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  • richardmitnick 9:33 am on October 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Hefty WIMP Detector, , Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment, LZ experiment a $70 million upgrade and unification of the LUX and the UK-based ZEPLIN III teams, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility, UCSB- University of California Santa Barvara, , Xenon1T project at Gran Sasso located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy   

    From UC Santa Barbara: “A Hefty WIMP Detector” 

    UC Santa Barbara Name bloc
    From UC Santa Barbara

    October 15, 2018
    Harrison Tasoff

    Installation of a detector designed by UC Santa Barbara physicists is underway at the LZ dark matter experiment.

    LBNL LZ project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

    LZ Dark Matter Experiment at SURF lab

    UC Santa Barbara postdoctoral scientist Sally Shaw stands with one of the four large acrylic tanks fabricated for the LZ dark matter experiment’s outer detector.

    There’s a big hole in our current understanding of what makes up the universe. Normal matter — the stuff in people, planets and pulsars — can account for only 16 percent of the mass in the universe. Scientists know there’s more out there because they can see its effects: Its gravity bends light from distant sources and keeps galaxies from spinning themselves apart.

    Coma cluster via NASA/ESA Hubble

    Fritz Zwicky, Fritz Zwicky, the Father of Dark Matter research public domain

    Fritz Zwicky discovered Dark Matter by his study of the Coma Cluster. His work was aided by Vera Rubin

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

    Dark matter doesn’t appear to interact with normal matter via electromagnetism or through the strong nuclear force, which is known for binding particles together in the nuclei of atoms. Aside from gravity, that leaves one other force: the weak force, which is involved in radioactive decay. A leading hypothesis is that dark matter may be composed of exotic particles that have a high mass and interact with normal matter only through gravity and the weak force. Scientists call these weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs, and the search is on to find out if they exist.

    UC Santa Barbara physics professors Harry Nelson and Michael Witherell (now the director of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory) have researched dark matter since the 1980s. About 10 years ago, some of their collaborators proved that liquid xenon was a superb medium for detecting WIMPs. Nelson and Witherell joined to help put together the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment.

    The experiment was essentially a 32-gallon vat of liquid xenon that could detect when a single xenon atom was struck by a WIMP. It was located at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, roughly a mile under the Black Hills of South Dakota. This mile of rock shields the detector from the stream of particles that shower down on Earth’s surface every day. “We led the world in sensitivity in the hunt for WIMPs,” said Nelson.

    Since LUX came online in 2013, a number of similar, larger detectors in Italy and China joined the hunt. An international race was underway, and the LUX team proposed the LZ experiment, a $70 million upgrade and unification of the LUX and the UK-based ZEPLIN III teams. The LZ detector is designed to leapfrog the competition, and will contain 850 gallons of liquid xenon, about 27 times the volume of LUX.

    The new experiment will be so sensitive that it has to account for false positives from solar neutrinos, explained Nelson. Neutrinos are particles so ephemeral that co-discoverer and Nobel laureate Frederick Reines called them “the most tiny quantity of reality ever imagined by a human being.” Trillions of them pass straight through your body every second.

    Nelson, Witherell and a team of engineers and students designed the outer detector for the LZ experiment, starting in 2012. The outer detector consists primarily of four 12-foot-tall, clear acrylic tanks that will surround the core detector. The fabrication of these tanks proved a challenging, Nelson noted, giving credit to Reynolds Polymer Technology of Grand Junction, CO, who took on the task. The scientists will fill these tanks with a liquid that produces a small flash when hit by a particle, allowing them to distinguish a WIMP event from background radiation coming from radioactive impurities in the detector or the few conventional particles that manage to penetrate the rock above.

    Two of the four tanks, recently completed, will make the long journey underground later this month. “The logistics of building a large apparatus underground, accessible only by narrow tunnels, forces us to install the outer detector prior to the LZ liquid xenon detector,” Nelson said.

    The LZ experiment is scheduled to turn on in 2020 and should grab the lead in the hunt for WIMPs back from the Italians, whose current Xenon1T project contains about 271 gallons of liquid xenon. The Xenon1T team has plans for an upgrade to rival LZ, however, so the race is still on.

    XENON1T at Gran Sasso LABORATORI NAZIONALI del GRAN SASSO, located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy

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

    “The incredible intellectual odyssey of the past 100,000 years, starting with modern humans questioning the nature of the element gold up to the very recent discovery of the Higgs particle, covers only one-sixth of the matter in the universe,” said Nelson. “Should LZ see a WIMP signal, it will mark the beginning of a new era of exploration and discovery.”

    Additional project collaborators at UC Santa Barbara include postdoctoral scientist Sally Shaw; engineers Susanne Kyre, Dano Pagenkopf and Dean White; and graduate students Scott Haselschwardt, Curt Nehrkorn and Melih Solmaz. The LZ group is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of High Energy Physics.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Santa Barbara Seal
    The University of California, Santa Barbara (commonly referred to as UC Santa Barbara or UCSB) is a public research university and one of the 10 general campuses of the University of California system. Founded in 1891 as an independent teachers’ college, UCSB joined the University of California system in 1944 and is the third-oldest general-education campus in the system. The university is a comprehensive doctoral university and is organized into five colleges offering 87 undergraduate degrees and 55 graduate degrees. In 2012, UCSB was ranked 41st among “National Universities” and 10th among public universities by U.S. News & World Report. UCSB houses twelve national research centers, including the renowned Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:24 am on October 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Don Lincoln via CNN: “The ultimate mystery of the universe” 

    1
    From CNN

    September 21, 2018

    FNAL’s Don Lincoln

    This might win an award for “most obvious statement ever,” but the universe is big. And with its size comes big questions. Perhaps the biggest is “What makes the universe, well…the universe?”
    Researchers have made a crucial step forward in their effort to build scientific equipment that will help us answer that fundamental question.

    An international group of physicists collaborating on the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) have announced that a prototype version of their equipment, called ProtoDUNE, is now operational.
    ProtoDUNE will validate the technology of the much larger DUNE experiment, which is designed to detect neutrinos, subatomic particles most often created in violent nuclear reactions like those that occur in nuclear power plants or the Sun. While they are prodigiously produced, they can pass, ghost-like, through ordinary matter. There are three distinct types of neutrinos, as different as the strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate flavors of Neapolitan ice cream.

    Further, through the always-confusing rules of quantum mechanics, these three types of neutrinos experience a startling behavior — they literally change their identity. Following the ice cream analogy, this would be like starting to eat a scoop of vanilla and, a few spoonfuls in, it magically changes to chocolate. It is through this morphing behavior that scientists hope to explain why our universe looks the way it does, rather than like a featureless void, full of energy and nothing else.

    2
    View of the interior of the ProtoDUNE experiment

    CERN Proto DUNE Maximillian Brice

    Large enough to encompass a three-story house, ProtoDUNE is located at the CERN laboratory, just outside Geneva, Switzerland. Years in the making, ProtoDUNE is filled with 800 tons of chilled liquid argon, which detects the passage of subatomic particles like neutrinos. Neutrinos hit the nuclei of the argon atoms in the ProtoDUNE detector, causing particles with electrical charge to be produced. Those particles then move through the detector, banging into argon atoms and knocking their electrons off. Scientists then detect the electrons.
    It’s similar to how you can know an airplane recently passed overhead because you observe contrails, the white streaks in the sky it briefly leaves behind. The ProtoDUNE detector has now observed particles coming from space — what scientists call cosmic rays — which has validated the effectiveness of the particle detector.

    Though considerably large, ProtoDUNE pales in comparison to the size of the DUNE apparatus, which is still being developed. DUNE will be based at two locations: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), which is America’s flagship particle physics laboratory located just outside Chicago, and the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), located in Lead, South Dakota.

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

    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford

    The biggest part of the DUNE experiment will ultimately consist of four large modules, each of which will be twenty times larger than ProtoDUNE. Because neutrinos interact very rarely with ordinary matter, bigger is better. And with an eighty times increase in volume, the DUNE detector will be able to detect eighty times as many neutrinos as ProtoDUNE.
    These large modules will be located nearly a mile underground at SURF. That depth is required to protect them from the same cosmic rays seen by ProtoDUNE.
    Fermilab will use its highest energy particle accelerator to generate a beam of neutrinos, which it will then shoot through the Earth to the waiting detectors over 800 miles away in western South Dakota.

    This beam of neutrinos will pass through a ProtoDUNE-like detector located at Fermilab to establish their characteristics as they leave the site. When the neutrinos arrive in South Dakota, the much bigger detectors again measure the neutrinos and look to see how much they have changed their identity as they traveled. It’s this identity-changing behavior that DUNE is designed to study. Scientists call this phenomenon “neutrino oscillations” because the neutrinos change from one type to another and then back again, over and over.
    While investigating and characterizing neutrino oscillations is the direct goal of the DUNE experiment, the deeper goal is to use those studies to shed light on one of those fundamental questions of the universe. This will be made possible because the DUNE experiment not only will study the oscillation behavior of neutrinos, it can also study the oscillation of antimatter neutrinos.

    A strong runner-up in the “most obvious statement ever” award is “our universe is made of matter.” But researchers have long known of a cousin substance called “antimatter.”

    Antimatter is the opposite of ordinary matter and will annihilate into pure energy when combined with matter. Alternatively, energy can simultaneously convert into matter and antimatter in equal quantities. This has been established beyond any credible doubt.

    Yet, with that observation, comes a mystery. Scientists generally accept that the universe came into existence through an event called the Big Bang. According to this theory, the universe was once much smaller, hotter, and full of energy. As the universe expanded, that energy should have converted into matter and antimatter in exactly equal quantities, which leads us to a very vexing question.

    Where the heck is the antimatter?

    Our universe consists only of matter, which means that something made the antimatter of the early universe disappear. Had this not happened, the matter and antimatter would have annihilated, and the universe would consist of nothing more than a bath of energy, without matter — without us.

    Which brings us back to the DUNE experiment. Fermilab will make not only neutrino beams, it will also make antimatter neutrino beams. The exact mix of neutrino “flavors” leaving the Fermilab campus will be established by the closer detector, and then again when they arrive at SURF, so that the changes due to neutrino oscillation can be measured. Then the same process will be done with antimatter neutrinos. If the matter and antimatter neutrinos oscillate differently, that will likely be a huge clue toward answering the question of why the universe exists as it does.

    With the completion of the new ProtoDUNE technology that will be used in the DUNE detector, the race is on to build the full facility. The first of the detector modules is scheduled to begin operations in 2026.

    While Fermilab has long made substantial contributions to the CERN research program, the DUNE experiment marks the first time that CERN has invested in scientific infrastructure in the United States. DUNE is a product of a unified international effort.
    Modern science is truly staggering in its accomplishments. We can cure deadly diseases and we’ve put men on the moon. But perhaps the grandest accomplishment of all is our ability to innovate in our effort to study in detail some of the oldest and most mind-boggling questions of our universe. And, with the success of ProtoDUNE, we’re that much closer to finding the answers.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 12:25 pm on September 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility,   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Anything but abandoned” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    September 24, 2018
    Erin Broberg

    Science thrives in a world-leading research facility.

    1
    Engineers clean the LUX-ZEPLIN cryostat inside the Surface Lab’s Class 1000 clean room in preparation for the next generation search for dark matter. Photo by Matthew Kapust

    “In an abandoned gold mine, beneath the Black Hills of Lead, South Dakota…”

    This line, or some version of it, has been the lead for countless stories centering on the Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab). It’s a tantalizing hook—a vision of sagging rafters and drifts lined with jagged, untouched dikes of gold. Audiences love it, reading on if only to discover what could be happening in this deep, forgotten space.

    When encountering the rich history of this area—a thriving gold mine, delving 8,000 feet below a modest mining town with houses crouched on steep hillsides—it’s tempting for writers to create a ghost town of Lead and a decrepit caricature of the Homestake Gold Mine.

    There’s just one problem, though—this facility is anything but abandoned.

    The time before

    Shortly after the sprawling Homestake Gold Mine closed in 2002, an uncertain future and expensive maintenance costs forced Barrick Gold Corporation, which owned the mine, to switch off the dewatering pumps. Silencing these motors allowed water to begin rising unhindered. It spilled across the floor of the 8000 Level, inching its way up the shafts and filling one level after another. The steady rise of the water submerged rail tracks, tools, utility lines and even the underground hoistrooms—the mine truly did seem abandoned.

    On the surface, however, discussions about the mine’s future had only begun. The National Science Foundation had taken notice of Homestake Mine, eyeing it as a possible future sight for the United States’ pioneering Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). Although the wheels of politics and financial support turned slowly, the efforts to turn the Homestake Mine into a science facility became a reality and with a generous donation from the facility’s namesake T. Denny Sanford, a land donation from Barrick Gold Corporation and the formation of South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA), the Sanford Underground Research Facility was born.

    Return to the drifts

    “It was amazing to see new life breathed back into the facility,” said Eileen Brosnahan, who worked at Homestake for 29 years, before returning as one of the first Sanford Lab hires. “The shift from a world-renowned gold mine to a world-renowned science facility was incredible.”

    It was a messy job, mucking out the 4850 Level, but you’d be hard-pressed to find traces of mine dust in the Davis Campus today—especially in the class-1000 cleanroom that houses the MAJORANA Demonstrator. Shotcreted walls, gleaming floors and espresso machine, make it possible for researchers and others to forget they aren’t in an ordinary office space—if only there were windows.

    Battery-powered locomotives rumble through the East Drift, making the daily commute to the Ross Campus a bit shorter as it motors infrastructure technicians and researchers between the two campuses.

    Far from decrepit, the facility is carefully maintained so scientists can conduct research safely. The Underground Maintenance Crew maintains more than 12 miles of underground space for science by bolting rock, maintaining ventilation paths and assessing infrastructure. A massive project—the rehabilitation of the Ross Shaft—reached a milestone when the work reached the 4850 Level in 2017. Crews stripped out old steel and lacing, cleaned out decades of debris, added new ground support and installed new steel to prepare the shaft for its future role in world-leading science.

    “Laboratory space shielded by a mile of rock is hot property,” said Simon Fiorucci, a researcher with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab). “There are only a handful of locations in the world that can offer it, and the science experiments in need of protection from cosmic rays keep getting bigger.”

    But that’s just half the battle. It’s really all the work that goes into making it a functional science facility that matters: access, utilities, cleanliness, and, most importantly, a team that has at the top of their priority list the success of the science.

    “There is simply no other place like Sanford Lab,” Fiorucci added.

    A coveted space

    Science resumed on the 4850 Level for the first time in decades with the MAJORANA Demonstrator Project.

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    In 2011, researchers began electroforming the world’s purest copper in a temporary cleanroom in the Ross Campus. The Majorana experiment uses pure germanium crystals enclosed in deep-freeze cryostat modules, protected by copper and lead shielding to answer one of the most challenging and important questions in physics: are neutrinos their own antiparticles? And if they are, what role do they play in the formation of the universe? In the existence of humans?

    “Being able to do chemistry like electroforming so far underground is a huge advantage for both the MAJORANA Demonstrator project and future physics experiments that need to avoid cosmic radiation,” said Cabot-Ann Christofferson, a researcher with the Majorana Demonstrator and a chemistry instructor at SD Mines.

    While the 10 operating baths plated the world’s purest copper for the Majorana collaboration, the Large Underground Xenon experiment (LUX) began moving into the Davis Campus just one kilometer away.

    And just three months after it began scouring the universe for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs), LUX was declared the world’s most sensitive dark matter detector in October 2013. As Sanford Lab began to realize its potential, its reputation grew.

    U Washington Large Underground Xenon at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

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

    “The campus at Sanford Lab is an ideal location,” said Kevin Lesko, senior scientist at Lawrence Berkley National Lab who manages the low background counting facility on the 4850 Level. “Not only does its depth create a shield for detectors, but it’s in the thick of major physics experiments—it’s where the action is.”

    As leading projects seek space within these coveted walls, hundreds of researchers come from hundreds of institutions across the globe, sprinkling the drifts with distinct accents and cultures, all united by a desire for shared discovery.

    The facility has become a vibrant space for research—and a touchstone for STEM and higher education outreach. Excited K-12 students try their hands with design challenges; wide-eyed undergraduate students collect biology samples, switch physics samples in low background counters or guide programmed robots through an obstacle course for the annual Robotics Competition; and doctoral students test, assemble, monitor, adjust and patiently wait for the universe’s most rare events to occur and signatures to appear—all the while planning for the next generation of their research.

    The research has not stalled with Majorana and LUX. The scientific strides taken by Majorana helped demonstrate the usefulness of a larger, next-generation experiment, LEGEND 200. LUX-Zeplin (LZ), the next generation of LUX, is being installed in the Davis Campus—just down the drift from Majorana.

    “LUX was really fortunate to help start up SURF a decade ago,” said Fiorucci, a researcher with LZ. “LZ is building upon that success by re-using the LUX space to deliver the next generation of world-leading dark matter detection.”

    And then there’s the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). Powered by the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF), this massive experiment is expected to draw in even more revenue and jobs—and, of course, science. The experiment is hosted by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and includes significant contributions from CERN and several countries. According to a report completed by Anderson Economic Group, LLC, for Fermilab, this project is anticipated to flush $950 million into South Dakota’s economy, generate $340 million in income for South Dakota households, and create almost 2,000 jobs in the region at the peak of construction. DUNE also happens to be the largest underground neutrino experiment in the world.

    Daily life underground

    The true testament to the vibrant life at Sanford Lab is the people that who work in the drifts, offices, and science laboratories every day.

    “Sanford Lab has more than 120 staff members and 50 percent of them were Homestake Mining Company employees. They have decades of experience operating the Sanford Lab infrastructure,” said Mike Headley, executive director of SDSTA. “Sanford Lab staff, along with hundreds of researchers from around the world, are moving the laboratory forward to host even more world-leading experiments.”

    Strikingly different—and incredibly necessary—tracks of life intersect at Sanford Lab. Riding the 7:30 a.m. cage, you might rub shoulders with a dedicated infrastructure technician who grew up in Central City and has been a part of this underground network’s legacy for fifty years. On your left, you could meet a visiting researcher from Scotland, here to inspect data from his astrophysics experiment at CASPAR. Listening close, you’ll hear voices discuss the day’s work in one breath and their daughter’s soccer tournament in the next.

    On the surface, then again on the 4850 Level, workers gather to review the day’s safety and procedure overviews. You can hear their chatter, and often laughter, echo down the drift. Later, an espresso steams in a researcher’s mug in the Davis Campus while he checks his email for updates from the surface. Other workers motor slowly to the Ross Campus, passing an unassuming sign on the side of the drift that reads: Future Sight of LBNF/DUNE, reminding them that even more neighbors are about to move in.

    “While the facility was once an active mine with a deep legacy, it’s now a laboratory making its own rich history in science,” said Headley.

    Sanford Lab is a place where life is lived in the extremes, a place of vibrant growth—a place that is anything but abandoned.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 3:04 pm on September 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bioelectrochemical systems, Extremophiles buzzing with electricity, Harnessing power from the electric eels of the microbial world, Researchers found that microbes wrapped with graphene showed an enhanced electron transfer rate for bioelectricity generation, SD Mines researchers dub microbes found at the 4850 Level "the electric eels of the microbial world, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Harnessing power from the electric eels of the microbial world” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    September 12, 2018
    Charles Michael Ray, SD Mines
    Photos by Matthew Kapust

    1
    SD Mines researchers dub microbes found at the 4850 Level “the electric eels of the microbial world.”

    While sampling on the 4850 Level of the Sanford Underground Research Facility, researchers from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SD Mines) discovered extremophiles buzzing with electricity.

    “We’re studying the electric eels of the microbial world,” said Navanietha Krishnaraj, research scientist at SD Mines.

    Krishnaraj and her collogues are looking for ways to harness electricity generated by this unique set of microbes. Their research is part of a project focusing on maximizing the efficiency of what’s known as bioelectrochemical systems. By understanding the right combination of microbes and materials, it’s possible to harness clean energy for widespread use in various applications.

    Microbes such as those found at Sanford Lab—ones that live in deep, extreme environments—have evolved unique properties that make them suitable for this specific goal.

    Possible outcomes of this research include new ways to generate electricity and treat solid waste during NASA space missions, the ability for a wastewater treatment plant to help generate electricity while turning effluent into clean water, a new way to clean saline wastewater generated in oil drilling operations, and better ways to turn food waste like tomatoes and corn stover into electricity.

    2

    Tapping the source with graphene armor

    Researchers face a challenge in building a system that efficiently harnesses electricity from that bacteria. Currently, a limited amount of electricity can be drawn from bioelectrochemical systems such as microbial fuel cells. The bacteria that generate electricity sometimes have conductive proteins on the surface of their cell walls and sometimes they can produce mediators that help in transferring the electricity they generate. But the microbes don’t react well with the wires, or electrodes, needed to transfer electricity. The electrodes are not efficient at pulling electricity out of the electroactive microorganisms.

    But a research team at SD Mines in the Composite and Nanocomposite Advanced Manufacturing–Biomaterials Center (CNAM-Bio) has found a novel solution. They wrapped the microorganisms with sheets of graphene, an ultra-thin form of graphite (as used, for example, in pencils) with exceptional electronic properties. Researchers found that microbes wrapped with graphene showed an enhanced electron transfer rate for bioelectricity generation. This breakthrough could enable the development of more efficient bioelectrochemical systems.

    “The use of wrapping strategy helps to harness the maximum number of electrons from the conductive membrane proteins in the surface of the microbes and transfer them to the electrodes,” says Krishnaraj, an author of a recently published article.

    “This strategy will help to increase the electron transfer kinetics leading to improved performance of microbial fuel cells, microbial electrolysis, microbial desalination cells, microbial electrosynthesis, and electromethanogenesis,” said Rajesh Sani, associate professor in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department.

    These findings are described in the article entitled, Rewiring the Microbe-Electrode Interfaces with Biologically Reduced Graphene Oxide for Improved Bioelectrocatalysis, recently published in the journal Bioresource Technology. This work was conducted by Navanietha Krishnaraj Rathinam, Sani, and David R. Salem from SD Mines, and Sheela Berchmans from the Central Electrochemical Research Institute. The research, presented by Krishnaraj, won first place in the student poster contest at the Western South Dakota Hydrology conference in 2018.

    This work is supported by the National Science Foundation-Building Genome-to-Phenome Infrastructure for Regulating Methane in Deep and Extreme Environments (BuG ReMeDEE) initiative.

    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.
    LUX/Dark matter experiment at SURFLUX/Dark matter experiment at SURF

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

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

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 9:10 am on September 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Interactions.org: “First particle tracks seen in prototype for international neutrino experiment” 

    From Interactions.org

    CERN and Fermilab announce big step in Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

    18 September 2018 – The largest liquid-argon neutrino detector in the world has just recorded its first particle tracks, signaling the start of a new chapter in the story of the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE).

    5
    DUNE collaboration

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


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford



    SURF building in Lead SD USA

    DUNE’s scientific mission is dedicated to unlocking the mysteries of neutrinos, the most abundant (and most mysterious) matter particles in the universe. Neutrinos are all around us, but we know very little about them. Scientists on the DUNE collaboration think that neutrinos may help answer one of the most pressing questions in physics: why we live in a universe dominated by matter. In other words, why we are here at all.

    The enormous ProtoDUNE detector – the size of a three-story house and the shape of a gigantic cube – was built at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, as the first of two prototypes for what will be a much, much larger detector for the DUNE project, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in the United States. When the first DUNE detector modules record data in 2026, they will each be 20 times larger than these prototypes.

    CERN Proto Dune

    ProtoDune


    Cern ProtoDune

    It is the first time CERN is investing in infrastructure and detector development for a particle physics project in the United States.

    The first ProtoDUNE detector took two years to build and eight weeks to fill with 800 tons of liquid argon, which needs to be kept at temperatures below -184 degrees Celsius (-300 degrees Fahrenheit). The detector records traces of particles in that argon, from both cosmic rays and a beam created at CERN’s accelerator complex. Now that the first tracks have been seen, scientists will operate the detector over the next several months to test the technology in depth.

    “Only two years ago we completed the new building at CERN to house two large-scale prototype detectors that form the building blocks for DUNE,” said Marzio Nessi, head of the Neutrino Platform at CERN. “Now we have the first detector taking beautiful data, and the second detector, which uses a different approach to liquid-argon technology, will be online in a few months.”

    The technology of the first ProtoDUNE detector will be the same to be used for the first of the DUNE detector modules in the United States, which will be built a mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota. More than 1,000 scientists and engineers from 32 countries spanning five continents – Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America – are working on the development, design and construction of the DUNE detectors. The groundbreaking ceremony for the caverns that will house the experiment was held in July of 2017.

    “Seeing the first particle tracks is a major success for the entire DUNE collaboration,” said DUNE co-spokesperson Stefan Soldner-Rembold of the University of Manchester, UK. “DUNE is the largest collaboration of scientists working on neutrino research in the world, with the intention of creating a cutting-edge experiment that could change the way we see the universe.”

    When neutrinos enter the detectors and smash into the argon nuclei, they produce charged particles. Those particles leave ionization traces in the liquid, which can be seen by sophisticated tracking systems able to create three-dimensional pictures of otherwise invisible subatomic processes. (An animation of how the DUNE and ProtoDUNE detectors work, along with other videos about DUNE, is available here: https://www.fnal.gov/pub/science/lbnf-dune/photos-videos.html.)

    “CERN is proud of the success of the Neutrino Platform and enthusiastic about being a partner in DUNE, together with Institutions and Universities from its Member States and beyond” said Fabiola Gianotti, Director-General of CERN. “These first results from ProtoDUNE are a nice example of what can be achieved when laboratories across the world collaborate. Research with DUNE is complementary to research carried out by the LHC and other experiments at CERN; together they hold great potential to answer some of the outstanding questions in particle physics today.”

    DUNE will not only study neutrinos, but their antimatter counterparts as well. Scientists will look for differences in behavior between neutrinos and antineutrinos, which could give us clues as to why the visible universe is dominated by matter. DUNE will also watch for neutrinos produced when a star explodes, which could reveal the formation of neutron stars and black holes, and will investigate whether protons live forever or eventually decay. Observing proton decay would bring us closer to fulfilling Einstein’s dream of a grand unified theory.

    “DUNE is the future of neutrino research,” said Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer. “Fermilab is excited to host an international experiment with such vast potential for new discoveries, and to continue our long partnership with CERN, both on the DUNE project and on the Large Hadron Collider.”

    To learn more about the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility that will house the experiment, and the PIP-II particle accelerator project at Fermilab that will power the neutrino beam for the experiment, visit http://www.fnal.gov/dune.

    Footnotes:
    DUNE comprises 175 institutions from 32 countries: Armenia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Netherlands, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States. The DUNE interim design report provides a detailed description of the technologies that will be used for the DUNE detectors. More information is at dunescience.org.
    CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s leading laboratories for particle physics. The Organization is located on the French-Swiss border, with its headquarters in Geneva. Its Member States are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom. Cyprus, Serbia and Slovenia are Associate Member States in the pre-stage to Membership. India, Lithuania, Pakistan, Turkey and Ukraine are Associate Member States. The European Union, Japan, JINR, the Russian Federation, UNESCO and the United States of America currently have Observer status.

    Fermilab is America’s premier national laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research. A U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory, Fermilab is located near Chicago, Illinois, and operated under contract by the Fermi Research Alliance LLC, a joint partnership between the University of Chicago and the Universities Research Association, Inc. Visit Fermilab’s website at http://www.fnal.gov and follow us on Twitter at @Fermilab.

    DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov

    See the Fermilab article here .
    See the Symmetry article here.
    See the Berkeley lab article here .
    See the CERN article here .

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

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 10:28 am on September 5, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Physics, chemistry, biology and geophysics—but who’s counting?” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    9.5.18
    Erin Broberg

    Photos by Matt Kapust

    BHSU Underground Campus
    An underground campus used by experiments across the globe and managed by local university faculty and students.

    1
    Sensitive physics experiments require radio-pure materials. That’s where the Black Hills State University Underground Campus (BHUC) comes in. The BHUC houses Sanford Lab’s low-background counting facility—a class-1,000 cleanroom containing several ultra-sensitive low background counters used to assay materials for ultra-sensitive experiments—and an adjoining workspace can be used for a variety of disciplines. Managed by BHSU, the facility partners with groups around the globe to create unique opportunities for collaborative research in physics, chemistry, biology and geophysics. The campus is also open to graduate and undergraduate students doing research in a variety of disciplines.

    2
    Counting Minute Signatures
    Sometimes going a mile underground isn’t enough. Rare event searches, such as Majorana’s search for neutrinoless double beta decay or LUX-ZEPELIN’s dark matter hunt, don’t just need to be shielded from cosmic rays—they also require some of the world’s cleanest materials.
    “By clean, we mean radio-pure,” said Mount. “Researchers are looking for materials with lower and lower concentrations of radioactive elements.”
    The tiniest amounts of radioactive elements in the very materials we use to construct our experiments can also overwhelm the rare-event signal. Radioactive elements can be found in rocks, titanium—even human sweat. As these elements decay, they emit signals that quickly light up ultra-sensitive detectors. To lessen these misleading signatures, researchers assay, or test, their materials for radio-purity using low-background counters (LBCs).
    Located in the BHUC, the facility’s class-1,000 clean room houses five operational LBCs. The facility is open to all experimental users, not just those hosted by Sanford Lab.

    3
    Low Background Counters
    “The campus at Sanford Lab is an ideal location for these counters,” said Kevin Lesko, senior scientist at Lawrence Berkley National Lab (Berkeley Lab) who manages the measurement and control of backgrounds. “Not only does its depth create a shield for the detectors, but it’s in the thick of major physics experiments—it’s where the action is.”
    These LBCs use germanium detectors housed in lead brick containers to screen materials, identifying ionizing radiation released by a material over time as its radioactive elements decay. This counting process helps researchers decide which types of materials are best-suited for their experiments. It also provides data to researchers, allowing them to calculate how much radioactivity they can expect to see coming from their materials over the life of the experiment.
    “The dark matter and neutrino rare-event searches are reliant on these techniques for constructing their detectors,” said Mount. “These techniques are looking for the tiniest amounts of radioactive elements in the construction materials for some of the biggest physics experiments of our time.”

    4
    Multidisciplinary University Research
    The BHUC provides a space for students from across the state to preform interdisciplinary research underground. While physics students contribute to large-scale physics experiments by working with the low background counters, students from other disciplines can work on research in two areas adjoining the counting cleanroom.
    “Biology students can study microbes in situ, and geology students can study the unique rock formations,” said Briana Mount, director of the BHUC.
    Additionally, a National Science Foundation (NSF) program, Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), gives students from around the country, opportunities to pursue research through the underground campus.

    5
    K-12 Outreach
    It’s not just college students who get to take advantage of the underground campus—even K-12 students can participate.
    For example, the annual BHSU Robotics Competition pairs middle school students with BHSU students to create robots for an engaging competition on the 4850 Level. The college students take the programmed robots to an underground obstacle course where the robots must find their way through an obstacle course while middle school students watch and advise from the surface via videoconferencing.

    6
    Counting Consortium
    A consortium agreement between LBC owners allows the counters to be available to other universities and partners, creating new opportunities for collaborative research. While the counters are dedicated to supporting high-priority experiments, the consortium allows those counters to also be used for all collaborations and academic users when there is space to spare.

    7
    Project Support
    With global partnerships come remote users. Researchers assaying their materials from a distance can monitor results in real-time, while relying on daily support from BHSU faculty and students and Sanford Lab staff. Support includes changing samples in the detectors, monitoring the liquid nitrogen systems that purge radon from inside the detectors and assistance in the installation of detectors underground.

    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.
    LUX/Dark matter experiment at SURFLUX/Dark matter experiment at SURF

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

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

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 5:34 pm on August 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Borexino observatory, , , , , DarkSide experiment, Davide D’Angelo-physical scientist, , , , , , , Pobbile dark matter candidates-axions gravitinos Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Objects (MACHOs) and Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WMIPs.)), SABRE-Sodium Iodide with Active Background Rejection Experiment, , Solar neutrinos-recently caught at U Wisconsin IceCube at the South Pole, , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility, , WIMPs that go by names like the gravitino sneutrino and neutralino   

    From Gran Sasso via Motherboard: “The New Hunt for Dark Matter Is Taking Place Under a Mountain” 

    From Gran Sasso

    via

    Motherboard

    1

    Aug 30 2018
    Daniel Oberhaus

    Davide D’Angelo wasn’t always interested in dark matter, but now he’s at the forefront of the hunt to find the most elusive particle in the universe.

    About an hour outside of Rome there’s a dense cluster of mountains known as the Gran Sasso d’Italia. Renowned for their natural beauty, the Gran Sasso are a popular tourist destination year round, offering world-class skiing in the winter and plenty of hiking and swimming opportunities in the summer. For the 43-year old Italian physicist Davide D’Angelo, these mountains are like a second home. Unlike most people who visit Gran Sasso, however, D’Angelo spends more time under the mountains than on top of them.

    It’s here, in a cavernous hall thousands of feet beneath the earth, that D’Angleo works on a new generation of experiments dedicated to the hunt for dark matter particles, an exotic form of matter whose existence has been hypothesized for decades but never proven experimentally.

    Dark matter is thought to make up about 27 percent of the universe and characterizing this elusive substance is one of the most profound problems in contemporary physics. Although D’Angelo is optimistic that a breakthrough will occur in his lifetime, so was the last generation of physicists. In fact, there’s a decent chance that the particles D’Angelo is looking for don’t exist at all. Yet for physicists probing the fundamental nature of the universe, the possibility that they might spend their entire career “hunting ghosts,” as D’Angelo put it, is the price of advancing science.

    WHAT’S UNDER THE ‘GREAT STONE’?

    In 1989, Italy’s National Institute for Nuclear Physics opened the Gran Sasso National Laboratory, the world’s largest underground laboratory dedicated to astrophysics. Gran Sasso’s three cavernous halls were purposely built for physics, which is something of a luxury as far as research centers go. Most other underground astrophysics laboratories like SNOLAB are ad hoc facilities that repurpose old or active mine shafts, which limits the amount of time that can be spent in the lab and the types of equipment that can be used.


    SNOLAB, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

    Buried nearly a mile underground to protect it from the noisy cosmic rays that bathe the Earth, Gran Sasso is home to a number of particle physics experiments that are probing the foundations of the universe. For the last few years, D’Angelo has divided his time between the Borexino observatory and the Sodium Iodide with Active Background Rejection Experiment (SABRE), which are investigating solar neutrinos and dark matter, respectively.

    Borexino Solar Neutrino detector

    SABRE experiment at INFN Gran Sasso

    2
    Davide D’Angelo with the SABRE proof of concept. Image: Xavier Aaronson/Motherboard

    Over the last 100 years, characterizing solar neutrinos and dark matter was considered to be one of the most important tasks of particle physics. Today, the mystery of solar neutrinos is resolved, but the particles are still of great interest to physicists for the insight they provide into the fusion process occurring in our Sun and other stars. The composition of dark matter, however, is still considered to be one of the biggest questions in particle physics. Despite the radically different nature of the particles, they are united insofar as they both can only be discovered in environments where the background radiation is at a minimum: Thousands of feet beneath the Earth’s surface.

    “The mountain acts as a shield so if you go below it, you have so-called ‘cosmic silence,’” D’Angelo said. “That’s the part of my research I like most: Going into the cave, putting my hands on the detector and trying to understand the signals I’m seeing.”

    After finishing grad school, D’Angelo got a job with Italy’s National Institute for Nuclear Physics where his research focused on solar neutrinos, a subatomic particle with no charge that is produced by fusion in the Sun. For the better part of four decades, solar neutrinos [recently caught at U Wisconsin IceCube at the South Pole] were at the heart of one of the largest mysteries in astrophysics.

    IceCube neutrino detector interior


    U Wisconsin ICECUBE neutrino detector at the South Pole

    The problem was that instruments measuring the energy from solar neutrinos returned results much lower than predicted by the Standard Model, the most accurate theory of fundamental particles in physics.

    Given how accurate the Standard Model had proven to be for other aspects of cosmology, physicists were reluctant to make alterations to it to account for the discrepancy. One possible explanation was that physicists had faulty models of the Sun and better measurements of its core pressure and temperature were needed. Yet after a string of observations in the 60s and 70s demonstrated that the models of the sun were essentially correct, physicists sought alternative explanations by turning to the neutrino.

    A TALE OF THREE NEUTRINOS

    Ever since they were first proposed by the Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli in 1930, neutrinos have been called upon to patch holes in theories. In Pauli’s case, he first posited the existence of an extremely light, chargeless particle as a “desperate remedy” to explain why the law of the conservation of energy appeared to be violated during radioactive decay. Three years later, the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi gave these hypothetical particles a name. He called them “neutrinos,” Italian for “little neutrons.”

    A quarter of a century after Pauli posited their existence, two American physicists reported the first evidence of neutrinos produced in a fission reactor. The following year, in 1957, Bruno Pontecorvo, an Italian physicist working in the Soviet Union, developed a theory of neutrino oscillations. At the time, little was known about the properties of neutrinos and Pontecorvo suggested that there might be more than one type of neutrino. If this were the case, Pontecorvo theorized that it could be possible for the neutrinos to switch between types.

    By 1975, part of Pontecorvo’s theory had been proven correct. Three different types, or “flavors,” of neutrino had been discovered: electron neutrinos, muon neutrinos, and tau neutrinos. Importantly, observations from an experiment in a South Dakota mineshaft had confirmed that the Sun produced electron neutrinos. The only issue was that the experiment detected far fewer neutrinos than the Standard Model predicted.

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


    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF


    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford



    SURF building in Lead SD USA

    Prior to the late 90s, there was scant indirect evidence that neutrinos could change from one flavor to another. In 1998, a group of researchers working in Japan’s Super-Kamiokande Observatory observed oscillations in atmospheric neutrinos, which are mostly produced by the interactions between photons and the Earth’s atmosphere.

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

    Three years later, Canada’s Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) provided the first direct evidence of oscillations from solar neutrinos.

    Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, no longer operating

    This was, to put it lightly, a big deal in cosmological physics. It effectively resolved the mystery of the missing solar neutrinos, or why experiments only observed about a third as many neutrinos radiating from the Sun compared to predictions made by the Standard Model. If neutrinos could oscillate between flavors, this means a neutrino that is emitted in the Sun’s core could be a different type of neutrino by the time it reaches Earth. Prior to the mid-80s, most experiments on Earth were only looking for electron neutrinos, which meant they were missing the other two flavors of neutrinos that were created en route from the Sun to the Earth.

    When SNO was dreamt up in the 80s, it was designed so that it would be capable of detecting all three types of neutrinos, instead of just electron neutrinos. This decision paid off. In 2015, the directors of the experiments at Super-Kamiokande and SNO shared the Nobel Prize in physics for resolving the mystery of the missing solar neutrinos.

    Although the mystery of solar neutrinos has been solved, there’s still plenty of science to be done to better understand them. Since 2007, Gran Sasso’s Borexino observatory has been refining the measurements of solar neutrino flux, which has given physicists unprecedented insight into the fusion process powering the Sun. From the outside, the Borexino observatory looks like a large metal sphere, but on the inside it looks like a technology transplanted from an alien world.

    Borexino detector. Image INFN

    In the center of the sphere is basically a large, transparent nylon sack that is almost 30 feet in diameter and only half a millimeter thick. This sack contains a liquid scintillator, a chemical mixture that releases energy when a neutrino passes through it. This nylon sphere is suspended in 1,000 metric tons of a purified buffer liquid and surrounded by 2,200 sensors to detect energy released by electrons that are freed when neutrinos interact with the liquid scintillator. Finally, an outer buffer of nearly 3,000 tons of ultrapure water helps provide additional shielding for the detector. Taken together, the Borexino observatory has the most protection from outside radiation interference of any liquid scintillator in the world.

    For the last decade, physicists at Borexino—including D’Angelo, who joined the project in 2011—have been using this one-of-a-kind device to observe low energy solar neutrinos produced by proton collisions during the fusion process in the Sun’s core. Given how difficult it is to detect these chargless, ultralight particles that hardly ever interact with matter, detecting the low energy solar neutrinos would be virtually impossible without such a sensitive machine. When SNO directly detected the first solar neutrino oscillations, for instance, it could only observe the highest energy solar neutrinos due to interference from background radiation. This amounted to only about 0.01 percent of all the neutrinos emitted by the Sun. Borexino’s sensitivity allows it to observe solar neutrinos whose energy is a full order of magnitude lower than those detected by SNO, opening the door for an incredibly refined model of solar processes as well as more exotic events like supernovae.

    “It took physicists 40 years to understand solar neutrinos and it’s been one of the most interesting puzzles in particle physics,” D’Angelo told me. “It’s kind of like how dark matter is now.”

    SHINING A LIGHT ON DARK MATTER

    If neutrinos were the mystery particle of the twentieth century, then dark matter is the particle conundrum for the new millenium. Just like Pauli proposed neutrinos as a “desperate remedy” to explain why experiments seemed to be violating one of the most fundamental laws of nature, the existence of dark matter particles is inferred because cosmological observations just don’t add up.

    In the early 1930s, the American astronomer Fritz Zwicky was studying the movement of a handful of galaxies in the Coma cluster, a collection of over 1,000 galaxies approximately 320 million light years from Earth.

    Fritz Zwicky, the Father of Dark Matter research.No image credit after long search

    Vera Rubin did much of the work on proving the existence of Dark Matter. She and Fritz were both overlooked for the Nobel prize.

    Vera Rubin measuring spectra (Emilio Segre Visual Archives AIP SPL)


    Astronomer Vera Rubin at the Lowell Observatory in 1965. (The Carnegie Institution for Science)

    Using data published by Edwin Hubble, Zwicky calculated the mass of the entire Coma galaxy cluster.

    Coma cluster via NASA/ESA Hubble

    When he did, Zwicky noticed something odd about the velocity dispersion—the statistical distribribution of the speeds of a group of objects—of the galaxies: The velocity distribution was about 12 times higher than it should be based on the amount of matter in the galaxies.

    Inside Gran Sasso- Image- Xavier Aaronson-Motherboard

    This was a surprising calculation and its significance wasn’t lost on Zwicky. “If this would be confirmed,” he wrote, “we would get the surprising result that dark matter is present in much greater amount than luminous matter.”

    The idea that the universe was made up mostly of invisible matter was a radical idea in Zwicky’s time and still is today. The main difference, however, is that astronomers now have much stronger empirical evidence pointing to its existence. This is mostly due to the American astronomer Vera Rubin, whose measurement of galactic rotations in the 1960s and 70s put the existence of dark matter beyond a doubt. In fact, based on Rubin’s measurements and subsequent observations, physicists now think dark matter makes up about 27 percent of the “stuff” in the universe, about seven times more than the regular, baryonic matter we’re all familiar with. The burning question, then, is what is it made of?

    Since Rubin’s pioneering observations, a number of dark matter candidate particles have been proposed, but so far all of them have eluded detection by some of the world’s most sensitive instruments. Part of the reason for this is that physicists aren’t exactly sure what they’re looking for. In fact, a small minority of physicists think dark matter might not be a particle at all and is just an exotic gravitational effect. This makes designing dark matter experiments kind of like finding a car key in a stadium parking lot and trying to track down the vehicle it pairs with. There’s a pretty good chance the car is somewhere in the parking lot, but you’re going to have to try a lot of doors before you find your ride—if it even exists.

    Among the candidates for dark matter are subatomic particles with goofy names like axions, gravitinos, Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Objects (MACHOs), and Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WMIPs.) D’Angelo and his colleagues at Gran Sasso have placed their bets on WIMPs, which until recently were considered to be the leading particle candidate for dark matter.

    Over the last few years, however, physicists have started to look at other possibilities after some critical tests failed to confirm the existence of WIMPs. WIMPs are a class of hypothetical elementary particles that hardly ever interact with regular baryonic matter and don’t emit light, which makes them exceedingly hard to detect. This problem is compounded by the fact that no one is really sure how to characterize a WIMP. Needless to say, it’s hard to find something if you’re not even really sure what you’re looking for.

    So why would physicists think WIMPs exist at all? In the 1970s, physicists conceptualized the Standard Model of particle physics, which posited that everything in the universe was made out of a handful of fundamental particles.

    The Standard Model of elementary particles (more schematic depiction), with the three generations of matter, gauge bosons in the fourth column, and the Higgs boson in the fifth.


    Standard Model of Particle Physics from Symmetry Magazine

    The Standard Model works great at explaining almost everything the universe throws at it, but it’s still incomplete since it doesn’t incorporate gravity into the model.

    Gravity measured with two slightly different torsion pendulum set ups and slightly different results

    In the 1980s, an extension of the Standard Model called Supersymmetry emerged, which hypothesizes that each fundamental particle in the Standard Model has a partner.

    Standard model of Supersymmetry DESY

    These particle pairs are known as supersymmetric particles and are used as the theoretical explanation for a number of mysteries in Standard Model physics, such as the mass of the Higgs boson and the existence of dark matter. Some of the most complex and expensive experiments in the world like the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator were created in an effort to discover these supersymmetric particles, but so far there’s been no experimental evidence that these particles actually exist.

    LHC

    CERN map


    CERN LHC Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

    Many of the lightest particles theorized in the supersymmetric model are WIMPs and go by names like the gravitino, sneutrino and neutralino. The latter is still considered to be the leading candidate for dark matter by many physicists and is thought to have formed in abundance in the early universe. Detecting evidence of this ancient theoretical particle is the goal of many dark matter experiments, including the one D’Angelo works on at Gran Sasso.

    D’Angelo told me he became interested in dark matter a few years after joining the Gran Sasso laboratory and began contributing to the laboratory’s DarkSide experiment, which seemed like a natural extension of his work on solar neutrinos. DarkSide is essentially a large tank filled with liquid argon and equipped with incredibly sensitive sensors. If WIMPs exist, physicists expect to detect them from the ionization produced through their collision with the argon nuclei.

    Dark Side-50 Dark Matter Experiment at Gran Sasso

    The set up of the SABRE experiment is deliberately similar to another experiment that has been running at Gran Sasso since 1995 called DAMA. In 2003, the DAMA experiment began looking for seasonal fluctuations in dark matter particles that was predicted in the 1980s as a consequence of the relative motion of the sun and Earth to the rest of the galaxy. The theory posited that the relative speed of any dark matter particles detected on Earth should peak in June and bottom out in December.

    The DarkSide experiment has been running at Gran Sasso since 2013 and D’Angelo said it is expected to continue for several more years. These days, however, he’s found himself involved with a different dark matter experiment at Gran Sasso called SABRE [above], which will also look for direct evidence of dark matter particles based on the light produced when energy is released through their collision with Sodium-Iodide crystals.

    Over the course of nearly 15 years, DAMA did in fact register seasonal fluctuations in its detectors that were in accordance with this theory and the expected signature of a dark matter particle. In short, it seemed as if DAMA was the first experiment in the world to detect a dark matter particle. The problem, however, was that DAMA couldn’t completely rule out the possibility that the signature it had detected was in fact due to some other seasonal variation on Earth, rather than the ebb and flow of dark matter as the Earth revolved around the Sun.

    SABRE aims to remove the ambiguities in DAMA’s data. After all the kinks are worked out in the testing equipment, the Gran Sasso experiment will become one half of SABRE. The other half will be located in Australia in a converted gold mine. By having a laboratory in the northern hemisphere and another in the southern hemisphere, this should help eliminate any false positives that result from normal seasonal fluctuations. At the moment, the SABRE detector is still in a proof of principle phase and is expected to begin observations in both hemispheres within the next few years.

    When it comes to SABRE, it’s possible that the experiment may disprove the best evidence physicists have found so far for a dark matter particle. But as D’Angelo pointed out, this type of disappointment is a fundamental part of science.

    “Of course I am afraid that there might not be any dark matter there and we are hunting ghosts, but science is like this,” D’Angelo said. “Sometimes you spend several years looking for something and in the end it’s not there so you have to change the way you were thinking about things.”

    For D’Angelo, probing the subatomic world with neutrino and dark matter research from a cave in Italy is his way of connecting to the universe writ large.

    “The tiniest elements of nature are bonded to the most macroscopic phenomena, like the expansion of the universe,” D’Angelo said. “The infinitely small touches the infinitely big in this sense, and I find that fascinating. The physics I do, it’s goal is to push over the boundary of human knowledge.”

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

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

    INFN Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS) is the largest underground laboratory in the world devoted to neutrino and astroparticle physics, a worldwide research facility for scientists working in this field of research, where particle physics, cosmology and astrophysics meet. It is unequalled anywhere else, as it offers the most advanced underground infrastructures in terms of dimensions, complexity and completeness.

    LNGS is funded by the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), the Italian Institution in charge to coordinate and support research in elementary particles physics, nuclear and sub nuclear physics

    Located between L’Aquila and Teramo, at about 120 kilometres from Rome, the underground structures are on one side of the 10-kilometre long highway tunnel which crosses the Gran Sasso massif (towards Rome); the underground complex consists of three huge experimental halls (each 100-metre long, 20-metre large and 18-metre high) and bypass tunnels, for a total volume of about 180.000 m3.

    Access to experimental halls is horizontal and it is made easier by the highway tunnel. Halls are equipped with all technical and safety equipment and plants necessary for the experimental activities and to ensure proper working conditions for people involved.

    The 1400 metre-rock thickness above the Laboratory represents a natural coverage that provides a cosmic ray flux reduction by one million times; moreover, the flux of neutrons in the underground halls is about thousand times less than on the surface due to the very small amount of uranium and thorium of the Dolomite calcareous rock of the mountain.

    The permeability of cosmic radiation provided by the rock coverage together with the huge dimensions and the impressive basic infrastructure, make the Laboratory unmatched in the detection of weak or rare signals, which are relevant for astroparticle, sub nuclear and nuclear physics.

    Outside, immersed in a National Park of exceptional environmental and naturalistic interest on the slopes of the Gran Sasso mountain chain, an area of more than 23 acres hosts laboratories and workshops, the Computing Centre, the Directorate and several other Offices.

    Currently 1100 scientists from 29 different Countries are taking part in the experimental activities of LNGS.
    LNGS research activities range from neutrino physics to dark matter search, to nuclear astrophysics, and also to earth physics, biology and fundamental physics.

     
    • Marco Pereira 2:43 pm on September 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I created a theory called the Hypergeometrical Universe Theory (HU). This theory uses three hypotheses:
      a) The Universe is a lightspeed expanding hyperspherical hypersurface. This was later proven correct by observations by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey
      https://hypergeometricaluniverse.quora.com/Proof-of-an-Extra-Spatial-Dimension
      b) Matter is made directly and simply from coherences between stationary states of deformation of the local metric called Fundamental Dilator or FD.
      https://hypergeometricaluniverse.quora.com/The-Fundamental-Dilator
      c) FDs obey the Quantum Lagrangian Principle (QLP). Yves Couder had a physical implementation (approximation) of the Fundamental Dilator and was perplexed that it would behave Quantum Mechanically. FDs and the QLP are the reason for Quantum Mechanics. QLP replaces Newtonian Dynamics and allows for the derivation of Quantum Gravity or Gravity as applied to Black Holes.

      HU derives a new law of Gravitation that is epoch-dependent. That makes Type 1a Supernovae to be epoch-dependent (within the context of the theory). HU then derives the Absolute Luminosity of SN1a as a function of G and showed that Absolute Luminosity scales with G^{-3}.
      Once corrected the Photometrically Determined SN1a distances, HU CORRECTLY PREDICTS all SN1a distances given their redshifts z.

      The extra dimension refutes all 4D spacetime theories, including General Relativity and L-CDM. HU also falsifies all Dark Matter evidence:
      https://www.quora.com/Are-dark-matter-and-dark-energy-falsifiable/answer/Marco-Pereira-1
      including the Spiral Galaxy Conundrum and the Coma Cluster Conundrum.

      Somehow, my theory is still been censored by the community as a whole (either directly or by omission).

      I hope this posting will help correct this situation.

      Like

  • richardmitnick 10:44 am on June 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Revolutionizing geothermal energy research, SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “Revolutionizing geothermal energy research” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    June 11, 2018
    Constance Walter

    The SIMFIP tool is changing the way researchers measure and design hydro fractures.

    1
    Deep underground on the 4850 Level at Sanford Lab, engineer Paul Cook explains how the SIMFIP tool will be used to measure openings in hard rock. Matthew Kapust

    On May 22, researchers with the SIGMA-V experiment worked in near silence in the West Drift on the 4850 Level. The locomotives sat quietly on the tracks, jack-leg drills rested against drift walls and operations ceased for several minutes at a time as the team began pumping pressurized water into the injection well, one of eight boreholes drilled for this experiment.

    “We requested quiet because we use sensitive seismic monitoring equipment,” said Tim Kneafsey, earth scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). “The signals we measure are very small and we don’t want vibrations from other sources overwhelming those signals.”

    Kneafsey is the principal investigator for the Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) Collab Project, a collaboration comprised of eight national laboratories and six universities who are working to improve geothermal technologies. The test featured the SIMFIP (Step-Rate Injection Method for Fracture In-Situ Properties), a tool that revolutionizes the way scientists can study geothermal energy, a process that pulls heat from the earth as it extracts steam or hot water, which is then converted to electricity.

    Developed at LBNL, the SIMFIP allows precise measurements of displacements in the rock and, most importantly, the aperture, or opening, of a hydro fracture.

    The extreme quiet paid off, Kneafsey said.

    “Our goal was to create a fracture from a specific zone in our injection well that would connect to our production well—about 10 meters away. And we were successful in doing that,” Kneafsy said.

    “People were excited when the connection between the boreholes was made and measured. But it took a while for the team to realize how far we had come and how much research, logistics, planning and collaboration went into that moment. It was gratifying to say the least, and there was certainly a sense of accomplishment.” —Hunter Knox

    The experiment

    Before the introduction of the SIMFIP, separate tools were used to create and measure hydro fractures. They work like this: “Straddle packers”—pipes with two deflated balloons on either end—are placed inside boreholes. Once inside, the balloons are inflated and water injected down the pipes to create an airtight section. They continue to pump water until the rock fractures, then remove the packers and insert the measuring tool. In the time it takes to do all that, much of the pertinent data is lost, leaving traces, but little else.

    “Even if you did get the aperture, when you released the pressure, the hydro fracture was already closing,” said Yves Guglielmi, a geologist at LBNL who designed the tool. “You don’t have the ‘true’ aperture and you also don’t know how the aperture might vary during the test.”

    With the introduction of the SIMFIP, a small device that sits between the two packers, they can the aperture in real-time.

    “This is really a new way to do the work,” Guglielmi said. “It will help us understand the whole process of initiating and growing hydro fractures in hard rock, which is kind of new. This is fundamental science. If we understand how hydro fractures will behave in this kind of rock, we can begin to make intelligent, complex fractures that can capture more heat from the earth.”

    The device is “bristling with sensors and other instrumentation that give us a close-up view of what happens when the rock is stimulated—all in real-time,” said Paul Cook, LBNL engineer.

    The SIMFIP measures fracture openings in hard rock in the EGS Collab test site. The team had drilled eight slightly downward-sloping boreholes in the rib (side) of the West Drift: The injection hole, used for stimulating the rock, and production well, which produces the fluid, run parallel to each other through the rock. Six other boreholes contain equipment to monitor microseismic activity (rock displacement); electrical resistivity tomography (subsurface imaging); temperature; and strain (how rocks move when stimulated).

    Nestled between the straddle packers in the injection hole, the SIMFIP measured the rock opening as the team looked on.

    The SIMFIP difference

    The SIGMA-V team hoped to see signals as small as a few microns of displacements in the rock. As they watched data accumulate in real time over a two-day period, the excitement in the West Drift was palpable.

    “People were excited when the connection between the boreholes was made and measured,” said Hunter Knox, the field coordinator with Sandia National Laboratory, “But it took a while for the team to realize how far we had come and how much research, logistics, planning and collaboration went into that moment. It was gratifying to say the least, and there was certainly a sense of accomplishment.”

    Measurements from the SIMFIP could remove barriers that stand in the way of commercializing geothermal systems, which have the potential to provide enough energy to power 100 million American homes.

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

    With the first test under its belt, the EGS Collab just moved a step closer to that goal.

    2
    No image credit or caption

    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.
    LUX/Dark matter experiment at SURFLUX/Dark matter experiment at SURF

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

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

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 12:01 pm on May 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dark Matter experiments, , , SuperCDMS (Cryogenic Dark Matter Search), SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility,   

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility: “SD Mines develops radon reduction system for LZ, SuperCDMS” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    From Sanford Underground Research Facility

    May 14, 2018
    Constance Walter

    1
    Radon reduction researchers pictured with the machine they designed from left): SD Mines physics graduate student Joseph Street, Richard Schnee, Ph.D., along with lab technicians David Molash and Christine Hjelmfelt. Charles Michael Ray, SD Mines

    In the coming months, researchers will begin building the LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter experiment in a surface cleanroom at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab).

    LBNL Lux Zeplin project at SURF

    Once the detector is assembled, a team will carefully move the highly sensitive physics equipment to its home on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab.

    But before that can happen, there’s some work that needs to be done to ensure the experiment remains free of backgrounds that could interfere with the results. That’s where Dr. Richard Schnee and a team from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology come in. Schnee, who is head of the physics department at SD Mines and a collaborator with LZ, heads up the SD Mines team that designed a radon reduction system for the experiment.

    “Our detectors need very low levels of radon,” Schnee said. While the radon levels at the 4850 Level are safe for humans, they are too high for sensitive experiments like LZ, which go deep underground to escape cosmic radiation, Schnee explained. “We will take regular air from the facility and the systems will reduce the levels by 1,000 times or more.”

    LZ, a second-generation dark matter experiment, will continue the search for WIMPs—weakly interacting massive particles—begun by its much smaller predecessor LUX (Large Underground Xenon), which was named the most sensitive of its kind in 2013 and again in 2016.

    U Washington Large Underground Xenon at SURF, Lead, SD, USA

    LZ will hold 10 tons of liquid xenon, making it approximately 30 times larger and 100 times more sensitive than LUX.

    LZ is designed so that if a dark matter particle collides with a xenon atom, it will produce a flash of light followed by a second flash of light when the electrons produced in the liquid xenon chamber drift to its top. The light pulses, picked up by a series of about 500 photo multiplier tubes lining the massive tank—over four times more than were installed in LUX—will carry the telltale fingerprint of the particles that created them.

    Additionally, LZ will include a component not present in LUX—nine acrylic tanks filled with a liquid scintillator will form a veto system around the experiment, allowing researchers to better recognize a WIMP if they see one.

    The system designed by the SD Mines team focuses specifically on filtering out radon particles to produce the ultra-pure air needed for the acrylic tanks and other components of LZ located in the same water tank that held LUX. The team is also helping ensure the parts used to build the experiments are relatively free of radon.

    “The real problem for these super sensitive dark mater detectors are the radon daughters that are radioactive,” Schnee said. Even miniscule amounts of radioactive particles could contaminate and throw off the experiments—so the work of Schnee and his team is critical.

    “We are very excited to have SD Mines as a partner in producing a major component for LZ, a world-leading dark matter experiment,” said Mike Headley, executive director the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority.

    LZ is in a global race to discover dark matter. One competitor, SuperCDMS (Cryogenic Dark Matter Search), which will be located at SNOLab in Canada, is using germanium to search for WIMPs. And SD Mines is designing a radon reduction system for that experiment as well, Schnee said.

    SNOLAB, a Canadian underground physics laboratory at a depth of 2 km in Vale’s Creighton nickel mine in Sudbury, Ontario


    SNOLAB, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

    LBNL SuperCDMS, at SNOLAB (Vale Inco Mine, Sudbury, Canada)


    LBNL SuperCDMS, at SNOLAB (Vale Inco Mine, Sudbury, Canada)


    LBNL Super CDMS, at SNOLAB (Vale Inco Mine, Sudbury, Canada)

    SNOLab is the deepest underground laboratory in North America at 6,800 feet deep. Although the experiments are competitors, Schnee said they actually complement each other as they are searching for dark matter in different areas. To use a metaphor, if dark matter were a lost child in a large cornfield, LZ would be looking in one part of the field, and SuperCDMS would be looking in another. Both projects will begin operations in the early 2020s. SD Mines is one of 26 institutions working on the SuperCDMS and one of 37 institutions working on LZ.

    Headley attributes the expanding role of SD Mines’ in research at Sanford Lab and other international experiments to the Ph.D. program in South Dakota. SD Mines and the University of South Dakota offer a joint program and each graduated Ph.D. students in 2017.

    “With the implementation of the Ph.D. program in 2012, South Dakota institutions are attracting high-quality professors and students,” Headley said. “It’s impressive to see them deliver such an important component for LZ, but also on other experiments around the world.”

    To learn more about the physics program at SD Mines, go to http://www.sdsmt.edu; to read the full press release about SD Mines work on LZ and SuperCDMS, go to https://www.sdsmt.edu/Research/.

    You can learn more about LZ at http://lz.lbl.gov/detector/and SCDMS at https://supercdms.slac.stanford.edu.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    stem

    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
  • richardmitnick 10:42 am on April 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , SURF - Sanford Underground Research Facility,   

    From SURF: “The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR” 

    SURF logo
    Sanford Underground levels

    Sanford Underground Research facility

    4.4.18
    No writer credit found

    U Washington Majorana Demonstrator Experiment at SURF

    1

    In 1937, Italian physicist Ettore Majorana hypothesized the Majorana fermion—a particle that could be its own antiparticle. If the theory proves true, it could unlock one of the greatest mysteries of the universe: why there is more matter than anti-matter—and why we exist at all.

    The MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR Project, located deep underground at Sanford Lab, uses 44 kilograms of natural and enriched germanium crystals placed inside two cryostats in the hopes of finding this particle, a rare form of decay called neutrinoless double-beta decay. The experiment is called a demonstrator because the collaboration needed to prove it could create a quiet enough environment to find what it is looking for. A unique shield and 4,850 feet of rock help block cosmic and terrestrial radiation from this highly sensitive experiment.

    Now, after years of planning, designing and building the experiment, the collaboration has something to celebrate. In a study published in March 2018, the Majorana Collaboration showed it can shield a sensitive, scalable, 44-kilogram germanium detector from background radioactivity, which is critical to developing a proposed ton-scale experiment.

    “We know that we created an environment that is incredibly clean and quiet,” said Vincent Guiseppe, a co-spokesperson for the Majorana Demonstrator and an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of South Carolina. “These results give us a much better understanding of the always-elusive neutrino and how it shaped the universe.”

    Guiseppe credits the results to the design of the experiment and the stringent cleanliness protocols put in place.

    3

    Growing copper

    In its finished form, Majorana is made up of more than 6,600 pounds of copper and more than 5,000 parts and pieces—some as tiny as the head of a pen; others measuring 2 feet square—nearly all of which were made from ultra-pure copper grown on the 4850 Level of Sanford Lab. The first step to building this highly sensitive experiment? Electroforming the purest copper in the world. It’s a simple, but slow process.

    Copper nuggets were dissolved in acid baths to remove trace impurities. Then, an electric current was added causing the copper atoms to adhere to a stainless steel cylinder called a mandrel, growing to a thickness of about 5/8 of an inch over a 14 month-period—approximately 33 millionth of a meter per day. Once electroformed the copper was taken to the world’s deepest clean machine shop a kilometer away in the Davis Campus.

    “Majorana went to great lengths to ensure the materials used in the experiment would not contribute to backgrounds,” said Cabot-Ann Christofferson, chemist for the Majorana and the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. “The copper is such an integral part of low-background experiments, that it will be one of the technologies used going forward.”

    4

    Precision machining

    Every part of the Majorana experiment was machined underground to minimize exposure to cosmic radiation. And every part had to fit perfectly to ensure the experiment runs correctly.

    “If it’s just one or two thousandths of an inch off, it’s not close enough,” said project engineer Matthew Busch of Duke University/Triangle University Nuclear Laboratories.

    Inside the clean machine shop, machinist Randy Hughes used a lathe to machine the outer layer of the copper, a slitting saw to cut the copper cylinders in half, a 70-ton press to flatten the copper pieces and a wire EDM—electrical discharge machine— to vaporize copper as it cut hundreds of tiny identical parts. If things didn’t fit right, they had to get creative, Busch said.

    “We couldn’t buy more tools because there was no more room. So, we modified the tool or the design if things didn’t fit the way we needed them to,” Busch said.

    The science

    The Majorana Demonstrator collaboration believes germanium is the best material to detect neutrinoless double-beta decay. During the decay process, two electrons are ejected in the germanium. The electrons ionize the germanium, creating a very specific amount of electric charge that can be measured with special equipment. If they discover it, it could tell us why matter—planets, stars, humans and everything else in the universe—exists.

    The process is so rare, the slightest interference could render the experiment useless. That’s why it was built deep underground, using electroformed copper that never saw daylight. Still, that wasn’t enough. To achieve the quietest background possible, they built the experiment inside a glovebox in a class-1,000 cleanroom, then surrounded it with a six-layered shield designed to protect it from any stray cosmic or terrestrial radiation.

    5

    Assembling Majorana

    Having the world’s cleanest copper isn’t enough if you can’t keep your experiment clean. That’s why the experiment was assembled deep underground in a nitrogen-filled glovebox housed in a class-1,000 cleanroom.

    Before entering the cleanroom, scientists donned cleanroom garb—Tyvek suits, masks, hoods, special shoe coverings and two pairs of gloves. Once inside the cleanroom, they replaced the outer glove with a new one then headed to the glovebox where they placed their already gloved hands inside huge black rubber gloves covered with another pair of latex gloves. This was done to protect the experiment, not the researchers. Once fully garbed, they began assembling the strings of detectors that reside inside two cryostats. Each cryostat contains about seven strings of 4-5 germanium crystals.

    It was challenging and delicate work, involving hundreds of custom-made parts for each string. And everything had to be assembled in a particular order. Each detector is encapsulated in copper then stacked in strings and tied together with cables—most of which are no thicker than a strand of hair—and attached to the cryostat. Many of the parts connect everything to a data collection system inside the cleanroom.

    “It’s a detailed, highly specialized procedure that came out of many revisions of the experiment,” said Tom Gillis, a graduate student at the University of South Carolina.

    6

    Shields are like onions

    In the movie “Shrek,” the title character tells Donkey, “Ogres are like onions! … They have layers.” The same can be said of Majorana’s six-layered shield, said Guiseppe who oversaw the construction of the shield.

    Designed to keep out as much radiation as possible, each layer is cleaner as it gets closer to the heart of the experiment. The outer layer is polyethylene, which slows neutrons. The second layer is scintillating plastic, which detects muons. The third layer is an aluminum radon enclosure that keeps out room air, while the fourth layer is made of lead bricks to block gamma rays. Finally, a rectangular box of ultrapure commercial copper surrounds the electroformed copper shield.

    But the most critical layer—the one closest to the experiment and the last to be installed—is made of electroformed copper: two five-sided boxes made of 40, 1/2-inch thick plates that, together, weigh about a ton. Majorana began collecting data long before the shield was completed and released positive results as early as 2015.

    “Just two months after installing the electroformed shield, we saw a huge difference,” said Guiseppe. “It was like night and day.”

    5,500 parts
    Ultra-pure copper
    5,500 electroformed copper parts were used in the experiment, all were machined underground.

    144,500 pounds
    Total weight of the shield

    The breakdown:
    Lead: 108,000 pounds
    Poly shield: 31,000 pounds
    Copper shielding: 5,500 pounds

    The Majorana Demonstrator was designed to lay the groundwork for a ton-scale experiment by demonstrating that backgrounds can be low enough to justify building a larger detector.

    “When we started this project, there were many risks and no guarantee that we could achieve our goals, as we were pushing into unexplored territory,” said John Wilkerson, principal investigator of the experiment and the John R. and Louise S. Parker Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of North Carolina.

    “It’s very exciting to see these world-leading results. We’ve achieved the best energy resolution of any double-beta decay experiment and are among the lowest backgrounds ever seen.”

    With 30 times more germanium than the current experiment, the ton-scale, called LEGEND (Large Enriched Germanium Experiment for Neutrinoless Double-Beta Decay), could more easily see the rare decay it seeks. Abstract on Legend.

    The plan is to partner with GERDA (GERmanium Detector Array), a sister experiment located at Gran Sasso in Italy, and other researchers in the field.

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

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

    “This merger leverages public investments by combining the best technologies of each,” said LEGEND Collaboration co-spokesperson Steve Elliott of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    See the full article here .

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    Stem Education Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fermilab LBNE
    LBNE

     
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