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  • richardmitnick 12:42 pm on July 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Commercialization of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From LBNL: “Berkeley Lab to Lead Multimillion-Dollar Geothermal Energy Project” 

    Berkeley Logo

    Berkeley Lab

    July 20, 2017
    Julie Chao
    JHChao@lbl.gov
    (510) 486-6491

    1
    Berkeley Lab scientist Tim Kneafsey demonstrates how he places rock samples, from the Brady Geothermal Field in Nevada, into a stress permeability apparatus, which tests how long a fracture can remain open. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab.)

    The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) will lead a new $9 million project aimed at removing technical barriers to commercialization of enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), a clean energy technology with the potential to power 100 million American homes.

    Berkeley Lab will partner with seven other DOE national labs and six universities to develop field experiments focused on understanding and modeling rock fractures, an essential element of geothermal systems. Scientists will use the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in South Dakota to create small-scale fracture networks in crystalline rock 1,500 meters below ground.

    “We will be putting instrumentation within tens of meters of the fractures and will be able to detect fracturing at a higher resolution than what has ever been done before,” said Berkeley Lab’s Tim Kneafsey, who leads the project. “The goal is to work towards increasing our understanding of fracturing and fluid flow in EGS, which could provide a significant amount of electricity as a large quantity of accessible hot rock lies untapped across the U.S.”

    In geothermal systems, heat acquired from water circulating in rock fractures deep in the Earth’s crust is extracted for conversion to electricity. Conventional geothermal technology is possible only in locations with particular geological characteristics, either near active volcanic centers or in places with a very high temperature gradient, such as much of Nevada and parts of the western United States. These locations have the three components essential to extracting geothermal energy—heat, fluid, and permeability, a measure of how easily fluid can circulate through the rock’s fractures, picking up heat as it moves.

    With EGS, a fracture network can be enhanced or engineered, thus bypassing the geographic limitations of conventional geothermal energy. EGS could eventually provide more than 100 gigawatts (GW) of economically viable electric generating capacity in the continental United States, a huge increase over the current geothermal capacity of 3.5 GW.

    “Although geothermal energy production is already used effectively, there is a lot we need to learn about how to create and develop an EGS reservoir,” Kneafsey said. “This project will seek to understand the relationship between permeability creation and heat extraction in crystalline rocks under certain stress and temperature conditions.”

    Dubbed EGS Collab, the project has been awarded $9 million for the first year by DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office. Other national labs partnering in the project include Sandia, Lawrence Livermore, Idaho, Los Alamos, Pacific Northwest, Oak Ridge, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

    Douglas Blankenship, manager of geothermal research at Sandia National Laboratories, is the co-lead with Kneafsey. Additionally, professors from Stanford University, the University of Wisconsin, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, the Colorado School of Mines, Penn State University, and the University of Oklahoma will also contribute.

    See the full article here .

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

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  • richardmitnick 2:13 pm on July 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CASPAR achieves first beam, , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From SURF: “CASPAR achieves first beam” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    July 17, 2017
    Constance Walter

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    Dan Robertson speaks to a group during the CASPAR first beam ribbon cutting event. Matthew Kapust.

    Nearly two years after the CASPAR collaboration (compact accelerator system for performing astrophysical research) began moving into its home on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab, it celebrated a huge milestone: first beam.

    CASPAR’s accelerator at SURF

    CASPAR at SURF

    “This is a great step forward,” said Frank Strieder, an associate physics professor of physics at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. “We’ve prepared for this for years. It’s exciting moment to have it running and to see the first beam.

    “But we have to also give credit to the people who worked outside the doors,” said Strieder, the principal investigator for CASPAR. “If you can imagine, all of this equipment came down in the Yates shaft with the help of Sanford Lab staff. These are incredible people who work very hard, they supported us in every way to make this happen.”

    Dan Robertson, a research assistant professor with Notre Dame, said it was a special day for the collaboration.

    “Seeing the beam for the first time was really cool—the pay off for the work,” said Dan Robertson, a research assistant professor with Notre Dame. “Today we get to share this accomplishment with other people.”

    Researchers with CASPAR hope to recreate the nuclear fusion processes responsible for energy generation to better understand how stars burn and what elements they create while doing so.

    CASPAR is one of only two underground accelerators in the world. The other has been operating for more than 25 years at the Laboratory for Underground Nuclear Astrophysics (LUNA) in Gran Sasso, Italy.

    LUNA-MV at Gran Sasso

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

    “Installing and operating accelerators underground is a considerable challenge,” said Michael Wiescher, Freimann Professor of Nuclear Physics at the University of Notre Dame. “CASPAR is unique since it covers a broader energy range than the LUNA accelerator. It allows us, for the first time, to explore reactions of stellar helium burning, which take place in stars like Betelgeuse, at laboratory conditions.

    “Through these studies, we will learn about the origin of oxygen and carbon as the most important ingredients of biological life in the universe, and we will learn about the mechanisms stars have developed to produce gradually heavier elements through neutron fusion processes.”

    CASPAR’s 50-foot long accelerator uses radio-frequency energy to produce a beam of protons or alpha particles from hydrogen or helium gas. The ions enter the accelerating tube, which is kept at high vacuum, then are directed down the beamline using magnets. The particles crash into a target, releasing the same neutrons that fuel the nuclear reactions in stars and produce a large amount of the heavy elements.

    With the achievement of first beam, the collaboration is ready to begin full operations.

    “This team worked really hard to make this happen,” said Elizabeth Freer, who served as CASPAR’s project manager for four years. “It’s really exciting to see the whole team get to this point,”

    Manoel Couder, an assistant professor of physics at Notre Dame, agrees. “Two years ago when we were moving in, it was like Christmas. Today, it’s like second Christmas! Now, the science starts.”

    See the full article here .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 3:51 pm on July 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Many deep underground experiments, , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From SA: “Physicists Go Deep in Search of Dark Matter” 

    Scientific American

    Scientific American

    July 11, 2017
    Sarah Scoles

    A laboratory buried nearly a mile beneath South Dakota is at the forefront of a global push for subterranean science.

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    A worker gazes into the darkness of the Sanford Underground Research Facility’s “4850 level,” a cavern nearly a mile deep in the Homestake mine that houses state-of-the-art physics experiments. Credit: Sarah Scoles

    The elevator that lowers them 4,850 feet down a mine shaft to a subterranean physics lab isn’t called an elevator, the physicists tell me. It’s called The Cage. It descends at precisely 7:30 A.M.—the same time it leaves the surface every day—and doesn’t wait around for stragglers.

    I show up on time, and prepare to board with a group of scientists. We look identical: in coveralls blinged out with reflective tape, steel-toed boots, an emergency breathing mask and a lamp that clips to the belt and loops over the shoulder.

    An operator opens the big yellow door, directs us inside and then closes The Cage. Soon it begins bumping down at 500 feet per minute. The operator’s headlamp provides the only light, tracing along the timber that lines the shaft. We descend for 10 minutes, silently imagining the weight of the world above us increasing. Water trickling down the shaft’s walls provides an unsettling sound track.

    This place—the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, S.D.—hosts experiments that can only be conducted deep under Earth’s surface. Entombed beneath the Black Hills by thousands of feet of solid rock, these experiments are shielded from much of the background radiation that bathes the planet’s surface. Here scientists can more easily detect various elusive cosmic messengers that would otherwise be swamped by the sound and fury at the surface—neutrinos that stream from our sun and from distant exploding stars or other hypothetical particles thought to make up the mysterious dark matter that acts as a hidden hand guiding the growth of galaxies. Such particles are so dim that they’re drowned out aboveground: Looking for them there is a bit like looking for a spotlight shining from the sun’s surface. But these are the very particles scientists must study to understand how our universe came to be. And so, from the depths of Earth where even the very closest star does not shine, they are glimpsing some of the most ancient, distant and cataclysmic aspects of the cosmos.

    This place was not always science-centric: For more than 100 years its labyrinth of deep chambers and drippy, dirt-floored tunnels was a gold mine called Homestake. Today, stripped of much of its precious ore, the facility has become a figurative gold mine for researchers as the U.S.’s premier subterranean lab. This fall SURF will debut a new experiment at the frontiers of physics: CASPAR, which mimics the conditions at the cores of stars where atoms of hydrogen and other light elements fuse to release energy, forming as a by-product the more substantial elements required for building asteroids, planets, mines and mammals. This year physicists are also starting to build equipment for an experiment called LUX–ZEPLIN (LZ), which will try to detect particles of dark matter as soon as 2020.

    Lux Zeplin project at SURF

    It is all part of a trend unfolding around (as well as within) the globe, as scientists construct or repurpose buried infrastructure in places like Minnesota, Japan, Italy, China and Finland to peer deep into the cosmos from deep underground, seeking to learn why the universe is the way it is—and maybe how humans got here at all.

    Inside The Cage, the riders have leaned their heads back against the walls, eyes closed for a quiet moment before work. They look up as the elevator lurches to a stop and the door opens onto a rounded, rocky hallway, covered in netting to protect against rock slides and cave-ins. The light is yellow, with a spectrum not unlike the sun’s.

    “Just another day in paradise,” one of the passengers says as the operator releases us into this alien environment. We walk away from The Cage, our only conduit to the surface, and toward the strange science that—like extreme subterranean organisms that survive without sunlight—can only happen here. (LZ), which will try to detect particles of dark matter as soon as 2020.

    Cosmic Messengers in a Mine

    En route to our first destination, the LZ dark-matter experiment, we walk through a section of the mine called the Davis Lab.

    Its name descends from late physicist Ray Davis, who visited the town of Lead in the 1960s with a science experiment in mind. Back then Lead and next-door Deadwood looked much like they look now, with one-floor casinos and a bar bearing a sign that reads “Historic Site Saloon No. 10 Where Wild Bill Was Shot.” Davis had asked the owners of the Homestake Mine if he could use a small slice of that vast space to search for solar neutrinos.

    Neutrinos are nearly massless particles with no electrical charge. They move almost as fast as light itself. They are barely subject to the effects of gravity and are immune to electromagnetism. In fact, they hardly interact with anything at all—a neutrino might just zip straight through the atoms of any corporeal object in the universe in the way a motorcycle can split lanes straight through traffic. Physicists and astronomers love neutrinos because their cosmic shyness keeps them pristine. Each carries imprints, like birthmarks, from the explosions and radioactive decays that unleashed them on the cosmos. By studying them, scientists can learn about the inner workings of supernovae, the first moments after the big bang, and the seething hearts of stars—including our sun, which is what Davis wanted to investigate. In the 1960s, theorists had already predicted that neutrinos should exist, but no one had yet found them in the physical world.

    The mining company decided to let Davis try to become the first person to do so.

    Toiling away on Homestake’s “4850 level”—the “floor” 4,850 feet below the surface—Davis built a neutrino detector that became operational in 1967.

    Sanford Underground levels

    Over the course of the next quarter century he extracted what he came for: actual neutrinos, not just theoretical ones on paper. As the first person to directly detect the particles—and so prove they existed at all—Davis won the 2002 Nobel Prize. He was one of the first to show that, sometimes, to best connect with deep space, humans have to travel farther from it, deep inside the planet itself.

    During the initial decades of the Davis experiment, the Homestake Mine continued sending a steady stream of gold to the surface, ultimately producing nearly three million pounds of the precious metal during its lifetime—the most of any mine in the Western Hemisphere. But in 2002 when the price of an ounce dropped too low for the mine to turn a profit, Barrick Gold Corp. shut it down and later donated the facility to the State of South Dakota.

    The state—with funding from billionaire T. Denny Sanford and the U.S. Department of Energy—expanded on Davis’s legacy and turned the whole operation into a physics lab: today’s SURF, with the original Davis Campus at its core.

    Setting Up Shop

    As we enter the Davis Campus, we snap elastic-ankle booties over our shoes and are gifted a sticker. “It’s always sunny on the 4850,” it says. The evidence does not support this conclusion.

    Our guide, Mark Hanhardt, doesn’t have such a sticker, but he does have a Ghostbusters patch on the upper arm of his coveralls. He later refers to the dark matter that LZ will look for as “ghost particles.” He is, then, the buster to which his patch refers. He’s a jolly guy, with a smile—the eyes-and-mouth kind—always in between his beard and short haircut. An experiment-support scientist, he is also the son of a former Homestake miner called Jim Hanhardt. Jim was laid off when Homestake stopped mining—but he got a different belowground job back when SURF took over, becoming a technical support lead in 2008. For a few years, before his father’s recent death, the two toiled together in this subterranean space—a common story around Lead. Everyone in town seems to know or share blood with someone who works in the lab, because SURF hired back many miners and contracted with local companies for blasting and construction work. Hanhardt’s daily work, then, is carrying on dual legacies—one familial, one scientific. “There’s already been one Nobel from down here,” Hanhardt says, gesturing for us to follow him down the hallway. “Maybe there will be more.”

    Hanhardt walks along the platform toward the high-ceilinged room that SURF employees are currently preparing for LUX-ZEPLIN. Most of the space belongs to an immense and empty water tank—three and a half times as tall as me, and across whose diameter four and a half of me could lie down.

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

    Hanhardt calls it the “giant science bucket.” Once it had been filled with 72,000 gallons of water and shielded an experiment called LUX, which operated from October 2014 to May 2016. At the time LUX was the world’s most sensitive seeker of dark matter—more attuned to the universe’s most mysterious particles than any other experiment on the planet.

    Decades of observations with telescopes have hinted the universe is full of invisible matter that neither emits nor reflects light but outweighs all the visible stars, gas and galaxies combined. This dark matter has apparently shaped some of those galaxies into spirals, and may even be what made their matter glom together into galaxies in the first place. No one knows exactly what the dark matter is made of, but most physicists agree it is likely composed of at least one kind of undiscovered subatomic particle. But just as one cannot say for sure what Sasquatch looks like until you spy one on a remote camera or ensnare one in a trap, scientists can’t say what dark matter is until they capture some.

    LUX tried to do just that. During its nearly yearlong run, a 350-kilogram canister of liquid xenon sat nested like a matryoshka doll inside the giant water tank, which isolated the xenon from the intrepid background of run-of-the-mill cosmic rays that manage to penetrate even this far underground. The xenon, denser than solid aluminum, waited hopefully for hypothetical dark matter particles to tunnel through thousands of feet of earth, ending up in South Dakota after their interstellar—or even intergalactic—journeys. If a particle of dark matter struck an atom of xenon, the collision would produce a flash of light. Electrons would then spin out of the collision, making a second flash. Detectors lining the tank’s interior would pick those up and send a signal back to scientists, who could rewind the reaction to study the particles that first sparked the fireworks.

    In October 2016 SURF scientists began dismantling LUX and carting its xenon, like miners, to the surface. The setup had seen nothing. Dark matter had stayed true to its name.

    To tenacious physicists, that just meant they needed a bigger, better bucket in which to collect dark matter: LUX-ZEPLIN. When it debuts in 2020, this follow-on experiment will still be the best in the world: 70 times as sensitive as its predecessor, thanks in large part to its 10 metric tons of liquid xenon—as compared with LUX the First’s puny third of a metric ton. The scientific collaboration, which involves 250 scientists from the U.S., the U.K., Portugal, Russia and South Korea, launched construction in February.

    Hanhardt sticks his head inside the silvery cylinder of the empty water tank and whispers “Helloooo.” The tiny sound seems to echo almost endlessly, bouncing on the tank walls and throwing itself back at us as evidence of his existence.

    Deep Physics

    SURF occupies one of the world’s deepest scientific spaces, more than twice as far down as the Soudan Underground Laboratory in Minnesota, which is in a former iron mine.

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    Soudan Underground Laboratory in Minnesota.Alamy photos

    The Super-Kamiokande lab, which focuses on neutrinos like Davis did, occupies the Mozumi zinc mine in Japan, 3,300 feet underground.

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

    The deepest physics facility in the world, though, is China’s Jinping Lab, in Sichuan, China which takes advantage of the tunnels beneath a hydroelectric dam.

    4

    It has a dark matter detector and a neutrino experiment called PandaX.

    5

    Using existing infrastructure, as these labs do, means scientists can focus on building their experiments instead of blasting rock. And it means they can rely on local workers who already know how to help maintain the snaking caverns that might otherwise flood, collapse or fill with poisonous gases. Italy is the first country to complete a belowground lab, Gran Sasso, for the express purpose of doing research. It took them 30 years.

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

    Each of these far-flung facilities is racng to be the first to make breakthrough discoveries about elusive dark matter and ghostly neutrinos. But for the end-result science to emerge at its best, the facilities need one another—and one another’s data—to be better, faster and stronger than they can manage on their own. Together, they form an ecosystem that supports science that can’t be done on the surface.

    A Pint-Size Star Is Born

    SURF, since its genesis, has been expanding beyond the Davis Campus to other parts of the mine—of which there are plenty. The new “campus” is so far away that to visit it we take a railway cart, rumbling down darkened tracks through cavernous spaces like pickax-wielders of old. Cool air still blows past us, somehow flowing into this nether realm fresh from the surface world almost a mile above. Hallway lights pass at intervals, glowing then receding in slow, strobelike procession until we reach what is called the Ross Campus and the CASPAR experiment.

    CASPAR’s accelerator at SURF

    CASPAR is a particle accelerator—but one that fits in a regular-size room. A series of tubes, the air sucked from them by vacuum pumps, snakes across tables that run all the way across the room, then bend back into a farther open space. From one end a beam of particles streams through the tubes, its path bent by magnets. At the other end sits a target. When the beam bull’s-eyes it, the collision triggers the fusion processes that happen inside stars, when small atoms join to build larger ones. These processes happen deep inside stellar cores all across the universe, and have created essentially all the elements heavier than helium (elements astronomers call “metals,” even when they are not down in mines).

    All those “metals” comprise you, me, these tubes, this cavity, SURF, the ecosystem of underground labs, Earth and everything you may (or may not) care about. But scientists do not actually understand the details of how stars fuse elements. And because they cannot fly into the center of a star, they have instead traveled toward the center of the planet. Here, shielded from stray radiation and particles that bombard Earth’s surface, they can much more clearly see the particles and radiation from their own experiment, rather than from the sun or space.

    When we arrive, a batch of graduate students and three professors are huddled over several computers, trying to get that beam as just-right as it can be. The mini accelerator itself is on the other side of a door next to them. It looks like a kid’s chemistry set, minus the colorful liquids.

    Physicist Michael Wiescher, from the University of Notre Dame, steps away from his colleagues to tell me what they are doing. He speaks quietly, perhaps trying not to disturb them. He needn’t worry, though: Their attention is as focused as the experiment’s beam.

    That’s because it’s a big day down here: Wiescher and the others, from Notre Dame and the South Dakota School of Mines, are just starting to launch the beam toward their target. Soon they will make their own pint-size stars, farther from outer space than most people ever go. Their first experiments will examine the details of a process called “helium burning.” In the burning’s first stage, an important interaction happens when three helium nuclei alchemize into one carbon—the atom that by definition makes molecules “organic.” In actual stars this only happens with age: After stars like the sun have burned through most of the hydrogen fuel at their cores, and have evolved into red giant stars, they begin to fuse helium instead. But here in SURF, in a bathroom-size setup, CASPAR can learn about burning helium any day the scientists see fit, and so learn how to create again and again the elements that became us—fast-forwarding the sun’s clock while rewinding our own. “It’s not just physics,” says Hanhardt, who stands watch as the team works, “It’s philosophy.” It deals, in other words, in the big questions: How, literally, did we get here? Why, cosmically? These queries have scientific answers but existential implications, the science having moved into territory previously only occupied by religion.

    European researchers, Wiescher tells me, are two years behind in their work on a similar project called LUNA–MV at Gran Sasso.

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    LUNA–MV at Gran Sasso

    China is building its own—JUNA. But CASPAR will (any day now) start cooking first. After the CASPAR team gets a few results on their own, they plan to merge data with some of these other teams, and will let scientists come down to this cave to do their own experiments with the CASPAR equipment. Someday soon—when CASPAR opens up for collaborators, when LZ begins its search—SURF will be robust and bustling in the way of the gold mine’s heyday, back when a single neutrino experiment squatted in a corner.

    One of the computer-focused scientists says, “We have 100 percent beam transmission!” and then a smiling grad student—Thomas Kadlecek, from the South Dakota School of Mines—turns to me and Wiescher. He likes it down here, he says. His grandfather was a miner back when it was Homestake. With that, he quickly turns away again goes back to his work, leaning on a rack of electronics.

    I later find out his grandfather died in Homestake. Just as one generation of stars fuels the next—South Dakota’s previous underground generations inspire the ones that follow. “They identify with the mine,” Wiescher explains. “It’s incredible.”

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  • richardmitnick 12:47 pm on July 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From FNAL: “Contract to design rock conveyor for neutrino experiment awarded” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

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

    July 5, 2017
    Leah Hesla

    If in a few years you happen to travel down Highway 85 in the Black Hills near Lead, South Dakota, you will find yourself passing beneath a new, narrow beam-like structure stretching across the road overhead.

    You’ll be crossing under part of a conveyor system that will be used to transport rock from nearly a mile underground at the former Homestake gold mine — now the Sanford Underground Research Facility — to an enormous open pit on the surface as underground space is carved out to house a giant particle detector.

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    The North Alabama Fabricating Company has been contracted to design and fabricate a rock conveyor to help remove rock from the former Homestake Mine. This effort is to make way for a giant particle detector for the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. The detector will be situated nearly a mile underground. Image: Sanford Lab

    Scientists from the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), an experiment hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, will build and use the mammoth detector to study particles called neutrinos. Understanding these particles is expected to lead to a deeper knowledge of how our universe is put together.

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


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford



    SURF building in Lead SD USA

    On June 28, Fermi Research Alliance LLC, which operates Fermilab, signed a contract with North Alabama Fabricating Company to design and fabricate the pipe conveyor to be installed at Sanford Lab. The contract supports the excavation for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF), the facility that will house and support DUNE.

    “The fabrication and installation of the pipe conveyor will be a major step toward LBNF excavation,” said Mike Headley, executive director of the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, or SDSTA, which owns and operates Sanford Lab. “It’s an exciting milestone, and the SDSTA is proud to support the LBNF team on this project.”

    Fermilab and Sanford Lab staff expect conveyor installation to begin in mid-2018 and continue for six months. Rock removal is expected to take about three years once the conveyor begins operating.

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    The rock conveyor will transport rock excavated from the former Homestake Mine to a nearby open cut. Image: Sanford Lab.

    “The conveyor will transport 875,000 tons of rock — approximately equal to the mass of eight Nimitz class aircraft carriers,” said retired U.S. Navy admiral Chris Mossey, who is now the LBNF project director at Fermilab.

    Like a giant futuristic supermarket checkout lane, the rock conveyor will move rock over a stretch of 3,700 feet while containing dust and debris.

    The conveyor path will take advantage of a long, existing tunnel carved out during Homestake’s gold mining days in the 1930s. The conveyor will start 175 feet underground, make its way to the surface, and continue high above ground until it arrives at the pit, called an open cut, which is roughly two miles wide and 1,200 feet deep. In fact, miners used a similar machine in the 1980s to transport rock away from the open cut as they looked for gold.

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    This is a conceptual illustration of the aboveground portion of the rock conveyor. Image: Sanford Lab.

    LBNF project members have kept in close contact with the city of Lead and its residents regarding rock-handling options, as well as with the State Historic Preservation Office to ensure that cultural aspects of the site are understood and respected. The communication will continue as the design evolves.

    “The design team has worked hard to come up with the right system,” said Fermilab’s Elaine McCluskey, LBNF project manager.

    Excavation for the DUNE detector caverns is expected to be complete in early 2022.

    See the full article here .

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    Fermilab Campus

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

     
  • richardmitnick 3:09 pm on June 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , CERN ProtoDUNE, , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility,   

    From Symmetry: “World’s biggest neutrino experiment moves one step closer” 

    Symmetry Mag

    Symmetry

    06/23/17
    Lauren Biron

    1
    Photo by Maximilien Brice, CERN

    The startup of a 25-ton test detector at CERN advances technology for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

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


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford



    SURF building in Lead SD USA

    In a lab at CERN sits a very important box. It covers about three parking spaces and is more than a story tall. Sitting inside is a metal device that tracks energetic cosmic particles.

    CERN Proto DUNE Maximillian Brice

    This is a prototype detector, a stepping-stone on the way to the future Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). On June 21, it recorded its first particle tracks.

    So begins the largest ever test of an extremely precise method for measuring elusive particles called neutrinos, which may hold the key to why our universe looks the way it does and how it came into being.

    A two-phase detector

    The prototype detector is named WA105 3x1x1 (its dimensions in meters) and holds five active tons—3000 liters—of liquid argon. Argon is well suited to interacting with neutrinos then transmitting the subsequent light and electrons for collection. Previous liquid argon neutrino detectors, such as ICARUS and MicroBooNE, detected signals from neutrinos using wires in the liquid argon. But crucially, this new test detector also holds a small amount of gaseous argon, earning it the special status of a two-phase detector.

    INFN Gran Sasso ICARUS, since moved to FNAL

    FNAL/ICARUS

    FNAL/MicrobooNE

    As particles pass through the detector, they interact with the argon atoms inside. Electrons are stripped off of atoms and drift through the liquid toward an “extraction grid,” which kicks them into the gas. There, large electron multipliers create a cascade of electrons, leading to a stronger signal that scientists can use to reconstruct the particle track in 3D. Previous tests of this method were conducted in small detectors using about 250 active liters of liquid argon.

    “This is the first time anyone will demonstrate this technology at this scale,” says Sebastien Murphy, who led the construction of the detector at CERN.

    The 3x1x1 test detector represents a big jump in size compared to previous experiments, but it’s small compared to the end goal of DUNE, which will hold 40,000 active tons of liquid argon. Scientists say they will take what they learn and apply it (and some of the actual electronic components) to next-generation single- and dual-phase prototypes, called ProtoDUNE.

    The technology used for both types of detectors is a time projection chamber, or TPC. DUNE will stack many large modules snugly together like LEGO blocks to create enormous DUNE detectors, which will catch neutrinos a mile underground at Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota. Overall development for liquid argon TPCs has been going on for close to 40 years, and research and development for the dual-phase for more than a decade. The idea for this particular dual-phase test detector came in 2013.

    “The main goal [with WA105 3x1x1] is to demonstrate that we can amplify charges in liquid argon detectors on the same large scale as we do in standard gaseous TPCs,” Murphy says.

    By studying neutrinos and antineutrinos that travel 800 miles through the Earth from the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory [FNAL] to the DUNE detectors, scientists aim to discover differences in the behavior of matter and antimatter. This could point the way toward explaining the abundance of matter over antimatter in the universe. The supersensitive detectors will also be able to capture neutrinos from exploding stars (supernovae), unveiling the formation of neutron stars and black holes. In addition, they allow scientists to hunt for a rare phenomenon called proton decay.

    “All the R&D we did for so many years and now want to do with ProtoDUNE is the homework we have to do,” says André Rubbia, the spokesperson for the WA105 3x1x1 experiment and former co-spokesperson for DUNE. “Ultimately, we are all extremely excited by the discovery potential of DUNE itself.”

    2
    One of the first tracks in the prototype detector, caused by a cosmic ray. André Rubbia

    Testing, testing, 3-1-1, check, check

    Making sure a dual-phase detector and its electronics work at cryogenic temperatures of minus 184 degrees Celsius (minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit) on a large scale is the primary duty of the prototype detector—but certainly not its only one. The membrane that surrounds the liquid argon and keeps it from spilling out will also undergo a rigorous test. Special cryogenic cameras look for any hot spots where the liquid argon is predisposed to boiling away and might cause voltage breakdowns near electronics.

    After many months of hard work, the cryogenic team and those working on the CERN neutrino platform have already successfully corrected issues with the cryostat, resulting in a stable level of incredibly pure liquid argon. The liquid argon has to be pristine and its level just below the large electron multipliers so that the electrons from the liquid will make it into the gaseous argon.

    “Adding components to a detector is never trivial, because you’re adding impurities such as water molecules and even dust,” says Laura Manenti, a research associate at the University College London in the UK. “That is why the liquid argon in the 311—and soon to come ProtoDUNEs—has to be recirculated and purified constantly.”

    While ultimately the full-scale DUNE detectors will sit in the most intense neutrino beam in the world, scientists are testing the WA105 3x1x1 components using muons from cosmic rays, high-energy particles arriving from space. These efforts are supported by many groups, including the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

    The plan is now to run the experiment, gather as much data as possible, and then move on to even bigger territory.

    “The prospect of starting DUNE is very exciting, and we have to deliver the best possible detector,” Rubbia says. “One step at a time, we’re climbing a large mountain. We’re not at the top of Everest yet, but we’re reaching the first chalet.”

    See the full article here .

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
  • richardmitnick 7:56 pm on June 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Homestake Mine in South Dakota, , Ray Davis, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From FNAL: “Neutrinos: the ghost particles” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

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

    June 2, 2017
    Mike Albrow

    1
    Scientist Ray Davis went hunting for neutrinos using a detector in the Homestake Mine in South Dakota. Photo: DOE

    Imagine: It is 1960 and you (or more likely your dad) meet a young man in a pub. He tells you his name is Ray, and you think he must be mad. He says he wants to go down a gold mine a mile underground to try to see inside the sun in the middle of the night. Or day, it doesn’t matter, because he is not using light but “invisible rays,” or particles, that go right through Earth like ghosts. He is a scientist, Ray Davis Jr., and is not mad. Forty years later he wins the Nobel Prize. The particles are called neutrinos, Italian for “little neutral ones”.

    This story starts in Victorian times, with a huge puzzle. Charles Darwin had convinced biologists that all life has been evolving from simple forms for hundreds of millions of years. But, at the rate the sun is shining, without some unknown fuel it would burn out in less than 20 million years.

    By the 1920s we had an answer. Einstein had shown that matter can be converted into energy. Nuclear reactions like those in a hydrogen bomb could be the mystery source. But as often happens in science, getting an answer leads to more mysteries.

    The energy in nuclear reactions studied in the laboratory didn’t add up. Not enough energy came out of a radioactive nucleus. But scientists know that energy cannot just disappear — it is conserved — so something must be taking it away. In 1930 Wolfgang Pauli suggested they could be tiny particles, like electrons without any electric charge, calling them neutrinos.

    In 1956 Pauli got a telegram: Neutrinos had been discovered coming out of a nuclear reactor. Then Ray Davis had that wild idea. Perhaps he could detect neutrinos coming from the nuclear reactions in the sun. Down the mine, he filled a tank with 100,000 gallons of dry-cleaning fluid.

    Eventually he extracted a few radioactive argon atoms from chlorine changed by neutrinos from the sun. But something was wrong. Theoretically he should find about two atoms per day, but he found even fewer. Was the giant nuclear reactor in the center of the sun shutting down? If so, we might not know for thousands of years. Then: serious global freezing!

    The answer is amazing, and next time I will explain. If you can’t wait, check Fermilab’s site, http://www.fnal.gov, about experiments studying these “ghost particles.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Fermilab Campus

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

     
  • richardmitnick 9:23 pm on May 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , From Start to Ready for Science, , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility, The Davis Campus: Built for world class science   

    From SURF: “The Davis Campus: Built for world class science” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    5.30.17
    This article was written by Constance Walter, Matthew Kapust, and Christel Peters.
    Photography contributed by Matthew Kapust, Steve Babbitt and Roy Kaltschmidt.

    In 2012 the Davis Campus was the dedicated as the deepest underground science laboratory in the United States.

    1

    When you walk into the Davis Campus at Sanford Underground Research Facility, it’s easy to forget you are nearly a mile underground. Bright lights, white walls, freshly ventilated air and modern technology surround you. The only difference between this lab space and a similar one on the surface? The lack of windows.

    Dedicated in 2012, this world-class research facility hosts two leading physics experiments in neutrino and dark matter research. The experiments go deep underground to escape the constant bombardment of cosmic radiation.

    In the above left photo, Wendy Zawada Straub, former project engineer, stands on a muck pile in the Davis Cavern. The photo on the right is the same cavern after the lab was completed.

    Throughout this page, you’ll see numbers that represent deliveries to the 4850 Level during construction of the Davis Campus and quotes from people who were involved in the project.

    This is the story of how the Davis Campus came to be.

    3

    Dedicated to science

    On May 30, 2012, the Davis Campus opened its doors to science. Governor Dennis Daugaard, philanthropist T. Denny Sanford and other dignitaries attended a dedication ceremony on the 4850 Level. John Wilkerson, principal investigator for the Majorana Demonstrator project, spoke to dignitaries and reporters in the space that would become the home to Majorana’s class-100 cleanroom.

    “I’m incredibly proud of this facility,” said Mike Headley, executive director of the SDSTA. “The dedication of our employees, science collaborators and partners made all of this possible. The Davis Campus gives the United States an edge in the race to learn more about the origins of the universe.”

    4

    A world-class space…

    The Davis Cavern originally housed Dr. Raymond Davis Jr.’s solar neutrino experiment and was redesigned and enlarged for dark matter experiments. The first, the Large Underground Xenon experiment (LUX), operated from 2013 to 2016. The Davis Cavern gave the experiment the environment it needed to become the most sensitive dark matter detector in the world.

    When the Davis Campus became operational, so did LUX,” said Rick Gaitskell, spokesperson for LUX. “So the Davis felt like home from the first day we were able to use it for physics.”

    This state-of-the-art laboratory features a 72,000-gallon (272,549 liters) water tank, which serves as additional shielding from cosmic radiation; and a water-deionization system, cleanroom and control room for researchers. The researchers outfitted the Davis Cavern with a xenon purification system, servers, electronics and the experiment, itself. All will be in service once again for the next-generation dark matter experiment, LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ).

    Read more about LUX

    5

    For world-class science

    The Majorana demonstrator experiment is so sensitive, even a tiny speck of dust could ruin the results. The Davis Campus was engineered to provide clean filtered air to create one of the cleanest spaces on earth.

    “Having this space, allows us to make an important contribution in the global search for neutrinoless double-beta decay,” said John Wilkerson, principal investigator for the Majorana Demonstrator. “It has been a wonderful experience and privilege to work together with the Majorana and SURF teams to build this experiment.”

    The Majorana lab spaces feature a class-100 clean room; the deepest, cleanest cleanroom machine shop in the United States; and an electroforming laboratory in which copper is grown to build the experiment.

    Read more about Majorana

    In what was once an environment in which miners carried pickaxes and shovels to mine for ore, scientists now carry computers and other technology into clean laboratory spaces to perform world-leading research.

    Transforming a former gold mine into a world-class research facility located nearly a mile underground, took meticulous planning and organization. Specialized materials and equipment couldn’t be found at a hardware store. And if you forgot your tools—or lunch—on the surface, you were just out of luck. At least until the next scheduled cage.

    It took a village of engineers, geologists, technicians, construction workers, electricians, administrators, information technologists and scientists to build the Davis Campus.

    Here’s how we did it.

    6

    Out with old…

    In the mid-1960s, Dr. Ray Davis Jr. began building his solar neutrino experiment on the 4850 Level. The Davis Campus is named for this Nobel-Prize winning scientist.

    After nearly three decades of operations, the experiment was abandoned and the remnants left behind. One of the first steps we took in preparing to build this facility was to remove the 100,000-gallon (378,541 liters) tank (pictured above).

    Luke Scott, an infrastructure technician, was a member of the team that helped remove the stainless steel structure. “When I first walked into the space, I thought, ‘we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.'” He was right.

    The tank was cut apart and stored in an empty drift three miles away. A support ring from the tank was later recovered and is on display outside the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center in Lead.

    Read more about the Davis Experiment

    7

    An empty slate

    With the removal of the Davis tank, engineers and geologists began inspecting the cavern and planning the design for a dedicated state-of-the-art research facility. The existing cavern needed to be enlarged for the LUX experiment and a new cavern excavated for the Majorana experiment and the common corridor.

    Building required teamwork and planning for safety purposes, efficiency and success.

    Bryce Pietzyk, underground access director, remembers some of the challenges the teams faced. “Logistically, trying to find ways to fit large equipment and materials into a tight space was a challenge,” said Pietzyk. “But all of the teams worked together to come up with solutions.”

    Once the necessary elements were in place, the cavern was ready for crews to begin blasting and installing ground support.

    “I was here when we gained access to the underground and for initial dewatering. I had been fortunate enough to visit Soudan Lab in Minnesota, Gran Sasso in Italy and SNO Lab in Canada, so I had a pretty good picture of what the Davis Campus could become. You could say its like buying a home. You have to look past the flaws—the pink walls and bad carpet. We had to get past the muck and leftovers from when the site was 300 feet underwater and envision what it could be.”

    —Mike Headley, executive director, South Dakota Science and Technology Authority

    2,000

    It took 2,000 cubic yards of engineered fill to cover the floor (1,529 cubic meters).

    8

    Carving a new space

    Excavating a new cavern to house the Majorana experiment had its own set of challenges to overcome. David Vardiman, a geotechnical engineer, recalled the difficulty in hauling excavated rock miles away to another underground area for disposal.

    “It was an arduous and difficult process that was not easily done. It required a lot of manual labor and a lot of specialized procedures to do it safely,” said Vardiman. “We were successful because we were very good at overcoming challenges and adversity.”

    The intent was for the design to last more than fifty years as a safe, permanent space in which scientists could work.

    “This was an incredibly heroic effort,” Vardiman said.

    525.6

    The amount of cubic yards (402 cubic meters) of concrete, which came in 300 bags each weighing 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms).

    9

    Ground support

    Developing a permanent space for science, required additional efforts to stabilize and strengthen the caverns. Ground support pins the rock together in a strong configuration, like a Roman arch, distributing the load and ensuring openings remain intact. Bolts reinforce the rock, while shotcrete and steel mesh keep smaller rocks from popping loose, providing a strengthening buttress effect that supports the opening.

    In a mining operation, ground support is temporary. But excavating for a large-scale, long-term underground construction project, requires more stringent standards for ground support design.

    “We had to change the standards and protocols to bring them into a civil engineering quality standard,” Vardiman said.

    “It was a pretty big team effort. Everybody on the crew takes pride in it. I’m proud of the guys that worked with me. They were highly dedicated and knowledgeable. They are great at what they do.”

    —Luke Scott, infrastructure technician

    10

    Building a “ship” in a bottle

    Building a 30,000-square-foot (2,787 square meters) research campus nearly a mile underground was like building a ship in a bottle. Everything, from bolts to concrete to ductwork and people, had to be lowered down the Yates Shaft inside a 6-foot (1.8 meters) by 12-foot (3.7 meters) compartment. Most materials could be loaded inside the cage, but larger equipment, like this batch plant (cement mixer), had to be slung under the cage then lowered to the 4850 Level.

    Kevin Bauer, a hoist operator at Sanford Lab, said, “Once it’s under the cage, it’s just a matter of running the hoist at a slow and steady speed.”

    11

    Tight spaces

    Once underground, everything is moved by rail. But space is tight, so timing of the deliveries is critical. For example, you don’t want to have 10 pallets of lead bricks in an area when there is only room for five.

    “Buying the nicest sofa in the show room is a great idea, until it doesn’t fit through your front door,” said David Vardiman. The same is true for any materials used in underground lab construction. For example, the LUX tank came down in pieces then was welded together in the Davis Cavern.

    “We overcame many challenges and I credit the incredible skill of our staff and contractors. We had a very strong partnership with science, the SDSTA and contractors and that allowed us to achieve this high level of success.”

    —Mike Headley, executive director

    12
    Bolting and wire mesh are the first line of defense in ground support. However, in laboratories spaces underground, we use an additional layer of protection. Shotcrete, a spray-on form of concrete is vital to constructing a safe space.

    “The biggest challenge was trying to get the shotcrete mixed in a short time period going from a dry product to a wet product,” said Pietzyk.

    In this photo, an engineer examines the recently shotcreted Transition Cavern.

    13

    In addition to providing a safe infrastructure for the space, shotcreting helped make the Davis Campus look like more than just an underground mining cavern.

    “It was kind of like seeing the mine come to life again after it had laid dormant for so long,” said Zawada-Straub. “It was really exciting.”

    This is what the Davis Cavern looked like after shotcrete was applied.

    “The proof is in the pudding! The facility is performing to design expectations and beyond. I’m quite proud of the work our crews did.”

    —David Vardiman, project engineer

    13

    Outfitting begins

    With the completion of shotcrete, the SDSTA awarded an $8.1 million contract to Ainsworth Benning Construction of Spearfish to outfit the Davis Campus. Ainsworth-Benning constructed the concrete floors, lab modules, cleanrooms, air-handling infrastructure, electricity, fiber optic data cables and plumbing.

    “The guys from Ainsworth-Benning were proud of being a part of this project and blown away at what they had done,” said Mike Headley, executive director of Sanford Lab. “James Benning said he was struck by the significance this facility—built in South Dakota—would have on science on a global stage.”

    “It was a wonderful experience and a privilege to work together with the Majorana and SURF teams to build the demonstrator. From hoist operations, to the warehouse, to technical support, the staff was always there to provide support. And the dedication to excellence was always apparent.”

    —John Wilkerson, principal investigator for the Majorana Demonstrator

    29 tons
    of steel rebar were lowered 4,000 pounds (1,814 kilograms) at a time.

    13,000
    cement blocks were used to build walls in the facility.

    14
    This circular wooden frame was built to form a concrete ring to hold the 72,000-gallon (272,549 liters) water tank that would house the LUX dark matter detector.

    15
    The LUX water tank was transported in pieces and welded together in the Davis Cavern.

    “It feels good to know that it’s been able to operate for science without needing much in the way of maintenance or repair. Now, seeing the science happen is neat.”

    —Bryce Pietzyk, underground access director

    75,000
    pounds of rectangular ductwork. (34019 kilograms)

    80,000
    pounds of spiral ductwork. (36287 kilograms)

    15

    Entrance before outfitting

    This photo shows the entrance to the Davis Campus prior to outfitting. The drift on the left is part of the new excavation which would become the main entrance to the campus. On the right is the original access drift that Ray Davis would have walked to work on his neutrino experiment.

    16

    Entrance after outfitting

    Today the entrance to the Davis Campus is a finished space. All personnel, water, air, electricity, and data enter and exit here. The drift on the right is used for delivery of liquid nitrogen and as a secondary exit from the main campus.

    “It doesn’t get any better than the moment we were standing in the Davis with the LUX detector.”

    —Wendy Zawada Straub, former project engineer for the Davis Campus

    30
    miles of wiring. (48 kilometers)

    7
    miles of electrical conduit. (11 kilometers)

    17

    The Common Corridor

    This hallway is known as the Common Corridor. It is a shared space where scientists can access both experiments. Lab spaces for Majorana are at the left and access to the dark matter experiment is at the far end of the hall. Click on the link below to watch a time lapse video of this space as it was outfitted.

    Watch time lapse

    18

    Majorana

    John Wilkerson admires the new assembly space for the Majorana Demonstrator. Over the next 5 years he and his team of researchers, engineers will build the demonstrator. See the link before for a time lapse video of the assembly.

    Watch time lapse

    “This was far-sighted planning by Sanford Lab and something I wish we had been able to do with previous underground experiments as it ensured we had many engineering details worked out before going underground.”

    —Rick Gaitskell, LUX spokesperson

    19

    Ready for Science

    The top floor of the Davis Cavern is ready for the LUX to move in. Stairs on the left lead to the ground floor and a control room on the right is used as a work space for researchers. Watch a time lapse video from the outfitting of this cavern.

    Watch time lapse

    20

    A dark matter house

    This 72,000-gallon ((272,549 liters) water tank serves as shielding and a veto system for the LUX experiment. The LUX detector was assembled in a laboratory on the surface and brought underground to be installed in this tank. Below is a link to a time lapse video of the 2-day journey LUX took from the surface to the Davis Campus.

    The success of the Davis Campus project comes down to teamwork and partnership. The entire project was a success in terms of safety, as evidenced by only one recordable injury occurring throughout the work. Safety continues to be a priority at the facility. Addressing safety in a long-term underground facility is very different from how you approach it in mining. “It’s a much higher bar,” said Headley.

    Continued safety checks and maintenance prove that the site is holding that bar up above standards. “When I’m doing inspections of the Davis Campus,” said Vardiman, “I’m looking at the shotcrete, I’m looking for cracks, I’m looking for failures in the stressed environment and the system of the design. I’ve seen none yet. It is performing to design expectations and beyond. I’m quite proud of the work that our crews did.”

    “This dedication to safety and quality production is evidenced by the fact that team members can focus on other construction and projects at the facility without the hassle of constant repairs and maintenance. The Davis Campus is able to operate and doesn’t need a lot of maintenance,” said Pietzyk.

    See the full article here .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 7:56 am on March 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility,   

    From U Wisconsin via SURF : “Dark matter detection receives 10-ton upgrade” 

    SURF

    U Wisconsin

    University of Wisconsin

    1
    The LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter experiment will be located one mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota, in a cavern within the former Homestake gold mine. Illustration: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory


    Lux Zeplin project at SURF

    In an abandoned gold m­­­ine one mile beneath Lead, South Dakota, the cosmos quiets down enough to potentially hear the faint whispers of the universe’s most elusive material — dark matter.


    SURF bilding in Lead SD USA

    Shielded from the deluge of cosmic rays constantly showering the Earth’s surface, and scrubbed of noisy radioactive metals and gasses, the mine, scientists think, will be the ideal setting for the most sensitive dark matter experiment to date. Known as LUX-ZEPLIN, the experiment will launch in 2020 and will listen for a rare collision between a dark matter particle with 10 tons of liquid xenon.

    Ten University of Wisconsin–Madison scientists are involved in designing and testing the detector, and are part of a team of more than 200 researchers from 38 institutions in five countries working on the project. This month, the Department of Energy approved proceeding with the final stages of assembly and construction of LZ at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota, with a total project cost of $55 million. Additional support comes from international collaborators in the United Kingdom, South Korea and Portugal, as well as the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority. The researchers’ goal is to take the experiment online as quickly as possible to compete in a global race to be the first to detect dark matter.

    3
    Scientists install a miniversion of the future LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter detector at a test stand. The white container is a prototype of the detector’s core. SLAC National Acceleratory Laboratory

    In the 1930s, as astronomers studied the rotation of distant galaxies, they noticed that there wasn’t enough matter — stars, planets, hot gas — to hold the galaxies together through gravity. There had to be some extra mass that helped bind all the visible material together, but it was invisible, missing.

    Dark matter, scientists believe, comprises that missing mass, contributing a powerful gravitational counterbalance that keeps galaxies from flying apart. Although dark matter has so far proven to be undetectable, there may be a lot of it — about five times more than regular matter.

    “Dark matter particles could be right here in the room streaming through your head, perhaps occasionally running into one of your atoms,” says Duncan Carlsmith, a professor of physics at UW–Madison.

    One proposed explanation for dark matter is weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs, particles that usually pass undetected through normal matter but which may, on occasion, bump into it. The LZ experiment, and similar projects in Italy and China, are designed to detect — or rule out — WIMPs in the search to explain this ghostly material.

    The detector is set up like an enormous bell capable of ringing in response to the lightest tap from a dark matter particle. Nestled within two outer chambers designed to detect and remove contaminating particles lies a chamber filled with 10 tons of liquid xenon. If a piece of dark matter runs into a xenon atom, the xenon will collide with its neighbors, producing a burst of ultraviolet light and releasing electrons.

    Moments later, the free electrons will excite the xenon gas at the top of the chamber and release a second, brighter burst of light. More than 500 photomultiplier tubes will watch for these signals, which together can discriminate between a contaminating particle and true dark matter collisions.

    Kimberly Palladino, an assistant professor of physics at UW–Madison, and graduate student Shaun Alsum were part of the research team for LUX, the predecessor to LZ, which set records searching for WIMPs. Building on their experience from the previous experiment, Palladino, Alsum, graduate student Jonathan Nikoleyczik and undergraduate researchers are conducting simulations of dark matter collisions and prototyping the particle detector to increase the sensitivity of LZ and more stringently discard signals produced by ordinary matter.

    3
    The heart of the LZ detector will be a 5-foot-tall chamber filled with 10 tons of liquid xenon. Hopes are that hypothetical dark matter particles will produce flashes of light as they traverse the detector. Illustration: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    The LZ project is “doing science the way you want to do science,” says Palladino, explaining how the collaboration provides the time, funding and expertise needed to address fundamental questions about the nature of the universe.

    The success of LZ depends in part on excluding contaminating materials, including reactive chemicals and trace amounts of radioactive elements, from the xenon, which relies on engineering prowess provided by UW–Madison’s Physical Sciences Laboratory. Jeff Cherwinka, chief engineer of the LZ project and a PSL mechanical engineer, is overseeing assembly of the dark matter detector in a special facility scrubbed of radioactive radon and is designing a system to continuously remove gas that leaches out of the xenon chamber lining. Together with PSL engineer Terry Benson, Cherwinka is also designing the xenon storage system to prevent any radioactive elements from leaking in during transport and installation.

    “It’s one of the strengths of the university that we have the engineering and manufacturing expertise to contribute to these big-scale projects,” says Cherwinka. “It helps UW gain more stake in these projects.”

    Meanwhile, Carlsmith and Sridhara Dasu, also a UW–Madison professor of physics, are designing computational systems to manage and analyze the data coming out of the detector in order to be ready to listen for dark matter collisions as soon as LZ is turned on in 2020. Once operational, LZ will quickly approach the fundamental limit of its detection capacity, the background noise of particles streaming out of the sun.

    4
    Kimberly Palladino, an assistant professor of physics at UW–Madison, works to assemble a prototype of the dark matter detection chamber. SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

    “In a year, if there are no WIMPs, or if they interact too weakly, we’ll see nothing,” says Carlsmith. The experiment is expected to operate for at least five years to confirm any initial observations and set new limits on potential interactions between WIMPs and ordinary matter.

    Other experiments, including Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center projects IceCube, HAWC, and CTA, are searching for the signatures of dark matter annihilation events as independent and indirect methods to investigate the nature of dark matter. In addition, UW–Madison scientists are working at the Large Hadron Collider, searching for evidence that dark matter is produced during high energy particle collisions. This combination of efforts provides the best opportunity yet for uncovering more about the nature of dark matter, and with it the evolution and structure of our universe.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    In achievement and prestige, the University of Wisconsin–Madison has long been recognized as one of America’s great universities. A public, land-grant institution, UW–Madison offers a complete spectrum of liberal arts studies, professional programs and student activities. Spanning 936 acres along the southern shore of Lake Mendota, the campus is located in the city of Madison.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:27 am on March 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Last but not least the poly shield, , , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From SURF: “Last, but not least, the poly shield” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    March 13, 2017
    Constance Walter

    1
    Vince Guiseppe stands next to an extra lead brick monolith, which keeps the shield sealed if a working module needs to be removed for service. Credit: Constance Walter

    For nearly seven years, the Majorana Demonstrator Project’s “shield team” has been building the six-layered shield that surrounds the experiment on the 4850 Level. In early March, they placed the last piece of polyethylene on the outermost layer of the shield.

    “I’m proud of what the team has produced,” said Vince Guiseppe, assistant professor of physics at the University of South Carolina. “This was a complicated project. Every layer was added at the right time and fit perfectly.”


    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment

    The Majorana collaboration uses germanium crystals to look for a rare form of radioactive decay called neutrinoless double-beta decay. The discovery could determine whether the neutrino is its own antiparticle. Its detection could help explain why matter exists. The shield is critical to the success of the experiment.

    Each layer of the shield was designed to target certain forms of radiation. “The closer the layer is to the experiment, the greater its impact,” Guiseppe said.

    The most important layer is the electroformed copper that sits closest to the experiment. Comprised of 40, half-inch thick copper plates, it was grown and machined underground. “This is clearly the hallmark of our shield system in terms of purity and cleanliness protocols,” Guiseppe said. Surrounding that portion of the shield, is a 2-inch thick layer of ultrapure commercial copper.

    Next is a “castle” built with 3,400 lead bricks. Two portable monoliths, each holding 570 bricks, support the cryostats filled with strings of germanium detectors and cryogenic hardware, what Guiseppe calls “the heart of the experiment.”

    An aluminum box encapsulating the lead castle protects the experiment from naturally occurring radon. Every minute, the team injects eight liters of nitrogen gas to purge the air within the enclosure. “We don’t want any lab air getting in.”

    Attached to the aluminum box are scintillating plastic “veto panels” designed to detect muons, the most penetrating of all cosmic rays.

    Finally, there’s the 12 inches of polyethylene enclosing the entire experiment, including the cryogenics (chilled water heat exchangers moderate the temperature). The poly slows down neutrons that could cause very rare backgrounds. Why worry about such rare events? High-energy neutrons can bounce through just about anything, including the 22 inches of lead and copper shielding. If a neutron hits a copper atom, it could create a gamma ray right next to the experiment.

    “The poly is the final defense against backgrounds in an experiment that requires extreme quiet,” Guiseppe said.

    The entire shield, weighing 145,000 pounds, rests on an over floor made of steel with channels for the poly.

    Jared Thompson, a research assistant, began his work with Majorana in 2010, etching lead bricks for the shield. In fact, in March 2014, he placed the last brick on the castle. And he was part of the group that recently placed the last piece of poly.

    “It’s really exciting,” Thompson said. “A complete shield could mean a whole new data set down the road.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 2:46 pm on March 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: CERN Proto Dune, , , Researchers face engineering puzzle, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility, , Transporting Argon   

    From Symmetry: “Researchers face engineering puzzle” 

    Symmetry Mag

    Symmetry

    03/07/17
    Daniel Garisto

    How do you transport 70,000 tons of liquid argon nearly a mile underground?


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF

    Nearly a mile below the surface of Lead, South Dakota, scientists are preparing for a physics experiment that will probe one of the deepest questions of the universe: Why is there more matter than antimatter?
    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF, Lead, South Dakota, USA


    SURF


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford Lab

    Because neutrinos interact with matter so rarely and so weakly, DUNE scientists need a lot of material to create a big enough target for the particles to run into. The most widely available (and cost effective) inert substance that can do the job is argon, a colorless, odorless element that makes up about 1 percent of the atmosphere.

    The researchers also need to place the detector full of argon far below Earth’s surface, where it will be protected from cosmic rays and other interference.

    “We have to transfer almost 70,000 tons of liquid argon underground,” says David Montanari, a Fermilab engineer in charge of the experiment’s cryogenics. “And at this point we have two options: We can either transfer it as a liquid or we can transfer it as a gas.”

    Either way, this move will be easier said than done.

    Liquid or gas?

    The argon will arrive at the lab in liquid form, carried inside of 20-ton tanker trucks. Montanari says the collaboration initially assumed that it would be easier to transport the argon down in its liquid form—until they ran into several speed bumps.

    Transporting liquid vertically is very different from transporting it horizontally for one important reason: pressure. The bottom of a mile-tall pipe full of liquid argon would have a pressure of about 3000 pounds per square inch—equivalent to 200 times the pressure at sea level. According to Montanari, to keep these dangerous pressures from occurring, multiple de-pressurizing stations would have to be installed throughout the pipe.

    Even with these depressurizing stations, safety would still be a concern. While argon is non-toxic, if released into the air it can reduce access to oxygen, much like carbon monoxide does in a fire. In the event of a leak, pressurized liquid argon would spill out and could potentially break its vacuum-sealed pipe, expanding rapidly to fill the mine as a gas. One liter of liquid argon would become about 800 liters of argon gas, or four bathtubs’ worth.

    Even without a leak, perhaps the most important challenge in transporting liquid argon is preventing it from evaporating into a gas along the way, according to Montanari.

    To remain a liquid, argon is kept below a brisk temperature of minus 180 degrees Celsius (minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit).

    “You need a vacuum-insulated pipe that is a mile long inside a mine shaft,” Montanari says. “Not exactly the most comfortable place to install a vacuum-insulated pipe.”

    To avoid these problems, the cryogenics team made the decision to send the argon down as gas instead.

    Routing the pipes containing liquid argon through a large bath of water will warm it up enough to turn it into gas, which will be able to travel down through a standard pipe. Re-condensers located underground act as massive air conditioners will then cool the gas until becomes a liquid again.

    “The big advantage is we no longer have vacuum insulated pipe,” Montanari says. “It is just straight piece of pipe.”

    Argon gas poses much less of a safety hazard because it is about 1000 times less dense than liquid argon. High pressures would be unlikely to build up and necessitate depressurizing stations, and if a leak occurred, it would not expand as much and cause the same kind of oxygen deficiency.

    The process of filling the detectors with argon will take place in four stages that will take almost two years, Montanari says. This is due to the amount of available cooling power for re-condensing the argon underground. There is also a limit to the amount of argon produced in the US every year, of which only so much can be acquired by the collaboration and transported to the site at a time.

    1
    Illustration by Ana Kova

    Argon for answers

    Once filled, the liquid argon detectors will pick up light and electrons produced by neutrino interactions.

    Part of what makes neutrinos so fascinating to physicists is their habit of oscillating from one flavor—electron, muon or tau—to another. The parameters that govern this “flavor change” are tied directly to some of the most fundamental questions in physics, including why there is more matter than antimatter. With careful observation of neutrino oscillations, scientists in the DUNE collaboration hope to unravel these mysteries in the coming years.

    “At the time of the Big Bang, in theory, there should have been equal amounts of matter and antimatter in the universe,” says Eric James, DUNE’s technical coordinator. That matter and antimatter should have annihilated, leaving behind an empty universe. “But we became a matter-dominated universe.”

    James and other DUNE scientists will be looking to neutrinos for the mechanism behind this matter favoritism. Although the fruits of this labor won’t appear for several years, scientists are looking forward to being able to make use of the massive detectors, which are hundreds of times larger than current detectors that hold only a few hundred tons of liquid argon.

    Currently, DUNE scientists and engineers are working at CERN to construct Proto-DUNE, a miniature replica of the DUNE detector filled with only 300 tons of liquid argon that can be used to test the design and components.


    CERN Proto DUNE Maximillian Brice

    “Size is really important here,” James says. “A lot of what we’re doing now is figuring out how to take those original technologies which have already being developed… and taking it to this next level with bigger and bigger detectors.”

    To search for that answer, the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, or DUNE, will look at minuscule particles called neutrinos. A beam of neutrinos will travel 800 miles through the Earth from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to the Sanford Underground Research Facility, headed for massive underground detectors that can record traces of the elusive particles.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.


     
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