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  • richardmitnick 3:55 pm on November 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From SURF: “LZ acrylic tanks face tight squeeze underground” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    November 20, 2017
    Constance Walter

    1
    John Keefner and Markus Horn, research scientist, move a device designed to carry acrylic tanks to the Davis Cavern. Matthew Kapust

    When designing an experiment that needs to go underground, scientists and engineers face unique logistical challenges. That’s the case with the LUX-ZEPLIN, a second-generation dark matter detector that will replace the Large Underground Xenon experiment (LUX) on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab.

    LBNL Lux Zeplin project at SURF

    One upgrade to the design is so large, a transport exercise was devised to ensure the components would fit through the narrow corridor in the Davis Campus. LZ will be surrounded by six acrylic tanks filled with a liquid scintillator, or veto system. Four of the tanks stand 13 feet high and weigh well over a ton each—empty. Each will fit tightly around the sides of the xenon-filled cryostat The other two are circular and will fit tightly against the top and bottom of the cryostat. Getting all six to their destination is a tall order.

    2
    This rendering depicts the acrylic tanks (green and red) that are part of the veto system for the LZ dark matter detector. No image credit.

    “These tanks are such big objects, they won’t fit inside the cage and we can’t guarantee there will be a clear path to the Davis Cavern,” said John Keefner, underground operations engineer. “If we need to make changes, we need to know that now so adjustments can be made to the design.”

    The tanks won’t fit inside the cage, so they need to be slung below it. Engineers built a large rotary-style cart that will be used to transport the tanks and maneuver them through tight spots; however, before trying to move the tanks, they needed to do a dry run, which included moving the cart to the Davis Campus.

    Keefner called on the expertise of the Yates Shaft crews, including rope technician Rick Tinnell and infrastructure technicians Neil Engle, Casey Schaff, Dick Goetz and Dustin Mund. The team worked together to sling the device below the cage, then slowly transported it to the 4850 Level, watching through a small hole in the bottom of the cage to ensure the device did not hit the shaft walls.

    3
    Rick Tinnell and Dustin Mund prepare the device to lower it down the Ross Shaft.

    “That part went really well,” Keefner said. “The guys had to do a lot of work upfront and attach the ropes carefully to make sure the device hung correctly below the cage and make sure it didn’t hit the walls of the shaft. The guys did a great job.”

    Once on the 4850 Level, the device was wheeled into the Davis Campus with little trouble—unless you count the near-encounters with a low-hanging pipe and the Majorana gowning anteroom.

    “We learned two things from this exercise,” Keefner said. “We can get the device in with about an inch to spare. And we need to improve the rotating mechanism.”

    4
    Markus Horn and John Keefner at the Davis Cavern with the test device.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    About us.
    The Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, advances our understanding of the universe by providing laboratory space deep underground, where sensitive physics experiments can be shielded from cosmic radiation. Researchers at the Sanford Lab explore some of the most challenging questions facing 21st century physics, such as the origin of matter, the nature of dark matter and the properties of neutrinos. The facility also hosts experiments in other disciplines—including geology, biology and engineering.

    The Sanford Lab is located at the former Homestake gold mine, which was a physics landmark long before being converted into a dedicated science facility. Nuclear chemist Ray Davis earned a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for a solar neutrino experiment he installed 4,850 feet underground in the mine.

    Homestake closed in 2003, but the company donated the property to South Dakota in 2006 for use as an underground laboratory. That same year, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $70 million to the project. The South Dakota Legislature also created the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to operate the lab. The state Legislature has committed more than $40 million in state funds to the project, and South Dakota also obtained a $10 million Community Development Block Grant to help rehabilitate the facility.

    In 2007, after the National Science Foundation named Homestake as the preferred site for a proposed national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) began reopening the former gold mine.

    In December 2010, the National Science Board decided not to fund further design of DUSEL. However, in 2011 the Department of Energy, through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agreed to support ongoing science operations at Sanford Lab, while investigating how to use the underground research facility for other longer-term experiments. The SDSTA, which owns Sanford Lab, continues to operate the facility under that agreement with Berkeley Lab.

    The first two major physics experiments at the Sanford Lab are 4,850 feet underground in an area called the Davis Campus, named for the late Ray Davis. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is housed in the same cavern excavated for Ray Davis’s experiment in the 1960s.
    LUX/Dark matter experiment at SURFLUX/Dark matter experiment at SURF

    In October 2013, after an initial run of 80 days, LUX was determined to be the most sensitive detector yet to search for dark matter—a mysterious, yet-to-be-detected substance thought to be the most prevalent matter in the universe. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment, also on the 4850 Level, is searching for a rare phenomenon called “neutrinoless double-beta decay” that could reveal whether subatomic particles called neutrinos can be their own antiparticle. Detection of neutrinoless double-beta decay could help determine why matter prevailed over antimatter. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment is adjacent to the original Davis cavern.

    Another major experiment, the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE)—a collaboration with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and Sanford Lab, is in the preliminary design stages. The project got a major boost last year when Congress approved and the president signed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund LBNE operations through FY 2014. Called the “next frontier of particle physics,” LBNE will follow neutrinos as they travel 800 miles through the earth, from FermiLab in Batavia, Ill., to Sanford Lab.

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

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  • richardmitnick 1:06 pm on November 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , LBNC-Long-Baseline Neutrino Committee, , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From SURF: “The LBNC encourages full momentum” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    First,

    LBNC meets at Sanford Lab
    October 30, 2017
    Constance Walter

    Last week, the Long-Baseline Neutrino Committee (LBNC) met at Sanford Lab. The committee consists of leading scientists from around the world who review the scientific, technical and managerial progress of the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility and associated Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (LBNF/DUNE).

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


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF

    The committee meets three times each year in different locations; the previous meeting was held at CERN in Switzerland. In addition to attending meetings and writing reports, committee members toured Sanford Lab’s facilities, including the underground laboratories.

    “This is an independent group of scientists who were selected for their expertise,” said Nigel Lockyer, Fermilab director, who formed the committee. “Through this process, we ensure the project remains technically sound.”

    With more than 1,000 scientists from 176 institutions and 31 countries, LBNF/DUNE is the first international mega-science project to be hosted by a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory—Fermilab. The scientific collaboration hopes to revolutionize our understanding of the role neutrinos play in the creation of the universe. Using the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility, they’ll shoot the world’s highest-intensity beam of neutrinos from Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, 800 miles straight through the earth to huge detectors deep underground at Sanford Lab.

    The LBNC is analogous to the LHCC (Large Hadron Collider Committee) and has been in existence for two years. “That committee is a successful model that has been in place for more than 20 years,” Lockyer added.

    A sister committee, the Neutrino Cost Group, reviews the management schedule and costs of the project, Lockyer said.

    The LBNC writes a report that is delivered to the various funding agencies in countries that are supporting LBNF/DUNE, including the Department of Energy and National Science Foundation in the United States, CERN in Switzerland and the United Kingdom, which recently committed $88 million to the project.

    “We’re very pleased with the way the project is going,” Lockyer said.

    Now:

    The LBNC encourages full momentum

    November 16, 2017
    Anne Heavey
    Eric James

    The Long-Baseline Neutrino Committee (LBNC) — the experts responsible for advising the Fermilab Director on LBNF’s and DUNE’s scientific, technical, and managerial progress — had an opportunity to gain first-hand impressions of the DUNE Far Detector site during their recent review of the projects, held for the first time at SURF in late October.

    SURF-Sanford Underground Research Facility

    SURF An Empty Slate


    SURF Carving New Space


    SURF Shotcreting


    SURF Bolting and Wire Mesh


    SURF Outfitting Begins


    SURF circular wooden frame was built to form a concrete ring to hold the 72,000-gallon (272,549 liters) water tank that would house the LUX dark matter detector


    SURF LUX water tank was transported in pieces and welded together in the Davis Cavern


    SURF Ground Support


    SURF Dedicated to Science


    SURF Building a Ship in a Bottle


    SURF Tight Spaces


    SURF Ready for Science


    SURF Entrance Before Outfitting


    SURF Entrance After Outfitting


    SURF Common Corridior


    SURF Davis


    SURF Davis A World Class Site


    SURF Davis a Lab Site


    U Washington LUX Xenon experiment at SURF


    SURF Before Majorana


    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    1
    LBNC and LBNF members at the 4850 level at SURF. Photo: Josh Willhite

    Josh Willhite, the LBNF Far Site Conventional Facilities Manager, guided many of the attendees on an extensive tour of the 4850 level where pre-excavation activities will begin in the next few months followed by the start of actual rock excavation in 2019. The required clunky jumpsuits, helmets and boots in no way inhibited the group’s nonstop photos, questions and smiles.

    This review marked a transition in the LBNC’s focus. With the ProtoDUNE designs largely complete and construction underway, and the DUNE Far Detector Technical Proposal and Technical Design Report (TDR) now in the crosshairs, the LBNC is largely turning its attention towards plans for the Far Detector construction.

    CERN Proto DUNE Maximillian Brice

    The LBNC commended DUNE on establishing the consortium-based structure for the Far Detector in a timely manner, considering it “a demonstration of a major step in building up the collaborative spirit.”

    The committee applauded the steady growth in the DUNE Collaboration, which now includes 176 institutions in 31 nations and “a healthy fraction of PhD Students,” and on the “significant progress” in negotiations with new prospective partners in Europe, South America and Asia.

    “Overall, the Committee was very impressed by the significant progress achieved by both LBNF and DUNE since the last LBNC review (in June at CERN),” the committee wrote. In particular, on the LBNF side, the LBNC’s report highlighted the completion of the Ross shaft refurbishment, the award of the CM/GC contract, and the imminent start of the final design phase for the Far Site Conventional Facilities. On the DUNE side, they congratulated CERN Neutrino Platform and the Collaboration on the “tremendous progress” made on the ProtoDUNE cryostats.

    A special Wednesday evening session focused on plans for the Technical Proposal and the TDR. While acknowledging that the plans are “ambitious,” the LBNC agreed with the framework that the DUNE leadership presented, recognizing that such a plan “will allow the Collaboration to maintain full momentum for developing the project in a focused and timely fashion, including the detailed construction strategies and schedules for the various components.” The group discussed the review schedule in accordance with getting final approval in late 2019 to move forward with construction of the cryostats, cryogenic systems, and detector components.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    About us.
    The Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, advances our understanding of the universe by providing laboratory space deep underground, where sensitive physics experiments can be shielded from cosmic radiation. Researchers at the Sanford Lab explore some of the most challenging questions facing 21st century physics, such as the origin of matter, the nature of dark matter and the properties of neutrinos. The facility also hosts experiments in other disciplines—including geology, biology and engineering.

    The Sanford Lab is located at the former Homestake gold mine, which was a physics landmark long before being converted into a dedicated science facility. Nuclear chemist Ray Davis earned a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for a solar neutrino experiment he installed 4,850 feet underground in the mine.

    Homestake closed in 2003, but the company donated the property to South Dakota in 2006 for use as an underground laboratory. That same year, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $70 million to the project. The South Dakota Legislature also created the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to operate the lab. The state Legislature has committed more than $40 million in state funds to the project, and South Dakota also obtained a $10 million Community Development Block Grant to help rehabilitate the facility.

    In 2007, after the National Science Foundation named Homestake as the preferred site for a proposed national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) began reopening the former gold mine.

    In December 2010, the National Science Board decided not to fund further design of DUSEL. However, in 2011 the Department of Energy, through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agreed to support ongoing science operations at Sanford Lab, while investigating how to use the underground research facility for other longer-term experiments. The SDSTA, which owns Sanford Lab, continues to operate the facility under that agreement with Berkeley Lab.

    The first two major physics experiments at the Sanford Lab are 4,850 feet underground in an area called the Davis Campus, named for the late Ray Davis. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is housed in the same cavern excavated for Ray Davis’s experiment in the 1960s.
    LUX/Dark matter experiment at SURFLUX/Dark matter experiment at SURF

    In October 2013, after an initial run of 80 days, LUX was determined to be the most sensitive detector yet to search for dark matter—a mysterious, yet-to-be-detected substance thought to be the most prevalent matter in the universe. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment, also on the 4850 Level, is searching for a rare phenomenon called “neutrinoless double-beta decay” that could reveal whether subatomic particles called neutrinos can be their own antiparticle. Detection of neutrinoless double-beta decay could help determine why matter prevailed over antimatter. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment is adjacent to the original Davis cavern.

    Another major experiment, the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE)—a collaboration with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and Sanford Lab, is in the preliminary design stages. The project got a major boost last year when Congress approved and the president signed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund LBNE operations through FY 2014. Called the “next frontier of particle physics,” LBNE will follow neutrinos as they travel 800 miles through the earth, from FermiLab in Batavia, Ill., to Sanford Lab.

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 12:55 pm on November 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility, The U Washington Majorana experiment   

    From SURF: “Deep Talks delves into MAJORANA results” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    November 3, 2017
    Contact
    Constance Walter
    Communications Director
    605.722.4025
    Contact by email

    What do the results look like and what do they mean for the experiment? For science? For Sanford Lab?

    1
    The Majorana experiment sits inside a six-layered shield. Matt Kapust

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR Collaboration recently released its first physics results at a neutrino conference. What do those results mean for the experiment? For science? For Sanford Lab?

    Join Dr. Vincente Guiseppe Thursday, Nov. 9, for “Released from the Depths: What do Majorana’s results look like and what do they mean?,” at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, 160 W. Main Street, in Lead, S.D. Guiseppe, co-spokesperson for the collaboration, will take us on a journey deep inside the Majorana experiment, explaining the collaboration’s effort to build an extremely quiet experiment that could tell us more about the origins of our universe.

    “These initial results will give us a better understanding of the always-elusive neutrino and how it shaped the universe,” Guiseppe said.

    Collaborators with the Majorana Demonstrator built their experiment on the 4850 Level of the Sanford Lab to escape cosmic radiation that constantly bombards the earth. The experiment, which uses enriched germanium crystals to look for a rare form of radioactive decay called neutrinoless double-beta decay, is further protected by a six-layered shield. The collaboration hopes to answer one of the most challenging and important questions in physics: are neutrinos their own antiparticles? If the answer is yes, we could finally learn why matter is more abundant than antimatter and why we exist at all.

    Guiseppe, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of South Carolina, oversaw the design and construction of the shield. His experimental nuclear and astroparticle physics research focuses on neutrino physics and ultra-low background experiments conducted deep underground.

    Deep Talks begins at 5 p.m. with a social hour; the talk begins at 6 p.m. Free beer from Crow Peak Brewing Company in Spearfish is available for those 21 and older. Deep Talks is sponsored by Sanford Lab, the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, Crow Peak Brewing Company and First National Bank in Lead. The event is free to the public.

    Deep Talks is a lecture series created by the Sanford Underground Research Facility and the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center. The event is held the second Thursday of each month, October through May. Deep Talks is free to the public. Donations to support community education are welcome.

    Sanford Lab is operated by the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) with funding from the Department of Energy. Our mission is to advance compelling underground, multidisciplinary research in a safe work environment and to inspire and educate through science, technology, and engineering. Visit us at http://www.SanfordLab.org.

    Visit the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center at http://sanfordlabhomestake.com

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    About us.
    The Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, advances our understanding of the universe by providing laboratory space deep underground, where sensitive physics experiments can be shielded from cosmic radiation. Researchers at the Sanford Lab explore some of the most challenging questions facing 21st century physics, such as the origin of matter, the nature of dark matter and the properties of neutrinos. The facility also hosts experiments in other disciplines—including geology, biology and engineering.

    The Sanford Lab is located at the former Homestake gold mine, which was a physics landmark long before being converted into a dedicated science facility. Nuclear chemist Ray Davis earned a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for a solar neutrino experiment he installed 4,850 feet underground in the mine.

    Homestake closed in 2003, but the company donated the property to South Dakota in 2006 for use as an underground laboratory. That same year, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $70 million to the project. The South Dakota Legislature also created the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to operate the lab. The state Legislature has committed more than $40 million in state funds to the project, and South Dakota also obtained a $10 million Community Development Block Grant to help rehabilitate the facility.

    In 2007, after the National Science Foundation named Homestake as the preferred site for a proposed national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) began reopening the former gold mine.

    In December 2010, the National Science Board decided not to fund further design of DUSEL. However, in 2011 the Department of Energy, through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agreed to support ongoing science operations at Sanford Lab, while investigating how to use the underground research facility for other longer-term experiments. The SDSTA, which owns Sanford Lab, continues to operate the facility under that agreement with Berkeley Lab.

    The first two major physics experiments at the Sanford Lab are 4,850 feet underground in an area called the Davis Campus, named for the late Ray Davis. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is housed in the same cavern excavated for Ray Davis’s experiment in the 1960s.
    LUX/Dark matter experiment at SURFLUX/Dark matter experiment at SURF

    In October 2013, after an initial run of 80 days, LUX was determined to be the most sensitive detector yet to search for dark matter—a mysterious, yet-to-be-detected substance thought to be the most prevalent matter in the universe. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment, also on the 4850 Level, is searching for a rare phenomenon called “neutrinoless double-beta decay” that could reveal whether subatomic particles called neutrinos can be their own antiparticle. Detection of neutrinoless double-beta decay could help determine why matter prevailed over antimatter. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment is adjacent to the original Davis cavern.

    Another major experiment, the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE)—a collaboration with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and Sanford Lab, is in the preliminary design stages. The project got a major boost last year when Congress approved and the president signed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund LBNE operations through FY 2014. Called the “next frontier of particle physics,” LBNE will follow neutrinos as they travel 800 miles through the earth, from FermiLab in Batavia, Ill., to Sanford Lab.

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 11:19 am on November 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From SURF: “Science Superheroes discuss dark matter, dark energy in pop culture” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    Mr. Incredible, Quailman and Jack in the Box shed light on the dark side of the universe

    October 30, 2017
    Constance Walter

    1
    Constance Walter, communications director at Sanford Lab, introduces panelists (from left), James Haiston Jr., Michael Dowding and Jack Genovesi, all from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. Matthew Kapust

    Last night, three science superheroes from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SD Mines) made an appearance during Sanford Lab’s Dark Matter Day. Although they don’t fight crime, they do everything in their power to shed light on the role dark matter and dark energy play in the universe.

    In their panel discussion “Shedding light on dark matter and dark energy,” SD Mines physics lecturer Michael Dowding, aka Mr. Incredible, along with fellow science superheroes and SD Mines Ph.D. students James Haiston Jr., aka Quailman, and Jack Genovesi, aka Jack in the Box, discussed the dark side of the universe—and, perhaps more importantly, the role it plays in popular culture.

    Genovesi started the discussion by first identifying scientific terms associated with the search for dark matter, including WIMPs and Axions, both candidates for dark matter particles. Still, Genovesi said, “We don’t know what dark matter is. That’s why we’re here, right?”

    After a brief introduction to dark matter and dark energy, Dowding delved into pop culture.

    “Dark matter and dark energy have both been used in numerous works as plot devices in video games, TV shows, movies and literature,” Dowding said. “Both have been included in everything from outlandish technologies, aka technobabble, fuel or power sources, as well as magical influences.”

    Dark matter and dark energy make up roughly 95 percent of the universe, yet we know very little about them. Which could be what makes them such a great topic for popular culture, Dowding said.

    Although we can’t see these elusive particles, scientists know they exist because of the way they act on the universe—dark matter can be thought of as the glue that holds galaxies together, while dark energy is a force that pushes things apart.

    “Everything we know about the universe—regular matter and energy—accounts for a fraction of the universe,” said Dowding.

    Haiston closed the discussion with an overview of the many dark matter experiments going on around the world, including the LUX and LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter experiments.

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

    LBNL Lux Zeplin project at SURF

    “Where there is science, there is technology,” Haiston said. “Almost every luxury of the first world is provided by scientific findings and the useful application of technology.”

    More than 60 people attended the event. The prize for best costume went to Nancy Geary, who received a $25 gift certificate to the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center.

    Sanford Lab’s Dark Matter Day, held at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center in Lead, was sponsored by Matt Klein, Century 21 Associated Realty of Deadwood and Dakota Shivers Brewing in Lead.

    For more information about Dark Matter Day events around the world, go to http://www.darkmatterday.com

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    About us.
    The Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, advances our understanding of the universe by providing laboratory space deep underground, where sensitive physics experiments can be shielded from cosmic radiation. Researchers at the Sanford Lab explore some of the most challenging questions facing 21st century physics, such as the origin of matter, the nature of dark matter and the properties of neutrinos. The facility also hosts experiments in other disciplines—including geology, biology and engineering.

    The Sanford Lab is located at the former Homestake gold mine, which was a physics landmark long before being converted into a dedicated science facility. Nuclear chemist Ray Davis earned a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for a solar neutrino experiment he installed 4,850 feet underground in the mine.

    Homestake closed in 2003, but the company donated the property to South Dakota in 2006 for use as an underground laboratory. That same year, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $70 million to the project. The South Dakota Legislature also created the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to operate the lab. The state Legislature has committed more than $40 million in state funds to the project, and South Dakota also obtained a $10 million Community Development Block Grant to help rehabilitate the facility.

    In 2007, after the National Science Foundation named Homestake as the preferred site for a proposed national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) began reopening the former gold mine.

    In December 2010, the National Science Board decided not to fund further design of DUSEL. However, in 2011 the Department of Energy, through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agreed to support ongoing science operations at Sanford Lab, while investigating how to use the underground research facility for other longer-term experiments. The SDSTA, which owns Sanford Lab, continues to operate the facility under that agreement with Berkeley Lab.

    The first two major physics experiments at the Sanford Lab are 4,850 feet underground in an area called the Davis Campus, named for the late Ray Davis. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is housed in the same cavern excavated for Ray Davis’s experiment in the 1960s.
    LUX/Dark matter experiment at SURFLUX/Dark matter experiment at SURF

    In October 2013, after an initial run of 80 days, LUX was determined to be the most sensitive detector yet to search for dark matter—a mysterious, yet-to-be-detected substance thought to be the most prevalent matter in the universe. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment, also on the 4850 Level, is searching for a rare phenomenon called “neutrinoless double-beta decay” that could reveal whether subatomic particles called neutrinos can be their own antiparticle. Detection of neutrinoless double-beta decay could help determine why matter prevailed over antimatter. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment is adjacent to the original Davis cavern.

    Another major experiment, the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE)—a collaboration with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and Sanford Lab, is in the preliminary design stages. The project got a major boost last year when Congress approved and the president signed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund LBNE operations through FY 2014. Called the “next frontier of particle physics,” LBNE will follow neutrinos as they travel 800 miles through the earth, from FermiLab in Batavia, Ill., to Sanford Lab.

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 9:38 am on October 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , New Life Found That Lives Off Electricity, , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility, The electricity-eating microbes that the researchers were hunting for belong to a larger class of organisms that scientists are only beginning to understand   

    From Quanta: “New Life Found That Lives Off Electricity” 

    Quanta Magazine
    Quanta Magazine

    June 21, 2016 [Just found in social media. Where has it been?]
    Emily Singer

    1
    Yamini Jangir and Moh El-Naggar

    Last year, biophysicist Moh El-Naggar and his graduate student Yamini Jangir plunged beneath South Dakota’s Black Hills into an old gold mine that is now more famous as a home to a dark matter detector.

    2
    A bottom-up view inside the Large Underground Xenon dark matter experiment, which is located a mile beneath the surface in the Black Hills of South Dakota. LUX Dark Matter.

    Unlike most scientists who make pilgrimages to the Black Hills these days, El-Naggar and Jangir weren’t there to hunt for subatomic particles. They came in search of life.

    In the darkness found a mile underground, the pair traversed the mine’s network of passages in search of a rusty metal pipe. They siphoned some of the pipe’s ancient water, directed it into a vessel, and inserted a variety of electrodes. They hoped the current would lure their prey, a little-studied microbe that can live off pure electricity.

    The electricity-eating microbes that the researchers were hunting for belong to a larger class of organisms that scientists are only beginning to understand. They inhabit largely uncharted worlds: the bubbling cauldrons of deep sea vents; mineral-rich veins deep beneath the planet’s surface; ocean sediments just a few inches below the deep seafloor. The microbes represent a segment of life that has been largely ignored, in part because their strange habitats make them incredibly difficult to grow in the lab.

    Yet early surveys suggest a potential microbial bounty. A recent sampling of microbes collected from the seafloor near Catalina Island, off the coast of Southern California, uncovered a surprising variety of microbes that consume or shed electrons by eating or breathing minerals or metals. El-Naggar’s team is still analyzing their gold mine data, but he says that their initial results echo the Catalina findings. Thus far, whenever scientists search for these electron eaters in the right locations — places that have lots of minerals but not a lot of oxygen — they find them.

    As the tally of electron eaters grows, scientists are beginning to figure out just how they work. How does a microbe consume electrons out of a piece of metal, or deposit them back into the environment when it is finished with them? A study published last year revealed the way that one of these microbes catches and consumes its electrical prey. And not-yet-published work suggests that some metal eaters transport electrons directly across their membranes — a feat once thought impossible.

    The Rock Eaters

    Though eating electricity seems bizarre, the flow of current is central to life. All organisms require a source of electrons to make and store energy. They must also be able to shed electrons once their job is done. In describing this bare-bones view of life, Nobel Prize-winning physiologist Albert Szent-Györgyi once said, “Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest.”

    Humans and many other organisms get electrons from food and expel them with our breath. The microbes that El-Naggar and others are trying to grow belong to a group called lithoautotrophs, or rock eaters, which harvest energy from inorganic substances such as iron, sulfur or manganese. Under the right conditions, they can survive solely on electricity.

    The microbes’ apparent ability to ingest electrons — known as direct electron transfer — is particularly intriguing because it seems to defy the basic rules of biophysics. The fatty membranes that enclose cells act as an insulator, creating an electrically neutral zone once thought impossible for an electron to cross. “No one wanted to believe that a bacterium would take an electron from inside of the cell and move it to the outside,” said Kenneth Nealson, a geobiologist at the University of Southern California, in a lecture to the Society for Applied Microbiology in London last year.


    Ken Nealson – Environmental Microbiology Annual Lecture 2015: Extracellular electron transport (EET): opening new windows of metabolic opportunity for microbes.
    For more information about Environmental Microbiology
    visit http://goo.gl/7ZJOc6 For more information about Environmental Microbiology Reports
    visit http://goo.gl/NBdORV

    3
    Lucy Reading-Ikkanda/Quanta Magazine

    In the 1980s, Nealson and others discovered a surprising group of bacteria that can expel electrons directly onto solid minerals. It took until 2006 to discover the molecular mechanism behind this feat: A trio of specialized proteins [PubMed] sits in the cell membrane, forming a conductive bridge that transfers electrons to the outside of cell. (Scientists still debate whether the electrons traverse the entire distance of the membrane unescorted.)

    Inspired by the electron-donators, scientists began to wonder whether microbes could also do the reverse and directly ingest electrons as a source of energy. Researchers focused their search on a group of microbes called methanogens, which are known for making methane. Most methanogens aren’t strict metal eaters. But in 2009, Bruce Logan, an environmental engineer at Pennsylvania State University, and collaborators showed for the first time that a methanogen could survive using only energy from an electrode [PubMed]. The researchers proposed that the microbes were directly sucking up electrons, perhaps via a molecular bridge similar to the ones the electron-producers use to shuttle electrons across the cell wall. But they lacked direct proof.

    Then last year, Alfred Spormann, a microbiologist at Stanford University, and collaborators poked a hole in Logan’s theory. They uncovered a way [PubMed] that these organisms can survive on electrodes without eating naked electrons.

    The microbe Spormann studied, Methanococcus maripaludis, excretes an enzyme that sits on the electrode’s surface. The enzyme pairs an electron from the electrode with a proton from water to create a hydrogen atom, which is a well-established food source among methanogens. “Rather than having a conductive pathway, they use an enzyme,” said Daniel Bond, a microbiologist at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. “They don’t need to build a bridge out of conductive materials.”

    Though the microbes aren’t eating naked electrons, the results are surprising in their own right. Most enzymes work best inside the cell and rapidly degrade outside. “What’s unique is how stable the enzymes are when they [gather on] the surface of the electrode,” Spormann said. Past experiments suggest these enzymes are active outside the cell for only a few hours, “but we showed they are active for six weeks.”

    Spormann and others still believe that methanogens and other microbes can directly suck up electricity, however. “This is an alternative mechanism to direct electron transfer, it doesn’t mean direct electron transfer can’t exist,” said Largus Angenent, an environmental engineer at Cornell University, and president of the International Society for Microbial Electrochemistry and Technology. Spormann said his team has already found a microbe capable of taking in naked electrons. But they haven’t yet published the details.

    Microbes on Mars

    Only a tiny fraction — perhaps 2 percent — of all the planet’s microorganisms can be grown in the lab. Scientists hope that these new approaches — growing microbes on electrodes rather than in traditional culture systems — will provide a way to study many of the microbes that have been so far impossible to cultivate.

    “Using electrodes as proxies for minerals has helped us open and expand this field,” said Annette Rowe, a postdoctoral researcher at USC working with El-Naggar. “Now we have a way to grow the bacteria and monitor their respiration and really have a look at their physiology.”

    Rowe has already had some success.

    In 2013, she went on a microbe prospecting trip to the iron-rich sediments that surround California’s Catalina Island. She identified at least 30 new varieties [PubMed]of electric microbes in a study published last year. “They are from very diverse groups of microbes that are quite common in marine systems,” Rowe said. Before her experiment, no one knew these microbes could take up electrons from an inorganic substrate, she said. “That’s something we weren’t expecting.”

    Just as fishermen use different lures to attract different fish, Rowe set the electrodes to different voltages to draw out a rich diversity of microbes. She knew when she had a catch because the current changed — metal eaters generate a negative current, as the microbes suck electrons from the negative electrode.

    3
    Yamini Jangir, then a graduate student in Moh El-Naggar’s lab at the University of Southern California, collects water from a pipe at the Sanford Underground Research Facility nearly a mile underground. Connie A. Walter and Matt Kapust

    SURF-Sanford Underground Research Facility


    SURF Above Ground

    SURF Out with the Old


    SURF An Empty Slate


    SURF Carving New Space


    SURF Shotcreting


    SURF Bolting and Wire Mesh


    SURF Outfitting Begins


    SURF circular wooden frame was built to form a concrete ring to hold the 72,000-gallon (272,549 liters) water tank that would house the LUX dark matter detector


    SURF LUX water tank was transported in pieces and welded together in the Davis Cavern


    SURF Ground Support


    SURF Dedicated to Science


    SURF Building a Ship in a Bottle


    SURF Tight Spaces


    SURF Ready for Science


    SURF Entrance Before Outfitting


    SURF Entrance After Outfitting


    SURF Common Corridior


    SURF Davis


    SURF Davis A World Class Site


    SURF Davis a Lab Site


    SURF DUNE LBNF Caverns at Sanford Lab


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


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford


    U Washington LUX Xenon experiment at SURF


    SURF Before Majorana


    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    The different varieties of bacteria that Rowe collected thrive under different electrical conditions, suggesting they employ different strategies for eating electrons. “Each bacteria had a different energy level where electron uptake would happen,” Rowe said. “We think that is indicative of different pathways.”

    Rowe is now searching new environments for additional microbes, focusing on fluids from a deep spring with low acidity. She’s also helping with El-Naggar’s gold mine expedition. “We are trying to understand how life works under these conditions,” said El-Naggar. “We now know that life goes far deeper than we thought, and there’s a lot more than we thought, but we don’t have a good idea for how they are surviving.”

    El-Naggar emphasizes that the field is still in its infancy, likening the current state to the early days of neuroscience, when researchers poked at frogs with electrodes to make their muscles twitch. “It took a long time for the basic mechanistic stuff to come out,” he said. “It’s only been 30 years since we discovered that microbes can interact with solid surfaces.”

    Given the bounty from these early experiments, it seems that scientists have only scratched the surface of the microbial diversity that thrives beneath the planet’s shallow exterior. The results could give clues to the origins of life on Earth and beyond. One theory for the emergence of life suggests it originated on mineral surfaces, which could have concentrated biological molecules and catalyzed reactions. New research could fill in one of the theory’s gaps — a mechanism for transporting electrons from mineral surfaces into cells.

    Moreover, subsurface metal eaters may provide a blueprint for life on other worlds, where alien microbes might be hidden beneath the planet’s shallow exterior. “For me, one of the most exciting possibilities is finding life-forms that might survive in extreme environments like Mars,” said El-Naggar, whose gold mine experiment is funded by NASA’s Astrobiology Institute. Mars, for example, is iron-rich and has water flowing beneath its surface. “If you have a system that can pick up electrons from iron and have some water, then you have all the ingredients for a conceivable metabolism,” said El-Naggar. Perhaps a former mine a mile underneath South Dakota won’t be the most surprising place that researchers find electron-eating life.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Formerly known as Simons Science News, Quanta Magazine is an editorially independent online publication launched by the Simons Foundation to enhance public understanding of science. Why Quanta? Albert Einstein called photons “quanta of light.” Our goal is to “illuminate science.” At Quanta Magazine, scientific accuracy is every bit as important as telling a good story. All of our articles are meticulously researched, reported, edited, copy-edited and fact-checked.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:45 am on October 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , LZ- LUX-ZEPLIN experiment, , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From SURF: “LZ team installs detector in water tank” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    October 16, 2017
    Constance Walter

    1
    Sally Shaw, a post-doc with the University of California Santa Barbara, poses next to the sodium iodide detector recently installed inside the water tank. Courtesy photo.

    The huge water tank that for four years housed the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter detector now stands empty. A small sign over the opening that reads, “Danger! Confined space,” bars physical entry, but a solitary note sung by Michael Gaylor, a science professor from Dakota State University, once jumped that barrier and reverberated for 35.4 seconds.

    Starting this week, the tank will be filled with the sounds of collaboration members installing a small detector that will be used to measure radioactivity in the cavern. It’s all part of the plan to build and install the much larger, second-generation dark matter detector, LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ).

    LBNL Lux Zeplin project at SURF

    “We need to pin down the background event rate to better shield our experiment,” said Sally Shaw, a post doc form from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).

    The detector, a 5-inch by 5-inch cylinder of sodium iodide, will be placed inside the water tank and surrounded by 8 inches of lead bricks. The crystal will be covered on all sides except one, which will be left bare to measure the gamma rays that are produced when things like thorium, uranium and potassium decay. Over the next two weeks, the team will change the position of the detector five times to determine the directionality of the gamma rays.

    Scott Haselschwardt, a graduate student at UCSB, said this is especially important because there is a rhyolite intrusion that runs below the tank and up the west wall of the cavern.

    “This rock is more radioactive than other types of rock, so it can create more backgrounds,” he said. This wasn’t a problem for LUX, Haselschwardt said, but it was smaller than LZ and, therefore, surrounded by more ultra-pure water.

    But LZ is 10 times larger and still must fit inside the same tank, potentially exposing it to more of the radiation that naturally occurs within the rock cavern. And while this radiation is harmless to humans, it can wreak havoc on highly sensitive experiments like LZ.

    “Because it is so much closer to the edges of the water tank, there was a proposal to put in extra shielding—perhaps a lead ring at the bottom of the tank to shield the experiment,” Shaw said.

    Like its much smaller cousin, LZ hopes to find WIMPs, weakly interacting massive particles. Every component must be tested to ensure it is free of any backgrounds, including more than 500 photomultiplier tubes, the titanium for the cryostat and the liquid scintillator that will surround the xenon container. But if the backgrounds emanating from the walls of the cavern are too high, it won’t matter.

    “The whole point is to see whether the lead needs to be used in the design of the shield,” said Umit Utku, a graduate student at University College in London. “Maybe we will realize we don’t need it.”

    Shaw, who created a design for lead shielding within the tank, said it’s critical to fully understand the backgrounds now.

    “If we do need extra shielding, we must adjust the plans before installation of the experiment begins,” she said.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    About us.
    The Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, advances our understanding of the universe by providing laboratory space deep underground, where sensitive physics experiments can be shielded from cosmic radiation. Researchers at the Sanford Lab explore some of the most challenging questions facing 21st century physics, such as the origin of matter, the nature of dark matter and the properties of neutrinos. The facility also hosts experiments in other disciplines—including geology, biology and engineering.

    The Sanford Lab is located at the former Homestake gold mine, which was a physics landmark long before being converted into a dedicated science facility. Nuclear chemist Ray Davis earned a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for a solar neutrino experiment he installed 4,850 feet underground in the mine.

    Homestake closed in 2003, but the company donated the property to South Dakota in 2006 for use as an underground laboratory. That same year, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $70 million to the project. The South Dakota Legislature also created the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to operate the lab. The state Legislature has committed more than $40 million in state funds to the project, and South Dakota also obtained a $10 million Community Development Block Grant to help rehabilitate the facility.

    In 2007, after the National Science Foundation named Homestake as the preferred site for a proposed national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) began reopening the former gold mine.

    In December 2010, the National Science Board decided not to fund further design of DUSEL. However, in 2011 the Department of Energy, through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agreed to support ongoing science operations at Sanford Lab, while investigating how to use the underground research facility for other longer-term experiments. The SDSTA, which owns Sanford Lab, continues to operate the facility under that agreement with Berkeley Lab.

    The first two major physics experiments at the Sanford Lab are 4,850 feet underground in an area called the Davis Campus, named for the late Ray Davis. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is housed in the same cavern excavated for Ray Davis’s experiment in the 1960s.
    LUX/Dark matter experiment at SURFLUX/Dark matter experiment at SURF

    In October 2013, after an initial run of 80 days, LUX was determined to be the most sensitive detector yet to search for dark matter—a mysterious, yet-to-be-detected substance thought to be the most prevalent matter in the universe. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment, also on the 4850 Level, is searching for a rare phenomenon called “neutrinoless double-beta decay” that could reveal whether subatomic particles called neutrinos can be their own antiparticle. Detection of neutrinoless double-beta decay could help determine why matter prevailed over antimatter. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment is adjacent to the original Davis cavern.

    Another major experiment, the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE)—a collaboration with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and Sanford Lab, is in the preliminary design stages. The project got a major boost last year when Congress approved and the president signed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund LBNE operations through FY 2014. Called the “next frontier of particle physics,” LBNE will follow neutrinos as they travel 800 miles through the earth, from FermiLab in Batavia, Ill., to Sanford Lab.

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 2:17 pm on September 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , EGS Collab- Enhanced Geothermal Systems Collaboration, , Listening to the Earth to harness geothermal energy, SIGMA-V, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From SURF: “Listening to the Earth to harness geothermal energy “ 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    September 25, 2017
    Constance Walter

    Geothermal energy has the potential to power 100 million homes in America.

    1
    Hunter Knox and Bill Roggenthen from South Dakota School of Mines lower sensors down a set of holes that were drilled for the kISMET experiment. Matthew Kapust

    As a geophysicist, Hunter Knox has worked all over the world testing bridges, dams and levees, and listening to the sounds of the earth. She even peered into the center of the earth from a volcano in Antarctica at an open connecting lake.

    “I’m a seismologist. It’s what I do.”

    Now, the field coordinator from Sandia National Laboratory (SNL), is setting her sights on Sanford Lab’s 4850 Level, where she’s planning the logistics for SIGMA-V, a project under the auspices of the Enhanced Geothermal Systems Collaboration (EGS Collab).

    Led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the EGS Collab recently received a $9 million grant from the Department of Energy to study geothermal systems. It is believed this clean-energy technology could power up to 100 million American homes.

    But before that can happen, more studies need to be done.

    “We need to better understand how fractures created in deep, hard-rock environments can be used to produce geothermal energy,” Knox said.

    Building on data collected from the recent kISMET experiment at Sanford Lab, the collaboration hopes to expand its understanding of the rock stress and incorporate additional equipment to meet the needs of EGS technology.

    “A typical geothermal system mines heat from the earth by extracting steam or hot water,” said Tim Kneafsey, principal investigator for EGS Collab and a staff earth scientist with LBNL. But for that to happen, three things are needed: hot rock, fluid and the ability for fluid to move through rock.

    “These conditions are not met everywhere,” Kneafsey said. “There is a lot of accessible hot rock, but it may be missing the permeability or fluid or both.”

    “We know fracturing rock can be done. But can it be effective for geothermal purposes? We need good, well-monitored field tests of fracturing, particularly in crystalline rock, to better understand that,” he said.

    That’s where SIGMA-V—or Stimulation Investigations for Geothermal Modeling and Analysis—comes in. “SIGMA-V is shorthand for vertical stress,” Kneafsey said.

    The goal of the project is to collect data that will allow the team to create better predictive and geomechanic models that will allow them to better understand the subsurface of the earth. The team will drill two boreholes: one for injection and one for production. Each will be 60 meters long in the direction of the minimum horizontal stress. Six additional monitoring boreholes will contain seismic, electrical and fiber optic sensors.

    When the holes are drilled, the team will place “straddle packers”—a mandrel, or pipe, with two deflated balloons on either end—inside them. Once inside, they will inflate the balloons and flow water down the pipe to create an airtight section. They will continue to pump water until the rock fractures and use the monitoring equipment to listen for acoustic emissions, the sounds that will tell them what is happening within the rock.

    “One of the problems with EGS is that it is difficult to maintain the fracture network,” Knox said. “Since the boreholes are hard to drill in these hot and very hard rocks and the fracture networks can’t be sustained, it is challenging to maintain an adequate heat exchanger to pull the energy out. We want to figure out how to maintain these networks so we can use the heat for energy.”

    And so, she’ll continue to listen to the rock nearly a mile underground and, perhaps, learn the secret to using it for geothermal energy.

    Forging ahead

    Data collected from SIGMA-V will be applied toward the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE), a flagship DOE geothermal project, Kneafsey said. FORGE aims to develop technologies needed to create large-scale, economically sustainable heat exchange systems, thus paving the way for a reproducible approach that will reduce risks associated with EGS development.

    The two FORGE sites are in Fallon, Nevada, which is led by Sandia National Laboratories; and Milford, Utah, led by the University of Utah. The FORGE initiative will include innovative drilling techniques, reservoir stimulation techniques and well connectivity and flow-testing efforts.

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

    Some information for this article was provided by LBNL: http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2017/07/20/berkeley-lab-lead-multimillion-dollar-geothermal-energy-project/

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    About us.
    The Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, advances our understanding of the universe by providing laboratory space deep underground, where sensitive physics experiments can be shielded from cosmic radiation. Researchers at the Sanford Lab explore some of the most challenging questions facing 21st century physics, such as the origin of matter, the nature of dark matter and the properties of neutrinos. The facility also hosts experiments in other disciplines—including geology, biology and engineering.

    The Sanford Lab is located at the former Homestake gold mine, which was a physics landmark long before being converted into a dedicated science facility. Nuclear chemist Ray Davis earned a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for a solar neutrino experiment he installed 4,850 feet underground in the mine.

    Homestake closed in 2003, but the company donated the property to South Dakota in 2006 for use as an underground laboratory. That same year, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $70 million to the project. The South Dakota Legislature also created the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to operate the lab. The state Legislature has committed more than $40 million in state funds to the project, and South Dakota also obtained a $10 million Community Development Block Grant to help rehabilitate the facility.

    In 2007, after the National Science Foundation named Homestake as the preferred site for a proposed national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) began reopening the former gold mine.

    In December 2010, the National Science Board decided not to fund further design of DUSEL. However, in 2011 the Department of Energy, through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agreed to support ongoing science operations at Sanford Lab, while investigating how to use the underground research facility for other longer-term experiments. The SDSTA, which owns Sanford Lab, continues to operate the facility under that agreement with Berkeley Lab.

    The first two major physics experiments at the Sanford Lab are 4,850 feet underground in an area called the Davis Campus, named for the late Ray Davis. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is housed in the same cavern excavated for Ray Davis’s experiment in the 1960s.
    LUX/Dark matter experiment at SURFLUX/Dark matter experiment at SURF

    In October 2013, after an initial run of 80 days, LUX was determined to be the most sensitive detector yet to search for dark matter—a mysterious, yet-to-be-detected substance thought to be the most prevalent matter in the universe. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment, also on the 4850 Level, is searching for a rare phenomenon called “neutrinoless double-beta decay” that could reveal whether subatomic particles called neutrinos can be their own antiparticle. Detection of neutrinoless double-beta decay could help determine why matter prevailed over antimatter. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment is adjacent to the original Davis cavern.

    Another major experiment, the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE)—a collaboration with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and Sanford Lab, is in the preliminary design stages. The project got a major boost last year when Congress approved and the president signed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund LBNE operations through FY 2014. Called the “next frontier of particle physics,” LBNE will follow neutrinos as they travel 800 miles through the earth, from FermiLab in Batavia, Ill., to Sanford Lab.

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 9:17 am on September 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , LEGEND 200, Majorana demonstrator, , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From SURF: “Majorana Demonstrator: Preparing to scale up” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    September 11, 2017
    Constance Walter

    1
    John Wilkerson (left) and Cabot-Ann Christofferson work on the systems for the Majorana experiment, which sits inside a six-layered shield to block backgrounds. Photo by Matt Kapust

    For years, the Majorana Demonstrator laboratories and machine shop bustled with activity. Dozens of collaboration members worked on various elements of the experiment— from electroforming copper to building a shield to machining every component for the detectors and cryostats. Today, nestled deep within its six-layered shield, Majorana quietly collects data with just a handful of team members to ensure things are working.

    “We’ve made the transition from managing construction to overseeing an operation,” said Vince Guiseppe, assistant professor of physics at the University of South Carolina. “Since the winter, we’ve been running smoothly.”

    The Majorana Demonstrator uses natural and enriched germanium crystals to look for neutrinoless double-beta decay. Such a discovery could determine whether the neutrino is its own antiparticle.

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    But the project is, first and foremost, a demonstrator, a research and development project built on a small scale to determine whether a 1-ton version is feasible, said Steve Elliott of Los Alamos National Laboratory. “For it to be feasible, we have to show that backgrounds can be low enough to justify building such a next-generation experiment.”

    Which Majorana has done, Guiseppe said. “We’ve only been running for about a year and we appear to be meeting those goals. Our backgrounds are excellent.”

    Guiseppe recently became a co-spokesperson for the project, along with Jason Detwiler of the University of Washington. The two replace Elliott, who will become co-spokesperson for LEGEND, the recently formed collaboration that will develop a much larger next-generation neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment

    The Large Enriched Germanium Experiment for Neutrinoless ββ Decay, or LEGEND, collaboration was formed a year ago and includes members of the Majorana Demonstrator collaboration, the GERDA (GERmanium Detector Array) collaboration, and other researchers in this field.

    3
    The GERDA experiment has been proposed in 2004 as a new 76Ge double-beta decay experiment at LNGS. The GERDA installation is a facility with germanium detectors made out of isotopically enriched material. The detectors are operated inside a liquid argon shield. The experiment is located in Hall A of LNGS.

    GERDA and Majorana are searching for the same thing, but they’ve used different technologies to reach their goals. For example, where Majorana used electroformed copper and built a complicated six-layered shield to keep backgrounds out, GERDA used commercial copper and shielded its detector inside a tank of liquid argon, which scintillates, or lights up, when backgrounds enter.

    And both are seeing what they hoped to see: low backgrounds. “They’ve done a lot of nice things, we’ve done a lot of nice things and there are some things we both did very well.” Guiseppe said. “And we’ve both demonstrated we can get the backgrounds we want. LEGEND will take the best features of each experiment.”

    The LEGEND collaboration wants to scale up to 1,000 kg of enriched germanium. By comparison, Majorana and GERDA each use approximately 30 kg in their experiments. But the plan is to start smaller, with a 200-kg experiment.

    “LEGEND 200 will be the first incarnation and will be the roadmap to get to the ton-scale experiment,” Guiseppe said.

    “The good news is we have a great collaboration with great people. We have a common vision and design and funding plans are moving forward. This is not something one of us can do alone. It’s important to have international partners.”

    Although he’s looking to the future, Guiseppe remains focused on the here and now. “Both GERDA and Majorana have to complete their life cycles,” he said. “And there’s still a lot we can learn from running our current experiments.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    About us.
    The Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, advances our understanding of the universe by providing laboratory space deep underground, where sensitive physics experiments can be shielded from cosmic radiation. Researchers at the Sanford Lab explore some of the most challenging questions facing 21st century physics, such as the origin of matter, the nature of dark matter and the properties of neutrinos. The facility also hosts experiments in other disciplines—including geology, biology and engineering.

    The Sanford Lab is located at the former Homestake gold mine, which was a physics landmark long before being converted into a dedicated science facility. Nuclear chemist Ray Davis earned a share of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2002 for a solar neutrino experiment he installed 4,850 feet underground in the mine.

    Homestake closed in 2003, but the company donated the property to South Dakota in 2006 for use as an underground laboratory. That same year, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donated $70 million to the project. The South Dakota Legislature also created the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to operate the lab. The state Legislature has committed more than $40 million in state funds to the project, and South Dakota also obtained a $10 million Community Development Block Grant to help rehabilitate the facility.

    In 2007, after the National Science Foundation named Homestake as the preferred site for a proposed national Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) began reopening the former gold mine.

    In December 2010, the National Science Board decided not to fund further design of DUSEL. However, in 2011 the Department of Energy, through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, agreed to support ongoing science operations at Sanford Lab, while investigating how to use the underground research facility for other longer-term experiments. The SDSTA, which owns Sanford Lab, continues to operate the facility under that agreement with Berkeley Lab.

    The first two major physics experiments at the Sanford Lab are 4,850 feet underground in an area called the Davis Campus, named for the late Ray Davis. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is housed in the same cavern excavated for Ray Davis’s experiment in the 1960s.
    LUX/Dark matter experiment at SURFLUX/Dark matter experiment at SURF

    In October 2013, after an initial run of 80 days, LUX was determined to be the most sensitive detector yet to search for dark matter—a mysterious, yet-to-be-detected substance thought to be the most prevalent matter in the universe. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment, also on the 4850 Level, is searching for a rare phenomenon called “neutrinoless double-beta decay” that could reveal whether subatomic particles called neutrinos can be their own antiparticle. Detection of neutrinoless double-beta decay could help determine why matter prevailed over antimatter. The Majorana Demonstrator experiment is adjacent to the original Davis cavern.

    Another major experiment, the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE)—a collaboration with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and Sanford Lab, is in the preliminary design stages. The project got a major boost last year when Congress approved and the president signed an Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund LBNE operations through FY 2014. Called the “next frontier of particle physics,” LBNE will follow neutrinos as they travel 800 miles through the earth, from FermiLab in Batavia, Ill., to Sanford Lab.

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 1:51 pm on September 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From FNAL: “Contract awarded for LBNF preconstruction services” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

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

    September 13, 2017
    Leah Poffenberger

    On July 21, a group of dignitaries broke ground on the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) 4,850 feet underground in a former goldmine, making a small dent in the 875,000 tons of rock that will ultimately be excavated for Fermilab’s flagship experiment.

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


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford



    SURF building in Lead SD USA

    But a groundbreaking ceremony doesn’t always mean you can get straight to digging.

    Removing 875,000 tons of rock from a mile underground and assembling a massive particle detector in its place is a big job. Many months of careful design and preparatory construction work have to happen before the main excavation can even start at the future site of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) at Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota.

    On Aug. 9, a new team officially signed on to help prepare for the excavation and construction of DUNE. Fermi Research Alliance LLC, which operates Fermilab, awarded Kiewit/Alberici Joint Venture (KAJV) a contract to begin laying the groundwork for the excavation for LBNF, the facility that will support DUNE.

    “Our team is excited and honored to serve as the construction manager/general contractor on a project like the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility,” said KAJV Project Manager Scott Lundgren. “We look forward to working with Fermi Research Alliance to support this groundbreaking physics experiment.”

    Under the contract, over the next 12 months, KAJV will assist in the final design and excavation planning for LBNF/DUNE.

    “We’re all very excited about this partnership,” said Troy Lark, LBNF procurement manager. “It’s great to be working with two premier international contracting companies on this project.”

    The four-story-high, 70,000-ton DUNE detector at LBNF will catch neutrinos — subatomic particles that rarely interact with matter — sent through the Earth’s mantle from Fermilab, 800 miles away. This international megascience experiment will work to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding neutrinos, possibly leading to a better understanding of how the universe began.

    Building such an ambitious experiment has some unique challenges.

    “It’s kind of like building a ship in a bottle,” said Chris Mossey, Fermilab’s deputy director for LBNF. “We’re using a narrow shaft to move all the excavated rock up, and then all the parts and pieces of very large cryostats and detectors down to the 4850 level, about a mile underground.”

    KAJV will have two main tasks. The first is to help finalize design and excavation plans for LBNF. The second is to use the finalized designs to create what are known as bid packages: specific projects that KAJV or other contractors will work on.

    These bid packages will include jobs such as building site infrastructure and ensuring the structural integrity of the building above the shaft through which everything will enter or exit the mine.

    “Before you excavate 875,000 tons of rock, there’s a lot of things you’ve got to do. You have to have a system to move the rock safely from where it’s excavated to the surface, then horizontally about 3,700 feet to the large open pit where it will be deposited,” Mossey said. “All that has to be built.”

    Construction on pre-excavation projects — such as the conveyor system to move the rock — is expected to begin in 2018. The main excavation for LBNF/DUNE is planned to start in 2019.

    “We’re really happy to get this contract awarded,” Mossey said. “It was a lot of work to get to this point — a lot by the project, the lab and the DOE team. Everybody worked to be able to get this big, complicated contract in place.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Fermilab Campus

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

     
  • richardmitnick 7:58 am on August 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility,   

    From ScienceNews: “Neutrino experiment may hint at why matter rules the universe” 

    ScienceNews bloc

    ScienceNews

    1
    NEUTRINO CLUES The T2K experiment found clues that neutrinos may behave differently than their antimatter partners. In a possible sighting of an electron neutrino at the Super-Kamiokande detector in Hida, Japan (shown), colored spots represent sensors that observed light from the interacting neutrino. Kamioka Observatory/ICRR/The University of Tokyo

    A new study hints that neutrinos might behave differently than their antimatter counterparts. The result amplifies scientists’ suspicions that the lightweight elementary particles could help explain why the universe has much more matter than antimatter.

    In the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago, matter and antimatter were created in equal amounts. To tip that balance to the universe’s current, matter-dominated state, matter and antimatter must behave differently, a concept known as CP, or “charge parity,” violation.

    In neutrinos, which come in three types — electron, muon and tau — CP violation can be measured by observing how neutrinos oscillate, or change from one type to another. Researchers with the T2K experiment found that muon neutrinos morphed into electron neutrinos more often than expected, while muon antineutrinos became electron antineutrinos less often. That suggests that the neutrinos were violating CP, the researchers concluded August 4 at a colloquium at the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization, KEK, in Tsukuba, Japan.

    T2K scientists had previously presented a weaker hint [Physical Review Letters]of CP violation. The new result is based on about twice as much data, but the evidence is still not definitive. In physicist parlance, it is a “two sigma” measurement, an indicator of how statistically strong the evidence is. Physicists usually require five sigma to claim a discovery.

    Even three sigma is still far away — T2K could reach that milestone by 2026. A future experiment, DUNE, now under construction at the Sanford Underground Research Laboratory in Lead, S.D., may reach five sigma.

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


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford



    SURF building in Lead SD USA

    It is worth being patient, says physicist Chang Kee Jung of Stony Brook University in New York, who is a member of the T2K collaboration. “We are dealing with really profound problems.”

    See the full article here .

    Science News is edited for an educated readership of professionals, scientists and other science enthusiasts. Written by a staff of experienced science journalists, it treats science as news, reporting accurately and placing findings in perspective. Science News and its writers have won many awards for their work; here’s a list of many of them.

    Published since 1922, the biweekly print publication reaches about 90,000 dedicated subscribers and is available via the Science News app on Android, Apple and Kindle Fire devices. Updated continuously online, the Science News website attracted over 12 million unique online viewers in 2016.

    Science News is published by the Society for Science & the Public, a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization dedicated to the public engagement in scientific research and education.

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