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  • richardmitnick 9:27 am on September 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The nuts and bolts of experimental science", , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “The nuts and bolts of experimental science” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    September 9, 2019
    Erin Broberg

    1
    Derek Lucero, left, shakes hands with Tomasz Biesiadzinski, right, after the team completed the extensive cabling of the LUX-ZEPLIN PMT arrays.
    Matthew Kapust

    The challenge of experimental science is this: Build machines capable of testing abstract theories. Experimental researchers must design functional machines that can “see” rare interactions and express those interaction with numerical data. That data, in turn, feeds ever-evolving theoretical models.

    This fluctuation between abstract ideas and the nuts and bolts of building an experiment requires the worlds of physics and engineering to merge. Engineers at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab), whether working directly with experiments or bolstering the facility itself, provide a much-needed link between theory and function.

    The first of its kind

    Over the past year, Derek Lucero transitioned from labor-intensive work in the Ross Shaft to assembling the pieces of a highly intricate experiment. For the last 10 months, Lucero and Jeff Barthel, both engineering technical associates, provided engineering support to the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) dark matter collaboration during the assembly of the innermost piece of the experiment, the Time Projection Chamber (TPC), in a class-100 cleanroom.

    LZ Time Projection Chamber assembly completed
    Collaboration puts together the ‘heart’ of LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter detector
    1
    The recently assembled LUX-ZEPLIN xenon detector in the Surface Assembly Lab cleanroom at Sanford Underground Research Facility on July 26, 2019. Photo by Matthew Kapust Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    “Trust me, there are no instruction manuals for this type of work,” Lucero said. That’s because each of the TPC’s tens of thousands of components were specifically designed and fabricated for this experiment by institutions around the world. To assemble these components, physicists and engineers converged to properly address the mechanical, optical, electrical, background and cleanliness requirements for each piece.

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    Lucero helps a researcher work on an electric grid in the Surface Assembly Lab. Photo by Matthew Kapust.

    “From providing supplies to fine precision work on the innards of the LZ detector itself, the engineers have machined parts for both the underground circulation system as well as the xenon detector,” said Tomasz Biesiadzinski, a project scientist with SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory who has led the assembly effort at Sanford Lab. “They’re also the ones we rely on to connect fine circuits, fix fragile cables and install delicate detector components that would drive anyone else crazy.”

    Each day, the team met to discuss the multidimensional work before donning full-body Tyvek suits and gloves to enter the cleanroom. “As an engineer, I typically want to find solutions as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Lucero said. “Physicists, I’ve learned, approach things more cautiously, coming at the problem from every angle. This is good, because we’ve only got one shot at this. We work together to find that middle ground between thought and action.”

    “It’s two different philosophies,” said Allan Stratman, director of engineering at Sanford Lab. “Engineers want to eliminate ambiguity. We like things black and white. We see problems and want to solve them. Physicists, though, are doing theoretical work, so they thrive on ambiguity and need as much flexibility as we can afford. With the reality of the experiment coming online, those philosophies meet to make it happen and make it right.”

    The novel solutions these differing mindsets settled on led to the completion of the TPC, which will soon move to the 4850 Level, where another team of engineers has been preparing the Davis Cavern to receive it.

    Turning wrenches and learning physics

    For the time being, engineers typically outnumber physicists in the Davis Cavern. At first glance, however, you’d have difficulty telling them apart. Physicists work alongside engineers to install subsystems and structural support, including the cryogenics system and extensive cabling.

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    Charles Maupin, mechanical engineer for Sanford Lab, in the Davis Campus. Photo by Mark Hanhardt.​​​​​

    “Many of the researchers don’t have backgrounds turning wrenches, running drills or cutting steel,” said Dale Curran, engineering technical associate. “I think it’s good when they have an opportunity to be onsite and do hands-on work. After this is done, it’ll be a waiting-game for half a decade as the detector collects data.”

    “The engineering team is crucial for us,” said David Woodward, a post-doctoral researcher who spent several months working with engineers to install the test cryostat for the circulation system commissioning. “They not only help us get things done, but they improve the quality of our work by filling in the gaps with their considerable skills and knowledge.”

    The learning curve goes both ways, as engineers get the chance to brush up on dark matter physics, as well.

    “The big takeaway for me is that it’s about noise cancelation,” Curran said. “We are looking for something that is very obscure and difficult to find—something you need to discern from a billion other things. Imagine being at a rock concert, trying to listen for a pin to drop. That’s the background on the surface of the earth. On the 4850 Level, it’s goes from sounding like a rock concert, to listening to the radio in your car. Here, you still have to discern from smaller backgrounds—the drums, the guitar strums, the singing voices—until you think you’ve heard the pin hitting the floor. Then, you’ve got to prove that’s really what you heard.”

    “We also provide a level of institutional memory,” Barthel said. While collaboration members visit the facility when their subsystem is ready to be installed, engineers “are here every day and our team rarely changes, giving the process much-needed continuity.”

    Ship in a bottle

    Just down the drift from the Davis Cavern’s dark matter hunt, geotechnical engineer David Vardiman is helping to prepare a space for the largest physics experiment on United States soil—or, more accurately, under it.

    “We often say we are building a ship in a bottle,” said Vardiman, who is helping prepare for excavation for the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF). “Except the neck of this bottle is 5,000 feet long.”

    LBNF will house the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment’s (DUNE) Far Detector on the 4850 Level in Sanford Lab, as well as the much smaller near detector at Fermilab. The DUNE detectors require intricate cryogenic technology to keep them at their operating temperature of minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Over the next few years, about 800,000 tons of rock will be excavated at Sanford Lab to house the detector and its complex systems.

    “The most important aspect of planning is listening to a scientist’s requirements,” Vardiman said. “Not everyone understands the vagaries of the rock—they may not realize how important a specification is. As an engineer, I have to help them verbalize all that they need. If not, we could miss out on an important detection requirement, all because we failed to pay attention.”

    Bolstering the facility infrastructure

    Some engineers have little direct interaction with experiments, but their work is nonetheless critical to the facility. Physical infrastructure projects include strengthening the Ross Shaft Headframe, providing engineering support to the Underground Maintenance Crew and Wastewater Treatment Plant.

    “Anything that moves, turns, makes noise, or breaks, that’s something we’re involved in,” said Todd Hubbard, senior project engineer.

    Laser scanners create 3-D imaging of underground areas, helping the engineering team better define each space, ventilation engineers monitor airflow through the underground matrix and electrical engineers ensure high availability and reliability of power to experiment sites and the overall facility.

    A new twist on traditional engineering

    Engineers at Sanford Lab come from varied backgrounds, from the largest machine tool builder in the western world to the production of roofing materials, to mining engineering to auto shop owner. For them, these tasks are simply novel approaches to familiar work.

    “I think our previous experience translates well into this facility,” said Jacob Davis, a mechanical engineer. His previous experience with cranes and rigging was called upon when layers of the LZ TPC needed to be stacked inside the cleanroom. “These were critical lifts. For some of them, there was a crowd of researchers looking from outside the window. One time, a researcher told me just how much the pieces in the lift cost. Regardless of the price tag on the object, though, I do the work the same. Whether it’s 10 dollars or 20 million dollars—it’s important to do it right.”

    Whether working in a cleanroom to build a sensitive detector, readying a cavern for new science or supporting the physical infrastructure of the facility, at the end of the day, the engineers are solving problems.

    “Because these problems have never been solved before, our engineers are fabricating completely new solutions,” Stratman said. “As a geek engineer, that’s pretty amazing to me. We are engineering for the sake of science; our end goal is to provide exactly the solutions scientists need.”

    5
    Jeff Cherwinka, chief engineer for LZ, (left) and Charles Maupin, mechanical engineer for Sanford Lab (right) in the Davis Campus office space. Photo by Erin Broberg.

    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 8:46 am on September 4, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Searching for life deep underground", Communities of biofilms flourish in thermal pools at Yellowstone; polar ice caps; deep sea ocean vents; and Sanford Lab. That’s why we call them extremophiles., Researchers are performing tests on technology that could be used on instruments like the Mars Rovers., Researchers take full advantage of Sanford Lab’s vast underground footprint sampling from a number of levels and areas with different temperatures; chemical properties; and geologic mineralogies., Scientists want to know more about how they survive. For example what do they eat? How do they breathe? How do they live?, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility, The Sanford Lab underground is teeming with microscopic life—more than 9000 microorganisms live in rocks; soil; water; and even wood., These organisms live in communities called biofilms, These underground tests are the best way to get real-time alpha data and make sure materials are as clean as possible., Understanding how microbes survive in extreme conditions comparable to those on other planets could help develop technology that will be used in the 2020 missions to Mars.   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Searching for life deep underground” Photo Essay 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    1
    2

    Extreme life

    Believe it or not, nearly a mile underground, life thrives. The Sanford Lab underground is teeming with microscopic life—more than 9,000 microorganisms live in rocks, soil, water and even wood. These organisms live in communities called biofilms inside the rock and water that accumulates underground.

    Most organisms can’t live in such extreme conditions, yet communities of biofilms flourish in thermal pools at Yellowstone, polar ice caps, deep sea ocean vents and Sanford Lab. That’s why we call them extremophiles.

    Scientists want to know more about how they survive. For example, what do they eat? How do they breathe? How do they live?

    3
    Extreme conditions

    Biologists studying extremophiles ask questions about the conditions of life, the extent of life and—ultimately—the rules of life. Researchers take full advantage of Sanford Lab’s vast underground footprint by gathering samples from a number of levels and areas with different temperatures, chemical properties and geologic mineralogies.

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

    4
    Practical uses

    Understanding the strange evolutionary pathways these extremophiles use to survive in seemingly desolate conditions could help researchers better understand the climate, create new antibiotics and even harness clean energy.

    By examining methane-consuming microbes, scientists can better understand how methane generated under such places as Yellowstone National Park and other geothermal environments and fossil fuel beds impacts our climate. Other groups are focusing on such engineering applications as improvements to biofuel production. Researchers are also looking for ways to use microbes to convert solid waste into biofuels and bacteria into antibiotics.

    Research groups have published their findings about microbial genomes and single-cell genomics in high-profile science magazines.

    5
    Testing space equipment

    Understanding how microbes survive in extreme conditions comparable to those on other planets could help develop technology that will be used in the 2020 mission to Mars.

    Researchers are also performing tests on technology that could be used on instruments like the Mars Rover. These underground tests are the best way to get real-time alpha data and make sure materials are as clean as possible.

    Watch our video introduction to the science of extremophiles at Sanford Lab.

    Video by Nick Hubbard and Erin Broberg.

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA, will replace LUX at SURF

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

    LUX’s mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

    In the midst of the excitement over first results, the LUX collaboration was already casting its gaze forward. Planning for a next-generation dark matter experiment at Sanford Lab was already under way. Named LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), the next-generation experiment would increase the sensitivity of LUX 100 times.

    SLAC physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.
    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”
    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

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

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


    LBNE

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR will contain 40 kg of germanium; up to 30 kg will be enriched to 86% in 76Ge. The DEMONSTRATOR will be deployed deep underground in an ultra-low-background shielded environment in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, SD. The goal of the DEMONSTRATOR is to determine whether a future 1-tonne experiment can achieve a background goal of one count per tonne-year in a 4-keV region of interest around the 76Ge 0νββ Q-value at 2039 keV. MAJORANA plans to collaborate with GERDA for a future tonne-scale 76Ge 0νββ search.

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA


    CASPAR at SURF


    CASPAR is a low-energy particle accelerator that allows researchers to study processes that take place inside collapsing stars.

    The scientists are using space in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, South Dakota, to work on a project called the Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). CASPAR uses a low-energy particle accelerator that will allow researchers to mimic nuclear fusion reactions in stars. If successful, their findings could help complete our picture of how the elements in our universe are built. “Nuclear astrophysics is about what goes on inside the star, not outside of it,” said Dan Robertson, a Notre Dame assistant research professor of astrophysics working on CASPAR. “It is not observational, but experimental. The idea is to reproduce the stellar environment, to reproduce the reactions within a star.”

     
  • richardmitnick 8:56 am on August 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter detector, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “LZ Time Projection Chamber assembly completed” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    August 2, 2019
    Erin Broberg

    Collaboration puts together the ‘heart’ of LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter detector.

    1
    The recently assembled LUX-ZEPLIN xenon detector in the Surface Assembly Lab cleanroom at Sanford Underground Research Facility on July 26, 2019. Photo by Matthew Kapust Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    On July 26, researchers working in the Surface Assembly Lab (SAL) at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) had quite an audience. Nearly a dozen onlookers, including researchers, technicians and one very curious writer, peered through two windows into the cleanroom. From this vantage point, they watched researchers carefully peel back a protective layer of foil to reveal—for perhaps the last time in half a decade—the innermost piece of the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) dark matter experiment.

    What they revealed was LZ’s xenon detector, called a Time Projection Chamber, or TPC. Researchers recently completed the assembly of this impressive structure, a gleaming white column standing nearly nine-feet tall, that houses key components needed for LZ’s dark matter search.

    “This xenon detector will be at the heart of the LZ dark matter experiment,” said Henrique Araújo, Imperial College London, who leads the LZ collaboration efforts in the UK and co-led the development of the TPC with Tom Shutt from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC). The U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is leading the LZ project.

    “The TPC is a complex system and it’s a major achievement to have it fully assembled,” Shutt said. “It takes us one important step closer to being able to look for dark matter. It is also gratifying because it involved assembling a large number of sub-systems designed and built by groups across the US and the UK over a number of years. So, it’s a coming together of sorts for the collaboration.”

    While it was unwrapped, researchers in full-body cleanroom suits took final measurements and ran tests on the instrument, which will soon be sealed inside a cryostat vessel and transported to the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab. Once installed underground, the TPC will be hidden within layers of protective shielding until the experiment has finished taking data.

    “We have some things in common with a space program,” said Araújo. “Before you launch, you do all of your work on the ground for years, perfecting the engineering so your instrument will work no matter what. LZ is a bit like a space experiment, just headed the opposite direction. We cannot expose it to underground air—that would compromise its performance. Once you deploy it underground, that’s it. It has to work.”

    Piecing together the detector

    The assembly of the TPC began in December 2018, when components first began arriving at Sanford Lab. Dozens of institutions across the globe had been fabricating components since 2015 or participating in the assembly.

    “In creating these components, we paid a lot of attention to selecting and screening materials with low radioactive contamination and low radon emission to lessen any potential background interference within the detector,” said Tomasz Biesiadzinski, a project scientist with SLAC who has led the assembly effort at Sanford Lab. In all, tens of thousands of specially designed components were integrated into the detector.”

    Since December 2018, the assembly team tallied 13,500 working hours at the SAL and drew from a broad reserve of expertise to properly address the mechanical, optical, electrical, cleanliness and background requirements of each component. With 250 members from 37 institutions around the globe and support from Sanford Lab’s support scientists and engineers, expertise covering all these areas was readily available.

    “This type of experiment is still done the old-fashioned way—where the principal investigators, students, postdocs, engineers and technicians all work together to build it,” said Araújo. “The expertise that you need in order to assemble the experiment is so vast that you have to have a diverse group onsite. And working alongside people from these different backgrounds adds great joy to our time here.”

    Cleanliness campaign

    One researcher who contributed a substantial number of those hours was Nicolas Angelides, LZ collaboration member and graduate student at University College London, who presided over much of the cleanliness program for the TPC assembly.

    “Dust particles can disrupt the detector signals,” said Angelides. “Dust also contains trace amounts of radioactivity, creating a background we need to control ahead of time.”

    To protect against stray dust particles and radon—an atmospheric gas that could contaminate the detector—the entire assembly process took place within the Surface Assembly Lab, a laboratory space with a radon-reduction system and a class-100 clean room outfitted specifically for the TPC assembly. Within the clean space, strict cleanliness protocols are followed.

    “All walls and floors are vacuumed and wiped down at least every week. Anything that can’t be wiped is put in an ultra-sonic bath, where sound waves are sent through a solvent to dislodge all small particles from every nook and cranny,” said Angelides.

    High-efficiency air filters remove dust particles, some smaller than a single organic cell. If the air-particle concentration inside the room gets too high, an alarm will sound, alerting researchers to cover the detector. Because static electricity attracts dust, the assembly area is surrounded by neutralizing fans that quickly dissipate static charge. A total of twenty-six of these fans were pointed at the TPC alone.

    Workers themselves pose a contamination risk to the experiment, as humans are a major source of dust. “We wear full-coverage cleanroom suits and follow a two-stage gowning procedure,” said Angelides. “Every step closer to entering the cleanroom is held to higher cleanliness standards and requires additional levels of gear. It takes a good quarter of an hour just to get to work!”

    “What LZ has done more than any other project in the field is control the cleanliness of the materials and the assembly process,” said Araújo. “At the end of the day, nothing goes into the cleanroom or touches the detector that is not extremely clean.”

    Generations of design

    The design of LZ’s detector has been developed over decades of experimentation, including multiple iterations of the ZEPLIN program and the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) detector, from which LZ derives its name.

    U Washington Lux Dark Matter 2 at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

    The ZEPLIN program was the first to develop the liquid xenon TPC concept employed by LZ. In 2013, LUX had been declared the most sensitive dark matter detector in the world and retained that status until 2017—one year after it had been decommissioned.

    “LZ sits on the shoulders of a number of smaller experiments,” said Araújo. “Each experiment solved their own issues at their own scale. By getting larger one step at a time, we have been able to search for new physics with ever larger experiments, and we are confident that LZ will work as it is designed to.”

    Once underground, the detector will be cooled down and filled with ten tons of liquid xenon. This very dense liquid is an ideal medium for dark matter detection.

    Researchers believe that if a dark matter particle interacts with a xenon atom, it will produce two flashes of light. The first flash occurs when the particle collides with the xenon atom; from this interaction some electrons are shaken off the xenon too. Then, guided by an imposed electric field, the electrons drift toward the top of the detector and are accelerated through a layer of gaseous xenon above the liquid, producing a second flash of light.

    Although these flashes would be imperceptible to the human eye, the detector is lined with hundreds of photomultiplier tubes. These ultrasensitive sensors are capable of amplifying a signal from even a single photon of light.

    “This TPC concept in which a single interaction produces two signals—the primary and secondary scintillations—is a powerful way to detect radiation,” Araújo said. “This is the technology that has been leading these dark matter searches because it allows us to say, with the precision of a few millimeters, where each interaction happens, and whether it is signal-like or background-like, which we can tell by the relative sizes of the two flashes of light.”

    Direct detection of dark matter

    Rigorous cleanliness standards, meticulous engineering and decades of experience all push LZ closer to its goal: detecting dark matter.

    “A leading candidate for dark matter is the weakly interacting massive particle,” said Araújo. Different experiments world-wide are looking for this particle, endearingly nicknamed the WIMP (weakly interacting massive particle), within different regions of mass. LZ is designed to search for a particle within a mass region of a few protons to a few tens of thousands of protons.

    “If there are particles in that mass range, we should have the world-leading sensitivity to spot them first,” said Araújo.

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

    2
    Researchers peel back a protective layer of aluminum foil, revealing the recently assembled LUX-ZEPLIN xenon detector in the Surface Assembly Lab cleanroom at Sanford Underground Research Facility on July 26, 2019. Photo by Matthew Kapust, Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    3
    Researchers examine the foil-wrapped LUX-ZEPLIN xenon detector that was recently assembled in the Surface Assembly Lab cleanroom at Sanford Underground Research Facility on July 26, 2019. Photo by Matthew Kapust, Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    4
    The recently assembled LUX-ZEPLIN xenon detector stands nearly 9 feet tall in the Surface Assembly Lab cleanroom at Sanford Underground Research Facility on July 26, 2019. Photo by Nick Hubbard, Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    5
    A researcher takes measurements of the recently assembled LUX-ZEPLIN xenon detector in the Surface Assembly Lab cleanroom at Sanford Underground Research Facility on July 26, 2019. Photo by Nick Hubbard, Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    6
    A researcher snaps a photograph of the recently assembled LUX-ZEPLIN xenon detector in the Surface Assembly Lab cleanroom at Sanford Underground Research Facility on July 26, 2019. Photo by Nick Hubbard, Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    7
    The recently assembled LUX-ZEPLIN xenon detector in the Surface Assembly Lab cleanroom at Sanford Underground Research Facility on July 26, 2019. Photo by Matthew Kapust, Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    8
    A close-up of the top of the recently assembled LUX-ZEPLIN xenon detector in the Surface Assembly Lab cleanroom at Sanford Underground Research Facility on July 26, 2019. White PTFE reflective paneling lines much of the detector. From the outside, a viewer can see the stainless-steel outer rings of the electric grids, the back of the PMT array and some of the PMT cabling. Photo by Nick Hubbard, Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    9
    Under ultraviolet light, research check for dust on the detector. Photo By: Nicolas Angelides, LZ Collaboration.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA, will replace LUX at SURF

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

    LUX’s mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

    In the midst of the excitement over first results, the LUX collaboration was already casting its gaze forward. Planning for a next-generation dark matter experiment at Sanford Lab was already under way. Named LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), the next-generation experiment would increase the sensitivity of LUX 100 times.

    SLAC physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.
    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”
    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

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

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


    LBNE

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR will contain 40 kg of germanium; up to 30 kg will be enriched to 86% in 76Ge. The DEMONSTRATOR will be deployed deep underground in an ultra-low-background shielded environment in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, SD. The goal of the DEMONSTRATOR is to determine whether a future 1-tonne experiment can achieve a background goal of one count per tonne-year in a 4-keV region of interest around the 76Ge 0νββ Q-value at 2039 keV. MAJORANA plans to collaborate with GERDA for a future tonne-scale 76Ge 0νββ search.

    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 8:18 am on August 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "In photos: LBNF rebuilds portal for rock transportation system", , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From FNAL for SURF: “In photos: LBNF rebuilds portal for rock transportation system” 

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    From Fermi National Accelerator Lab , an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    July 29, 2019
    Kurt Riesselmann

    The pre-excavation work for the South Dakota portion of the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility reached another milestone.

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

    In June, construction workers finished securing the portal of the old tramway tunnel. The tunnel will house the conveyor system that will move about 800,000 tons of rock — excavated a mile underground to create the caverns for the Fermilab-hosted Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment — to its final resting place in the Open Cut, a former open pit mining area. The photo gallery below highlights various stages of this work.

    The Homestake mining company had stopped using the tramway tunnel when it ceased mining operations in Lead, South Dakota, in 2002. Today the tunnel is part of the Sanford Underground Research Facility. The LBNF team is now in the process of rehabilitating the tunnel to get it ready for the installation of a conveyor system that will run from the Ross Shaft, exit through the rebuilt portal and extend to the Open Cut (see graphic). When the work is complete, the tunnel will house about 2,300 feet of the 4,250-foot-long conveyor system.

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research Facility

    1
    Construction workers are currently rehabilitating the tramway tunnel at Sanford Lab. The goal is to prepare it for the installation of a 2,300-foot-long section of a conveyor system that will move rock from the mile-deep Ross Shaft to the Open Cut for the LBNF construction. Credit: Fermilab

    2
    This photo shows the construction site from above the old portal. When complete in 2020, the conveyor system will extend down the hill and begin moving rock to the Open Cut. Credit: Fermilab

    3
    In June, construction workers applied shotcrete on the rock surrounding the portal. Credit: Fermilab

    4
    Done: the rebuilt portal of the tramway tunnel. A new concrete enclosure will extend the tunnel approximately 80 feet beyond this point, which will allow for the restoration of a roadway above the tunnel. When complete, the conveyor system will exit the tramway tunnel at the end of the new enclosure and move rock from the Ross Shaft to the Open Cut. Credit: Fermilab

    5
    For the LBNF project, about 800,000 tons of rock will be transported to this former open pit mining area in Lead, South Dakota, known as the Open Cut. The excavated rock will fill less than one percent of the Open Cut. Credit: Fermilab

    6
    This graphic illustrates how the conveyor system will transport rock from the Ross Shaft through the tramway tunnel to the Open Cut. Credit: Fermilab

    See the full here.


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    FNAL Icon

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

     
  • richardmitnick 10:44 am on July 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A case study in happy extremophiles", “When two organisms exist together and provide benefits to each other it’s difficult to make them survive without each other.”, Christopher Abin, Gas chromatography, Methanotrophic microorganisms, Microbe-hunters, Montana State University, , NSF BuG ReMeDEE project (Building Genome-to-Phenome Infrastructure for Regulating Methane in Deep and Extreme Environments), South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SD Mines), SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility, University of Oklahoma   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “A case study in happy extremophiles” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    July 19, 2019
    Erin Broberg

    1
    Petri plate with colonies of a methanotrophic microorganism. Photo courtesy Christopher Abin

    If asked to describe your ideal environment, the odds are you wouldn’t opt for somewhere exceedingly salty, with an acidic pH or a dense supply of methane. However, some organisms (with fewer cells and vastly different standards than you and me) would say that sounds just about perfect.

    Researchers recently visited Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) to collect samples of organisms that prefer the damp, dark environment of the deep subsurface. Now, they are trying to replicate those seemingly abysmal conditions back in their laboratory. By providing the perfect conditions, researchers can selectively grow the bacteria they want to study.

    2
    BuG ReMeDee researchers before their descent to the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab. Left to right: Roland Hatzenpichler, professor at Montana State University; Mackenzie Lynes, graduate student at Montana State University; Christopher Abin, postdoc at the University of Oklahoma; Christopher Garner, graduate student at OU; and Rosie Moon-Escamilla, graduate student at OU.

    This research is part of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) BuG ReMeDee project (Building Genome-to-Phenome Infrastructure for Regulating Methane in Deep and Extreme Environments). This collaborative group of researchers from three universities is seeking to understand curious life forms called methanotrophs—organisms that survive by consuming methane.

    “Much of the general public looks at bacteria like germs, like something harmful,” said Christopher Abin, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oklahoma. “But what we see is that the vast majority of bacteria are incredibly important—without them, the earth wouldn’t really function properly. In fact, life on earth would cease to exist without bacteria.”

    In the effort to understand and utilize the creatures that feast on a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide, each collaborating university has their niche.

    At South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SD Mines), principal investigator Rajesh Sani’s team focuses on genetically engineering and improving methane-consuming microbes to create useable products and materials, such as biofuels, biodegradable plastics or electricity. At Montana State University (MSU), Robin Gerlach’s team is developing models that show how microbes consume methane and create energy. This helps scientists better understand how methane generated under such places as Yellowstone National Park and other geothermal environments and fossil fuel beds impacts our climate.

    But before models can be made and genes engineered, researchers need a solid understanding of how these organisms function. To study them in detail, researchers from the University of Oklahoma (OU) and under the lead of Lee Krumholz, collect and cultivate samples, isolating pure cultures of methanotrophs in the lab. There’s just one small setback: the organisms of interest come from some of our planet’s most extreme environments—environments that are quite difficult to replicate in a laboratory.

    As the microbe-hunters of the group, OU researchers go to various extreme environments—hot springs, lakes ten times saltier than the ocean, sulfur springs with no measurable oxygen content and locations in the deep subsurface, miles below the earth—in search of methanotrophs.

    “We don’t fully understand the flux of methane in these extreme environments,” said Abin. “These locations could be either a sink or a source of methane to the atmosphere. Little research has been devoted to understanding the microbes that inhabit these areas, so any samples we collect can be novel.”

    At Sanford Lab, researchers traveled deep underground to collect samples from biofilms and groundwater from boreholes on the 4850 Level and sediments from the 1700 Level.

    3
    Christopher Abin sampling groundwater from a borehole on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab. Photo courtesy Christopher Abin.

    “We also collected a sample from an exotic fungus growing on a wooden beam,” Abin said. “You don’t really know going in what you’re going to find, so you sample everything you think might be interesting. You might discover something really cool when you analyze it back in the lab.”

    During each excursion, the team takes two sets of samples. The first is dedicated to a DNA roll-call that identifies the hundreds—perhaps thousands—of species naturally present in that environment. The second set is dedicated to an advanced cultivation process in the lab, where researchers try to single out one or a few specific species through a process called enrichment.

    “In the lab, we put our samples in bottles that can be sealed completely then add concentrations of gases like methane and oxygen at precise concentrations. As the methanotrophs consume methane, the concentration slowly decreases,” explained Abin.

    4
    Glass bottles containing s​​​​ediment samples incubating with methane and oxygen. Photo courtesy Christopher Abin.

    5
    Called a gas chromatograph, this instrument is used to measure methane in the glass bottles. Photo courtesy Christopher Abin.

    “Once it is mostly depleted, we dilute the cultures to get rid of the background microbes we don’t want, achieving a higher proportion of just the methanotrophs,” said Abin. “We take a small amount of that liquid and place it onto a petri plate containing a semisolid material called agar to provide a substrate for the bacteria to grow on. As the bacteria grow, they produce visible colonies that we can purify further through a process called streaking.”

    6
    A petri plate with colonies of a methanotrophic microorganism growing on agar. Photo courtesy Christopher Abin.

    At the end of the streaking process, researchers hope to isolate the single species from the multitudes present. Sometimes, however, organisms resist, preferring a more social environment.

    “Species don’t grow in pure cultures in their natural environment,” said Rosie Moon-Escamilla, a graduate student at OU. “When two organisms exist together and provide benefits to each other, it’s difficult to make them survive without each other.”

    If the methanotroph is growing in co-culture with another organism that is providing some sort of benefit to them, such as removing toxic substances or suppling a certain vitamin, the isolation process can get complicated.

    “You do a lot of work to get the organism isolated, always knowing in the back of your mind that they are happier in co-culture,” said Moon-Escamilla. “Sometimes, it may not be impractical to isolate them into distinct pure cultures, it may be impossible.”

    At the end of multiple rounds of streaking, if researchers have achieved a pure culture, they can begin to characterize them—What temperatures do they enjoy? Which solidities do they fancy?—to better understand the microbial preferences.

    “The challenge of microbiology cultivation in general is how to replicate the environment you sample from,” said Christopher Garner, an OU graduate student. “We estimate that 90 percent of all microorganisms out there haven’t been cultivated in the lab, because it’s just something that’s really hard to do. When your samples are from an extreme environment, that adds additional challenges that makes it more difficult to cultivate.”

    Collected from vastly differing locations, the physiology of these organisms varies—each suited to its own extreme environment—and each must be assessed and studied individually. The binding commonality, however, is that these organisms use methane as their energy source and have enormous potential in bioengineering applications.

    7
    Assorted methanotroph cultures in OU laboratory. Photo courtesy Christopher Abin.

    “We’ve done a lot of work with media manipulation,” Moon-Escamilla said. “If you tailor the media to the specific location, being mindful of the salt and pH levels or different minerals present at each collection site, you have a better chance of increasing the number of microbes that will grow in the lab.”

    8
    A microscope and image of a methane-consuming microbial consortium from one of an enrichment culture in the OU lab. Photo courtesy Christopher Abin.

    Much of the work involves experimentation, testing the conditions and letting the organism’s response inform the process.

    “There is immense value in traditional microbiology work—cultivating microbes from the environment and learning about their metabolisms,” Garner said. “We’ve only begun to understand really how many different kinds of microbes there are out there.”

    “The overarching goals of the BuG ReMeDEE consortium are to investigate methane cycling in deep and extreme environments and develop new biological routes for converting methane into value-added products,” said principal investigator Rajesh Sani. “Using ‘genome-to-phenome’ approaches, the consortium and will address critical regional, national and global issues of methane cycling, global warming, renewable energy and carbon neutrality.”

    “This collaboration will allow our groups to synergistically solve problems that could not be dealt with alone. I feel strongly that our work on isolating and better understanding methanotrophs at SURF and other locations will allow us to better understand the fate of methane and its role as a greenhouse gas,” said Lee Krumholz, who leads the work being done at OU.

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA, will replace LUX at SURF

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

    LUX’s mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

    In the midst of the excitement over first results, the LUX collaboration was already casting its gaze forward. Planning for a next-generation dark matter experiment at Sanford Lab was already under way. Named LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), the next-generation experiment would increase the sensitivity of LUX 100 times.

    SLAC physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.
    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”
    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

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

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


    LBNE

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR will contain 40 kg of germanium; up to 30 kg will be enriched to 86% in 76Ge. The DEMONSTRATOR will be deployed deep underground in an ultra-low-background shielded environment in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, SD. The goal of the DEMONSTRATOR is to determine whether a future 1-tonne experiment can achieve a background goal of one count per tonne-year in a 4-keV region of interest around the 76Ge 0νββ Q-value at 2039 keV. MAJORANA plans to collaborate with GERDA for a future tonne-scale 76Ge 0νββ search.

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

    CASPAR at SURF


    CASPAR is a low-energy particle accelerator that allows researchers to study processes that take place inside collapsing stars.

    The scientists are using space in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, South Dakota, to work on a project called the Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). CASPAR uses a low-energy particle accelerator that will allow researchers to mimic nuclear fusion reactions in stars. If successful, their findings could help complete our picture of how the elements in our universe are built. “Nuclear astrophysics is about what goes on inside the star, not outside of it,” said Dan Robertson, a Notre Dame assistant research professor of astrophysics working on CASPAR. “It is not observational, but experimental. The idea is to reproduce the stellar environment, to reproduce the reactions within a star.”

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

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

    Berkeley Logo

    From Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    July 16, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    NERSC

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

    NERSC Hopper Cray XE6 supercomputer


    LBL NERSC Cray XC30 Edison supercomputer


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

    NERSC PDSF


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

    Future:

    Cray Shasta Perlmutter SC18 AMD Epyc Nvidia pre-exascale supeercomputer

    NERSC is a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

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

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

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

    NERSC and ESnet are DOE Office of Science User Facilities.

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

    More:

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

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    LBNL campus

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

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

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

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

    University of California Seal

    DOE Seal

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

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

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    June 17, 2019
    Erin Broberg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Learn more about DeMMO at Sanford Lab.

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA, will replace LUX at SURF

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

    LUX’s mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

    In the midst of the excitement over first results, the LUX collaboration was already casting its gaze forward. Planning for a next-generation dark matter experiment at Sanford Lab was already under way. Named LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), the next-generation experiment would increase the sensitivity of LUX 100 times.

    SLAC physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.
    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”
    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

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

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


    LBNE

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR will contain 40 kg of germanium; up to 30 kg will be enriched to 86% in 76Ge. The DEMONSTRATOR will be deployed deep underground in an ultra-low-background shielded environment in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, SD. The goal of the DEMONSTRATOR is to determine whether a future 1-tonne experiment can achieve a background goal of one count per tonne-year in a 4-keV region of interest around the 76Ge 0νββ Q-value at 2039 keV. MAJORANA plans to collaborate with GERDA for a future tonne-scale 76Ge 0νββ search.

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

    CASPAR at SURF


    CASPAR is a low-energy particle accelerator that allows researchers to study processes that take place inside collapsing stars.

    The scientists are using space in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, South Dakota, to work on a project called the Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). CASPAR uses a low-energy particle accelerator that will allow researchers to mimic nuclear fusion reactions in stars. If successful, their findings could help complete our picture of how the elements in our universe are built. “Nuclear astrophysics is about what goes on inside the star, not outside of it,” said Dan Robertson, a Notre Dame assistant research professor of astrophysics working on CASPAR. “It is not observational, but experimental. The idea is to reproduce the stellar environment, to reproduce the reactions within a star.”

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

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

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    May 24, 2019
    Erin Broberg

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

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

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

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

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

    “Majorana publishes results in ‘Physical Review Letters'”

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA, will replace LUX at SURF

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

    LUX’s mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

    In the midst of the excitement over first results, the LUX collaboration was already casting its gaze forward. Planning for a next-generation dark matter experiment at Sanford Lab was already under way. Named LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), the next-generation experiment would increase the sensitivity of LUX 100 times.

    SLAC physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.
    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”
    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

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

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


    LBNE

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR will contain 40 kg of germanium; up to 30 kg will be enriched to 86% in 76Ge. The DEMONSTRATOR will be deployed deep underground in an ultra-low-background shielded environment in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, SD. The goal of the DEMONSTRATOR is to determine whether a future 1-tonne experiment can achieve a background goal of one count per tonne-year in a 4-keV region of interest around the 76Ge 0νββ Q-value at 2039 keV. MAJORANA plans to collaborate with GERDA for a future tonne-scale 76Ge 0νββ search.

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

    CASPAR at SURF


    CASPAR is a low-energy particle accelerator that allows researchers to study processes that take place inside collapsing stars.

    The scientists are using space in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, South Dakota, to work on a project called the Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). CASPAR uses a low-energy particle accelerator that will allow researchers to mimic nuclear fusion reactions in stars. If successful, their findings could help complete our picture of how the elements in our universe are built. “Nuclear astrophysics is about what goes on inside the star, not outside of it,” said Dan Robertson, a Notre Dame assistant research professor of astrophysics working on CASPAR. “It is not observational, but experimental. The idea is to reproduce the stellar environment, to reproduce the reactions within a star.”

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

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

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    From Fermi National Accelerator Lab , an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    via

    GIZMODO bloc

    GIZMODO

    3/20/19
    Ryan F. Mandelbaum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford


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

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

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

    See the full article here.


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    FNAL Icon

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

    FNAL MINERvA front face Photo Reidar Hahn

    FNAL DAMIC

    FNAL Muon g-2 studio

    FNAL Short-Baseline Near Detector under construction

    FNAL Mu2e solenoid

    Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL

    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF

    FNAL/MicrobooNE

    FNAL Don Lincoln

    FNAL/MINOS

    FNAL Cryomodule Testing Facility

    FNAL MINOS Far Detector in the Soudan Mine in northern Minnesota

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

    FNAL/NOvA experiment map

    FNAL NOvA Near Detector

    FNAL ICARUS

    FNAL Holometer

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

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

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

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

    Story by Sanford Lab staff.
    Photos by Matthew Kapust

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    3
    Students reached

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

    Teacher impacts

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

    Comments from teachers using the curriculum units:

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

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

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

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

    3-D teaching and learning

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

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

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

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

    6

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

    7

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

    8

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

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA, will replace LUX at SURF

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

    LUX’s mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

    In the midst of the excitement over first results, the LUX collaboration was already casting its gaze forward. Planning for a next-generation dark matter experiment at Sanford Lab was already under way. Named LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), the next-generation experiment would increase the sensitivity of LUX 100 times.

    SLAC physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.
    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”
    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

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

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


    LBNE

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR will contain 40 kg of germanium; up to 30 kg will be enriched to 86% in 76Ge. The DEMONSTRATOR will be deployed deep underground in an ultra-low-background shielded environment in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, SD. The goal of the DEMONSTRATOR is to determine whether a future 1-tonne experiment can achieve a background goal of one count per tonne-year in a 4-keV region of interest around the 76Ge 0νββ Q-value at 2039 keV. MAJORANA plans to collaborate with GERDA for a future tonne-scale 76Ge 0νββ search.

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

    CASPAR at SURF


    CASPAR is a low-energy particle accelerator that allows researchers to study processes that take place inside collapsing stars.

    The scientists are using space in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, South Dakota, to work on a project called the Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). CASPAR uses a low-energy particle accelerator that will allow researchers to mimic nuclear fusion reactions in stars. If successful, their findings could help complete our picture of how the elements in our universe are built. “Nuclear astrophysics is about what goes on inside the star, not outside of it,” said Dan Robertson, a Notre Dame assistant research professor of astrophysics working on CASPAR. “It is not observational, but experimental. The idea is to reproduce the stellar environment, to reproduce the reactions within a star.”

     
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