart of collapsing stars.

    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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 10:28 am on December 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: GERDA- MPG GERmanium Detector Array at Gran Sasso Italy, LEGEND-200 the Large Enriched Germanium Experiment for Neutrinoless ββ Decay, , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Peering behind the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR shield” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility


    Homestake Mining Company

    December 19, 2019
    Erin Broberg

    1
    When researchers with the Majorana Demonstrator pulled back the layers of shielding earlier this month, the cryostat modules were visible for the first time in nearly four years. Photo by Nick Hubbard

    For the past 1,204 days, detectors have been collecting data, silent and undisturbed, inside a fortress of lead and copper shielding a mile beneath the earth’s surface. This December, researchers with the Majorana Demonstrator (Majorana) pulled back a piece of that shielding to peer inside.

    Housed on the 4850 Level of the Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab), Majorana has been looking for a rare type of particle decay that could help us understand the existence of matter in the universe. Just how rare is this proposed physics event? To observe it in just two atoms, you’d have to wait over 2 x 1025 years — that’s a 2 followed by 25 zeroes.

    To better their chances of witnessing this elusive event in our lifetime, researchers proposed an experiment. This experiment would house a large concentration of atoms with the potential to see this rare decay. It would also have an extremely low background, protected from radiation by layers of shielding and rock overburden.

    Majorana demonstrated that such an experiment is possible. While it didn’t detect the particle decay, it proved that a scaled-up experiment—one that is more than 33 times its size—might be able to do so.

    “If we watch just one atom, waiting anxiously for it to decay, we would have to watch it for longer than the age of the universe. To win this game, we have to increase the mass we are watching,” said Vincent Guiseppe, co-spokesperson of the Majorana Collaboration and a research staff member at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Majorana used 30 kilograms of an enriched isotope of germanium in its detector; the next-generation experiment, called LEGEND-200, will use 200 kilograms.

    2
    Guiseppe explains how layers of shielding protect the detectors from background “noise,” such as trace amounts of dust and radiation. Photo by Nick Hubbard

    LEGEND-200, the Large Enriched Germanium Experiment for Neutrinoless ββ Decay, will be built beneath the mountains of Italy at Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS). To create the next phase of this international rare-event search, members of the Majorana collaboration joined with GERDA, another neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment using the same enriched isotope of germanium at LNGS, and other researchers.

    2

    While still taking valuable physics data, Majorana is pivoting to a new purpose: testing the detectors that will be used in LEGEND-200. This new use is one reason for the shield’s long-awaited opening. Researchers will replace five of Majorana’s detectors with four newly fabricated detectors for LEGEND-200.

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

    To create the next phase of this international rare-event search, members of the Majorana collaboration joined with GERDA, another neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment using the same enriched isotope of germanium at LNGS, and other researchers.

    MPG GERmanium Detector Array (GERDA) at Gran Sasso, Italy

    Each detector is unique. Grown as crystals through a process called “pulling,” each has a slightly different height and diameter. By running tests underground and inserting the detectors into Majorana, researchers will better understand their performance in LEGEND-200.

    “Majorana is the lowest background environment we have,” said John Wilkerson, principal investigator for Majorana and U.S. principal investigator for LEGEND-200. “By installing them inside, we can further characterize the detectors, while also increasing our total physics data taken before Majorana is decommissioned.”

    Opening the shield was a week-long event. Researchers removed an outer 12-inch layer of heavy plastic, then slowly drew back an entire wall of the shield. The section that was removed included a module holding 22 kilograms of suspended germanium, 7 tons of lead and copper shielding and countless pieces of connectivity hardware. This interconnected equipment was air-skated to the opposite side of the laboratory.

    “The process of removing the wall took about half a morning,” Guiseppe said. “We had to move it incredibly slowly, so the detectors aren’t damaged.”

    On the other side of the lab space, the module was fitted inside a glove box. There, researchers removed five Majorana detectors and will soon replace them with four LEGEND-200 detectors. When the swap is complete, the detector module will be sealed up once again.

    3
    Inside a glovebox, Majorana’s germanium detectors hang suspended from an open cryostat module. Five of these detectors will be swapped with four newly-fabricated detectors for LEGEND-200. Photo by Nick Hubbard

    “This is the only time you can give each detector the TLC it needs to really understand its performance. Once you put them into the LEGEND-200 array, we will be operating all of them at once. Now is the time to get individualized information,” Guiseppe said. The opening also allowed the team to make upgrades to connectivity hardware.

    In addition to testing detectors, Majorana will provide ultra-pure copper and 35 enriched germanium detectors for 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.


    Majorana Demonstrator tests detectors for LEGEND-200

    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.”

     
  • richardmitnick 11:57 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "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 earth’s hot rocks., The testbed on the 4100 Level will focus on hydraulic shearing: opening natural preexisting fractures in the rock.   

    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.

    1
    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.”

    2
    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.

    3
    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.”

    4
    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 .


    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.”

     
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