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  • richardmitnick 12:18 pm on October 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Underground personnel capacity doubles at Sanford Lab", , LBNF has undertaken multiple projects to ensure worker safety. Working closely with Sanford Lab staff LBNF recently completed an upgrade to emergency systems, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

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

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    October 7, 2019
    Erin Broberg

    LBNF project upgrades refuge chamber, increases evacuation capabilities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    LBNE

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

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

    CASPAR at SURF


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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 9:14 am on October 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "LBNF completes upgrade to Far Site’s underground ventilation system", , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

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

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility


    Homestake Mining Company

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

    September 27, 2019
    Erin Broberg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    FNAL DUNE Near Detector

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

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

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    LBNE

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

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

    CASPAR at SURF


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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 8:39 am on September 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility,   

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

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research Facility


    Homestake Mining Company

    BBC
    From BBC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What is the LUX-ZEPLIN experiment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    How does the detector work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Is it a process of elimination?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/Chandra X-ray Telescope


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    LBNE

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

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

    CASPAR at SURF


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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 1:00 pm on September 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Homestake Mining Company, James Whitlock and Carson Sharp, , , Ray Davis and the Solar Neutrino Experiment, RBCs-Rotating Biological Contactors, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility, Terry Mudder, The bacterium "pseudomonas paucimobilis mudlock", WWTP- $10 million Wastewater Treatment Plant   

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

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility


    Homestake Mining Company

    September 16, 2019
    Erin Broberg

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

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

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

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

    An industrial waste crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    A living, breathing solution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    How it works

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Impacting future operations

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

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

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

    Epilogue

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

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

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

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    LBNE

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

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

    CASPAR at SURF


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

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

     
  • 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.

    2
    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.

    3
    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 .


    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 8:18 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.


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    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, , , 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 .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    LBNE

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

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

    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” 

    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 .

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    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

     
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