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  • richardmitnick 9:32 am on September 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Construction of ethnobotanical garden to begin in spring 2023", , The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF   

    From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF: “Construction of ethnobotanical garden to begin in spring 2023” 

    From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF

    9.26.22
    Constance Walter

    Garden will host cultural and educational events.

    1
    The South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) approved plans to move forward with construction of the ethnobotanical garden. The decision was announced in the Sept. 22 Board meeting. Called Cangleska Wakan, Lakota for Sacred Circle, the garden will be built on a hilltop meadow at Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). Construction is expected to begin next spring and conclude in the fall of 2023.

    “This is a momentous step forward,” said Casey Peterson, chair of the SDSTA Board and ex officio member of the SURF Foundation Board. “We have been working to make this a reality for over a year and now we can declare success.”

    Mike Headley, executive director of the SDSTA and lab director at SURF, said recent private donations and a small loan from the SDSTA put the SURF Foundation in a position to begin construction. The estimated cost of the project is $800,000. With private donations and the SDSTA loan, $615,00 has been raised.

    “We are really excited to have reached this phase and look forward to seeing this important project become a reality. The SURF Foundation will continue to raise money, so we carry out the full design of the garden,” Headley said.

    Cangleska Wakan will feature a Lakota medicine wheel, native plants and a space for events and quiet reflection. A symbol of unity, good health, well-being, honor, and recognition. The medicine wheel’s four quadrants represent the physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional realms. It also highlights the four seasons, which are represented in black, red, yellow, and white. In contemporary times, the colors also point to the diversity of nations.

    Future programming will include explorations of astrophysics, star knowledge, Earth science, ethnobotany, biodiversity, and a range of cultural events for learners of all ages. As SURF welcomes scientific collaborators from around the world, the garden will serve as a gateway to this unique region.

    Designworks Inc., a Rapid City landscape architectural firm, designed the garden and RCS Construction will build it. Major donors to the project are Dana Dykhouse and Casey Peterson, both members of the SDSTA and SURF Foundation board, and RCS Construction. The donation from RCS includes a considerable reduction in construction costs.

    “Their generosity allows us to begin the work on the Sacred Circle Garden,” Headley said. “We are also grateful to everyone who has contributed. It has made all the difference.”

    Dykhouse and Peterson have been champions of the project since its inception in 2015.

    “For all of us who hold the Black Hills in high esteem, both our Native community and those of us who have come later, the Garden will provide a place to reflect on the history of this region and what it could be in the future,” Dykhouse said.

    The history of the Black Hills goes back thousands of years and has significant meaning to indigenous people. In 2015, the Sanford Underground Research Facility built the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center to commemorate the city of Lead, South Dakota, and its rich mining history, while highlighting today’s scientific discoveries.

    Now, the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) is taking a step to recognize the diversity of the many peoples who have and do call this place home. We are creating an ethnobotanical garden, Cangleska Wakan, to enhance understanding of the Indigenous cultures of the Black Hills, or He Sapa.

    The garden will connect visitors with SURF’s underground science through the lens of Native ways of knowing science. The site’s future programming will include explorations of astrophysics, star knowledge, Earth science, ethnobotany, biodiversity and cultural and Native events for learners of all ages.

    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-SURF 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.

    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 University of Washington MAJORANA Neutrinoless Double-beta Decay Experiment 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.

    The LUX Xenon dark matter detector | Sanford Underground Research Facility mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

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

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.

    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”

    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

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

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

    Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). Credit: Nick Hubbard.

    Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). Credit: Nick Hubbard.

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

    SURF- the 3D DAS experiment is studying digital acoustic sensing techniques with a novel, three-dimensional seismic array. The University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Air Force Research Laboratory. Photo by Adam Gomez. The 3D DAS is led by Stanford University and includes industry partners and seven universities.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:15 am on August 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "What lives where? And why? Stanford University study at SURF sheds light on the makeup of subsurface microbial communities", , Stanford University researchers got rare insight into long-term transformation of subsurface microbial communities at SURF., The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF   

    From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF: “What lives where? And why? Stanford University study at SURF sheds light on the makeup of subsurface microbial communities” 

    From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF

    8.22.22
    Erin Lorraine Broberg

    Stanford University researchers got rare insight into long-term transformation of subsurface microbial communities at SURF.

    1
    Researchers collect water samples containing an invisible diversity of microbes from boreholes at a testbed on the 4850 Level of Sanford Underground Research Facility. Photo by Nick Hubbard.

    During the early history of Earth, when radiation, asteroid strikes and extreme temperatures made the surface hostile to life, the planet’s deep subsurface became a sanctuary for microbial lifeforms. To microbiologists studying life’s origins, the subsurface is a trove of information.

    “By understanding how subsurface environments work, we gain insight into the story of life’s evolutionary history on Earth,” said Yuran Zhang, who studied the intersection of microbiology and geoengineering and earned her doctorate from Stanford University in 2020.

    “If we want to understand life on Earth, we have to understand microbiology, because that’s the type of life that has been here the longest. And if we want to understand microbiology, we have to understand subsurface microbiology, as the subsurface maintains one of the largest reservoirs of genetic diversity on Earth,” said Anne Dekas, assistant professor of Earth system science at Stanford University, who was a doctoral advisor to Zhang.

    Hidden behind walls of rock or deep below oceans, these subsurface microbes are difficult to study. Retrieving a single set of samples can be a challenging feat, let alone repeat samples to monitor changes in the microbial communities over time.

    But Stanford University researchers recently got rare insight into the 10-month transformation of microbial communities living nearly a mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). The study was published in the PNAS [below] in June 2022.

    An unexpected experiment

    Zhang, the lead author on the paper, had not initially set out to focus on microbial communities at SURF. She had arrived 4,850 feet below the surface in Lead, South Dakota, with the Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) Collab, a group studying the use of hot rocks as a renewable energy source. From their test site, the EGS Collab ran long-term flow tests, pumping water into boreholes to better understand how water travels through the fractures in the rock to extract heat.

    2
    Researcher stands in an outfitted drift on the 4850 Level of Sanford Underground Research Facility that serves as a test site for the Enhanced Geothermal System Collaboration. Photo by Nick Hubbard.

    3
    EGS Collaboration researchers monitor experiment activity in a drift on the 4100 Level of Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). From left to right: Hunter Knox, Vince Vermeul and Jefferey Burghardt. Photo by Matthew Kapust.

    Zhang had planned to use artificial DNA tracers to map the fracture networks. But as she examined the natural microbial communities already present within the rock formation, Zhang realized these preexisting communities could be used instead of artificial tracers. A field crew, including Oxana Gorbatenko from Black Hills State University (BHSU), Carlo Primo from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Adam Hawkins from Stanford University and Zhang herself, was assembled to bring this idea to life.

    Every week for nearly 10 months, the team collected samples from four of EGS Collab’s boreholes. After collection, the samples were preprocessed and frozen onsite, temporarily stored at BHSU, then shipped to Stanford University. At the Dekas Geomicrobiology Laboratory at Stanford University, Zhang used high-throughput DNA sequencing to understand which microbial families were present in each borehole community. The idea worked, and Zhang’s research shed light on the EGS Collaboration’s work.

    What lives where and why

    Microbiologists have long assumed that the composition of subsurface microbial communities were determined largely by environmental selection.

    “Through a combination of genetic mutations and selection of the most fit organisms, you can have a change over time to a different community,” Dekas said. “But with slow-growing microorganisms like those in the deep subsurface, that process takes a very, very long time. In this study, these big changes were observed over the course of weeks.”

    In the study at SURF, the mechanism spurring quick, drastic changes was “advection,” or the transfer of matter by a flowing fluid. Though researchers knew that advection could be a mechanism of change in the subsurface, they were unsure how strong its impact was. At SURF, they saw advection’s influence in real time.

    3
    Yuran Zhang works at the testbed at the 4850 Level of Sanford Underground Research Facility. Photo courtesy Yuran Zhang.

    “This is a unique data set with an incredible time series—something most researchers don’t have from the subsurface—and answers questions about microbial ecology that we haven’t been able to address in the past,” Dekas said.

    The influence of advection, Dekas points out, does not rule out environmental selection as a key factor in evolution of life underground. Rather, it reveals that, when advection-driven changes are taking place, they can vastly outpace environmental factors.

    “If the communities were influenced by environmental selection alone, we might not expect major changes for many, many years,” Dekas said. “What is significant to me is finding out that advection is a bigger mechanism than we thought. Not only is it an additional mechanism, but it puts these changes on a much different timescale.”

    This case study can shed light on advection’s effects on a more global scale, where subsurface fluid flow altered by earthquakes, flooding, drought and geochemical changes could significantly impact subsurface microbial communities.

    As Zhang wrote in the paper, this new understanding of advection’s role “may have fundamental implications for understanding the evolution and history of life.”

    Real-world applications

    Beyond a fundamental understanding of the evolution of life, this research can lend itself to real-world applications, like EGS Collaboration’s geothermal research and such industries as subsurface resource exploitation, carbon sequestration, long-term reservoir monitoring and the mapping of subsurface fracture networks.

    “The dataset is cutting edge from two points of view,” said Roland Horne, a professor of energy resources engineering at Stanford University, who was a doctoral advisor to Zhang. “One is what it reveals to EGS Collab and the geological reality of their experiment. Secondly, it’s unique for the study of deep microbial communities, due to the frequency and duration of monitoring.”

    Reflecting on the potential impacts of her research, Zhang said, “I’m impressed by how little we know, and how unexpected things can turn out for interdisciplinary work like this. The ‘who was there’ was completely unexpected. The ‘how they change with time’ was totally different from what we thought. It’s fun to reflect on how things have worked out and how our basic understandings in both microbiology and geoengineering can be shifted by research like this.”

    Science paper:
    PNAS

    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-SURF 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.

    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 University of Washington MAJORANA Neutrinoless Double-beta Decay Experiment 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.

    The LUX Xenon dark matter detector | Sanford Underground Research Facility mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

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

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.

    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”

    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

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

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

    Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). Credit: Nick Hubbard.

    [caption id="attachment_58675" align="alignnone" width="632"] Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). Credit: Nick Hubbard.

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

    [caption id="attachment_207839" align="alignnone" width="632"] SURF- the 3D DAS experiment is studying digital acoustic sensing techniques with a novel, three-dimensional seismic array. The University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Air Force Research Laboratory. Photo by Adam Gomez. The 3D DAS is led by Stanford University and includes industry partners and seven universities.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:35 am on August 16, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Excavation of huge caverns for DUNE particle detector is underway", , , , , , The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF   

    From The DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory And The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF: “Excavation of huge caverns for DUNE particle detector is underway” 

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    From The DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory , an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research worldwide.

    And

    The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF

    8.15.22
    Diana Kwon

    1
    About 800,000 tons of rock need to be removed to create the seven-story-tall caverns and the connecting drifts for the LBNF far site location in South Dakota. Photo by Adam Gomez.

    Around a mile below the surface in South Dakota, construction crews are hard at work excavating around 1,000 tons of rock per day. Their goal is to make room for a large underground facility that will house an international effort aimed at studying neutrinos—highly elusive subatomic particles that may hold the key to many of the universe’s secrets.

    The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility will one day be home to the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. LBNF/DUNE involves more than 1,000 scientists and engineers from over 30 countries.

    DUNE has three main scientific aims: determine whether neutrinos might hold the key to the matter-antimatter asymmetry that gave rise to our matter-filled universe; look for neutrinos that indicate the birth of a neutron star or black hole, two of the most mysterious objects in space; and search for subatomic signals that could help scientists develop a theory that unifies the four forces of nature.

    “DUNE is a unique experiment,” said DUNE co-spokesperson Sergio Bertolucci. “It is the only experiment where you can measure all the parameters of neutrino oscillations in the same place.

    This will enable us to perform precision measurements of the mass ordering, of the matter-antimatter symmetry violation and of the mixing angles.”

    LBNF provides the space, infrastructure and particle beam for the experiment: the caverns that will house DUNE’s detectors—a near detector at the Fermilab site, and a far detector 800 miles away at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota; the space for cryogenic equipment to keep these instruments cold; the hall where neutrinos are produced; and the beamline that will deliver the protons that make the neutrinos.

    PIP-II, the Proton Improvement Plan II at Fermilab, will power the particle beam for the experiment. At the heart of PIP-II is the construction of a 700-foot-long particle accelerator that will boost a stream of protons to 84% of the speed of light. The construction of the first of two large buildings for PIP-II is almost complete. When operational, PIP-II will feed its protons into a chain of accelerators to create the world’s most intense neutrino beam.

    Excavation is in full swing

    On-site prep work for the excavation of the LBNF far site facility in South Dakota began in 2019. In 2021, construction crews started the excavation of the large caverns for DUNE. The three LBNF caverns [below] will house the far detector modules and the infrastructure needed to operate the detectors. Project managers expect the construction of the caverns to be complete in 2024.

    To date, approximately 274,000 tons of rock have been removed—more than a third of the whopping 800,000 tons that needs to be extracted from a mile underground. About 200 people in South Dakota directly work on LBNF during this phase of the project.

    Once complete, the underground facility with its three caverns will cover the area of about the size of eight soccer fields. Two of the caverns are about 500 feet long, 65 feet wide and 90 feet high—about the height of a seven-story building. These caverns will house the far detector modules, each of which will be more than 200 feet in length and contain 17,000 tons of ultrapure argon cooled to minus 184 degrees Celsius. The third cavern, which is about 625 feet long and 65 feet wide but is only 36 feet tall, will contain the cryogenic support systems, detector electronics and data acquisition equipment.

    Drill and blast

    The excavation of each cavern proceeds from the top to the bottom. The process is carried out by contractor Thyssen Mining Inc. and uses the so-called drill-and-blast technique. First, construction workers drill a series of holes, then load those holes with explosives that will blast away the rock. The workers then remove the blasted rock and transport it to large buckets called skips, which travel up a mile-long shaft to bring the rock to the surface. Once the rock is above ground, it is crushed, put on a conveyor, and then deposited into a former open mining pit called the Open Cut.

    Next, workers move into the excavated space to conduct ground support, which involves operating gigantic drills that insert 20-foot-long bolts into rock walls as anchors. Miners will install a total of about 16,000 rock bolts to secure all walls and ceilings of the excavated space.


    A mile underground: the large caverns and detectors of DUNE.

    “These secure the rock because sometimes, in the process of blasting, you create fractures in the surrounding rock, or there’s existing fractures,” said Syd De Vries, a mining engineer at Fermilab. “That creates zones of weakness, so you install these rock bolts, along with a wire mesh that secures the rock so that it’s safe to go in and repeat that cycle.”

    Once the ground support is complete, the drill-and-blast cycle begins anew. Some of the underground work can be carried out in parallel, with approximately 30 miners per shift working at different locations.

    The drill-and-blast phase will be complete in the fall of 2023. “That’s the last time we’ll use explosives,” said Josh Willhite, a mechanical engineer who grew up in South Dakota and started working on the early plans for this project in 2010.

    To complete the construction of the caverns, the floors and walls will be covered with concrete—and that work is expected to continue until May 2024.

    Advances at all levels

    While the excavation work proceeds, another set of contractors is preparing for the building and site infrastructure phase. During this phase, the LBNF space will be outfitted with the infrastructure needed to run the DUNE detectors. This includes setting up the lighting, electrical equipment, ventilation and piping that will direct argon delivered at the surface to the detectors deep underground.

    Work on the DUNE particle detectors is advancing as well. For example, scientists in the UK have begun the mass production of large detector components for the first detector module in South Dakota. At the European laboratory CERN, the DUNE collaboration is about to start tests for vertical-drift detector components, which will be used in the second detector module to be built in South Dakota. At Fermilab, scientists are getting ready to test near-detector components built in Switzerland.

    Prep work is paying off

    Before the drill-and-blast process could begin in South Dakota, the project team completed the pre-excavation phase, during which the LBNF far site was prepared for the excavation. It involved, among other things, renovating the Ross Shaft, updating the rock crushing system and building the 3/4-mile-long conveyor system that moves the rock from the shaft to the Open Cut. “That was a pretty major scope of work,” Willhite said. “Seeing all that functioning and working properly once we got into excavation was pretty exciting.”

    2
    A construction miner stands near a bolter, a huge machine that installs 20-foot-long rock bolts in the caverns that will house the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. About 16,000 bolts will need to be installed to provide ground support in the gigantic, seven-story-tall caverns a mile underground. Photo by Jason Hogan, Thyssen Mining Inc.

    During that phase, engineers also drilled a series of core samples to determine the geological characteristics of the rock, such as its strength and the presence of fractures, as well as the stresses that were present. Stresses on the rock exist both in the vertical and horizontal planes. The deeper you go, the greater the weight of the rock becomes, creating stress in the vertical plane. Horizonal stresses are caused by things like the tectonic activity of the Earth.

    This diligent pre-excavation work has paid off. Project managers think that any big issues would have come up during the first year of excavation, but so far, the miners have successfully excavated the tops of all three caverns and have opened one of the caverns to its full width without any major setbacks. “The sensors that have been installed and are monitoring the rock movement are all following the predicted paths,” said De Vries. “That gives everybody a higher sense of security.” The monitoring, of course, continues, and the safety of all workers remains the project’s top priority.

    Breaking the 625-foot-long utility cavern to its full length, then being able to walk along it, was an amazing feat, Willhite said: “It doesn’t matter how many times you see it—these caverns are gigantic. It’s very impressive to see.”

    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-SURF 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.

    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 University of Washington MAJORANA Neutrinoless Double-beta Decay Experiment 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.

    The LUX Xenon dark matter detector | Sanford Underground Research Facility mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

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

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.

    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”

    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

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

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

    Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). Credit: Nick Hubbard.

    Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). Credit: Nick Hubbard.

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

    SURF- the 3D DAS experiment is studying digital acoustic sensing techniques with a novel, three-dimensional seismic array. The University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Air Force Research Laboratory. Photo by Adam Gomez. The 3D DAS is led by Stanford University and includes industry partners and seven universities.

    The DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Since 2007, Fermilab has been operated by the Fermi Research Alliance, a joint venture of the University of Chicago, and the Universities Research Association (URA). Fermilab is a part of the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor.

    Fermilab’s Tevatron was a landmark particle accelerator; until the startup in 2008 of the Large Hadron Collider(CH) near Geneva, Switzerland, it was the most powerful particle accelerator in the world, accelerating antiprotons to energies of 500 GeV, and producing proton-proton collisions with energies of up to 1.6 TeV, the first accelerator to reach one “tera-electron-volt” energy. At 3.9 miles (6.3 km), it was the world’s fourth-largest particle accelerator in circumference. One of its most important achievements was the 1995 discovery of the top quark, announced by research teams using the Tevatron’s CDF and DØ detectors. It was shut down in 2011.

    __________________________________________________________
    [Earlier than the LHC at CERN, The DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory had sought the Higgs with the Tevatron Accelerator.

    But the Tevatron could barely muster 2 TeV [Terraelectron volts], not enough energy to find the Higgs. CERN’s LHC is capable of 13 TeV.

    Another possible attempt in the U.S. would have been the Super Conducting Supercollider.

    Fermilab has gone on to become a world powerhouse in neutrino research with the LBNF/DUNE project which will send neutrinos 800 miles to SURF-The Sanford Underground Research Facility in in Lead, South Dakota.
    __________________________________________________

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


    __________________________________________________

    In addition to high-energy collider physics, Fermilab hosts fixed-target and neutrino experiments, such as MicroBooNE (Micro Booster Neutrino Experiment), NOνA (NuMI Off-Axis νe Appearance) and SeaQuest. Completed neutrino experiments include MINOS (Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search), MINOS+, MiniBooNE and SciBooNE (SciBar Booster Neutrino Experiment). The MiniBooNE detector was a 40-foot (12 m) diameter sphere containing 800 tons of mineral oil lined with 1,520 phototube detectors. An estimated 1 million neutrino events were recorded each year. SciBooNE sat in the same neutrino beam as MiniBooNE but had fine-grained tracking capabilities. The NOνA experiment uses, and the MINOS experiment used, Fermilab’s NuMI (Neutrinos at the Main Injector) beam, which is an intense beam of neutrinos that travels 455 miles (732 km) through the Earth to the Soudan Mine in Minnesota and the Ash River, Minnesota, site of the NOνA far detector. In 2017, the ICARUS neutrino experiment was moved from CERN to Fermilab.
    In the public realm, Fermilab is home to a native prairie ecosystem restoration project and hosts many cultural events: public science lectures and symposia, classical and contemporary music concerts, folk dancing and arts galleries. The site is open from dawn to dusk to visitors who present valid photo identification.

    Asteroid 11998 Fermilab is named in honor of the laboratory.

    Weston, Illinois, was a community next to Batavia voted out of existence by its village board in 1966 to provide a site for Fermilab.

    The laboratory was founded in 1969 as the National Accelerator Laboratory; it was renamed in honor of Enrico Fermi in 1974. The laboratory’s first director was Robert Rathbun Wilson, under whom the laboratory opened ahead of time and under budget. Many of the sculptures on the site are of his creation. He is the namesake of the site’s high-rise laboratory building, whose unique shape has become the symbol for Fermilab and which is the center of activity on the campus.

    After Wilson stepped down in 1978 to protest the lack of funding for the lab, Leon M. Lederman took on the job. It was under his guidance that the original accelerator was replaced with the Tevatron, an accelerator capable of colliding protons and antiprotons at a combined energy of 1.96 TeV. Lederman stepped down in 1989. The science education center at the site was named in his honor.

    The later directors include:

    John Peoples, 1989 to 1996
    Michael S. Witherell, July 1999 to June 2005
    Piermaria Oddone, July 2005 to July 2013
    Nigel Lockyer, September 2013 to the present

    Fermilab continues to participate in the work at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC); it serves as a Tier 1 site in the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid.

    FNAL Icon

     
  • richardmitnick 9:27 am on August 9, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Researchers create 3D seismic array at SURF", Air Force Research Laboratory, , , The 3D DAS experiment is studying digital acoustic sensing techniques with a novel three-dimensional seismic array at SURF., The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF,   

    From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF: “Researchers create 3D seismic array at SURF” 

    From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF

    8.8.22
    Erin Lorraine Broberg

    The 3D DAS experiment is studying digital acoustic sensing techniques with a novel three-dimensional seismic array at SURF.

    1
    Underground at SURF, the 3D DAS experiment is studying digital acoustic sensing techniques with a novel, three-dimensional seismic array. Photo by Adam Gomez.

    The ground beneath our feet is awake with a constant, imperceptible tremor. Induced by traffic, construction, earthquakes, even water running above and below ground, this incessant “seismic noise” is difficult to escape. But at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), the seismic soundscape is muted.

    “What’s unique about this facility is that it’s away from the surface wave noise of the Earth. It’s a very quiet place,” said Neal Lord, geoscience instrumentation technologist at The University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    This made the facility an attractive site for 3D DAS, a research group studying distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) technology. DAS uses fiber optic cable—the same medium that transmits internet, cable television and telephone data across the globe—to study minute movements in the Earth.

    SURF’s quiet background gives the researchers a chance to test and further develop DAS technology without an overwhelming background of surface noise. But SURF offers more than just peace and quiet. Taking advantage of the facility’s vast underground footprint, the research group created a three-dimensional (3D) DAS array.

    “Rather than laying the fiber along a single axis, we’re going up and down, north and south, east and west—taking advantage of that geometry,” Lord said.

    “This was our opportunity to demonstrate a new application of the technology in an underground, three-dimensional array,” said Herb Wang, professor emeritus at UW-Madison and co-principal investigator (PI) on the project. An Air Force Research Lab project, the 3D DAS is led by Stanford University and includes industry partners and seven universities.

    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-SURF 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.

    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 University of Washington MAJORANA Neutrinoless Double-beta Decay Experiment 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.

    The LUX Xenon dark matter detector | Sanford Underground Research Facility mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

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

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.

    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”

    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

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

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

    Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). Credit: Nick Hubbard.

    [caption id="attachment_58675" align="alignnone" width="632"] Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). Credit: Nick Hubbard.

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

    [caption id="attachment_207839" align="alignnone" width="632"] SURF- the 3D DAS experiment is studying digital acoustic sensing techniques with a novel, three-dimensional seismic array. The University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Air Force Research Laboratory. Photo by Adam Gomez. The 3D DAS is led by Stanford University and includes industry partners and seven universities.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:05 am on July 26, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "'Tantalizing' decay of nature’s rarest isotope may finally be within reach", , , One case of atomic disruption is when a nucleon—either a proton or neutron in the center of an atom—receives a burst of energy and leaps to a higher and unstable energy level., Only the metastable isomer decay of Tantalum-180m remains un-observed in a lab., , , Tantalum-180m - nature’s rarest isotope, The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF, The telltale sign of tantalum-180m’s decay is the release of a gamma ray., The University of Washington MAJORANA Neutrinoless Double-beta Decay Experiment Demonstrator experiment at SURF, Theory predicts that the half-life of tantalum-180m is between 10^17 and 10^18years-far longer than the universe itself has existed., To regain stasis the nucleon will immediately decay and fall back to its lower energy level and release the excess energy in the form of a gamma ray.   

    From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF: “‘Tantalizing’ decay of nature’s rarest isotope may finally be within reach” 

    From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF

    July 25, 2022
    Erin Lorraine Broberg

    Sanford Underground Research Facility will host a search for the long-sought decay of tantalum-180m.

    1
    Sam Meijer, staff scientist at the DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, holds a tantalum plate in a cleanroom on the 4850 Level of Sanford Underground Research Facility, where a new experiment is searching for the decay of nature’s rarest isotope. Photo by Erin Lorraine Broberg.

    Tantalus, a villainous demigod in Greek mythology, is perhaps best known for his punishment. For his heinous crimes against the Olympic gods, Tantalus was banished to the underworld. There, he was chained in a pool of water. Branches, heavy-laden with fruit, dangled just above his head. If he stooped to slate his thirst, the water at his feet receded. If he reached toward the fruit to satisfy his hunger, the branches recoiled.

    The story of Tantalus’s perpetual punishment remains with us today in the word “tantalize” and in the name of a rare element formed in the heart of dying stars: tantalum.

    In a fateful twist, tantalum itself poses a frustrating problem to physicists—one that, until now, has been just out of reach.

    For decades, physicists have sought to observe and measure the decay of tantalum-180m, nature’s rarest isotope. The isotope’s dilemma is much like Tantalus’ punishment: tantalum-180m is trapped in a metastable state, bound by a strange, unintuitive quirk of physics. While theory states that the isotope must eventually decay, that decay has never been observed.

    “Nobody has ever seen it; nobody’s ever measured it,” said Ralph Massarczyk, staff scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos).

    For the last several decades, this unobserved decay has dominated the physics community’s discussion of tantalum. “Every nuclear physicist has heard of this problem; it’s an open, standing question,” said Samuel Meijer, also a staff scientist at Los Alamos.

    Massarczyk and Meijer are primary investigators, PI and co-PI, respectively, for a new experiment at SURF that may finally measure this elusive decay.

    Stuck within physics

    In the atomic world, particles are constantly seeking equilibrium; yet that equilibrium is rarely attained and quickly disrupted.

    One case of atomic disruption is when a nucleon—either a proton or neutron in the center of an atom—receives a burst of energy and leaps to a higher, unstable energy level. To regain stasis, the nucleon will immediately decay, falling back to its lower energy level and releasing the excess energy in the form of a gamma ray.

    Imagine a playground swing. In its lowest energy state, the swing hangs straight down, resting close to the ground. Now, imagine the swing is pulled back laterally, then released. The swing will sway back and forth, releasing energy through motion until it again hangs straight down. This is how most nucleons decay; they release their energy and return to their ground state.

    “But sometimes,” Massarczyk explained, “the nucleon gets stuck.”

    In this case, the nucleon is also like a swing pulled back laterally and released. Rather than swinging down, however, it remains where it was held, hovering mid-air, full of unreleased energy. These “stuck” nucleons are held in place by a strange law of physics called “spin-suppression”; isotopes with spin-suppressed nucleons are called “metastable isomers.” Some take several seconds to decay. Others can take years.

    All metastable isomers do eventually escape their spin-suppressed state. And all metastable isomer decays have been observed in a lab—all except one. “Tantalum is the only unobserved metastable state decay,” Meijer said.

    Similar to Tantalus’ fate in the underworld, this spin-suppressed state keeps tantalum-180m in its bewildering state for an eternity—well, nearly an eternity. Theory predicts that the half-life of tantalum-180m is between 10^17 and 10^18years-far longer than the universe itself has existed.

    Just beyond reach

    Tantalum-180m’s decay hasn’t been observed, but not for lack of trying. Physicists have tried to increase their sensitivity, or chance of witnessing this extremely rare decay, in two major ways: increasing the number of atoms they monitor and decreasing spurious background signals.

    Both methods pose a challenge.

    Tantalum is among the rarest elements in the solar system, and the tantalum-180m isotope makes up only 0.012% of naturally occurring tantalum. Additionally, the telltale sign of tantalum-180m’s decay is the release of a gamma ray. In an ultra-sensitive detector, even small amounts of background radiation from the Sun, the atmosphere and dust can overshadow that trace signal.

    Previous attempts to observe the decay have come up short. In 2016, researchers in the HADES underground laboratory in Belgium placed 1.5 kilograms of tantalum (containing about 180 milligrams of tantalum-180m) between two high-purity germanium detectors. Then, the collaboration watched and waited 244 days for a signal that never came.

    3
    Layout of the underground laboratory HADES in Mol (Belgium)

    The HADES experiment set the most stringent lower limit on the lifetime of tantalum-180m: 4.5×10^16 years. The measurement was at least an order of magnitude away from measuring the decay.

    The quietest place on Earth

    But now, Massarczyk and Meijer have brought the search to one of the quietest places on Earth: The Majorana Demonstrator [below].

    The Majorana Demonstrator was built to demonstrate technology in the search for a theorized decay that, if it exists, has an even longer half-life than tantalum-180m. The collaboration built their detector with ultra-pure materials, then placed it within layers of shielding in a cleanroom 4,580 feet underground at SURF. There, nearly a mile of rock shields the experiment from cosmic rays from the Sun. After six years of operation, the Majorana Demonstrator proved their technology and paved the way for a next-generation experiment.

    As the Majorana Demonstrator’s science run drew to a close, Massarczyk and Meijer proposed that the world-class detector and lab space be repurposed to finally measure the decay of nature’s rarest isotope.

    “This search fits with what we, the Majorana Demonstrator collaboration, do,” said Vincente Guiseppe, co-spokesperson of the Majorana Collaboration and a research staff member at the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “Our primary goal is to look for a decay that has never been observed, so adapting the Majorana Demonstrator to search for the decay of tantalum-180m makes perfect sense.”

    Massarczyk and Meijer repurposed the detector, placing 17.4 kilograms of tantalum (containing about 2.088 grams of tantalum-180m) inside the detector, where a large array of 23 high-purity germanium detectors will detect minute signals.


    Massarczyk and Meijer modified the Majorana Demonstrator, adding tantalum plates inside the strings of the detector, where 23 high-purity germanium detectors will detect minute signals emanating from within the tantalum plates. Photo by Ralph Massarczyk.

    “Compared to the HADES experiment, we have more than ten times the tantalum mass,” Meijer said. “We also have an array of 23 detectors, compared to the 2 detectors used previously. This gives us a higher measurement efficiency, and we are more likely to see the signature gamma rays that come off the tantalum-180m. While the HADES group did a great job making a sensitive measurement, the low-background array of the Majorana Demonstrator allows us to be highly effective for these kinds of measurements.”

    “We could not have done this without the collaboration’s efforts,” Massarczyk said. “Because of all the work that Majorana Demonstrator had already done, and with the support of Los Alamos’ lab-directed research and development program, we were able to create this new experiment with minimal effort and minimal cost.”

    The waiting game begins

    If all goes to plan, the new experiment will measure the half-life of tantalum-180m to 10^19 years, an order of magnitude beyond its predicted half-life.

    1
    For at least a year, the tantalum plates and detector components will sit within this cryostat vessel, shielded from cosmic rays and dust by layers of copper and lead shielding, in a cleanroom nearly a mile underground. Photo by Nick Hubbard.

    “Within a year, we expect to completely cover the theoretical prediction,” Meijer said.

    If the theoretical prediction is correct, the experiment will finally witness a decay of tantalum-180m. Beyond settling a decades-old search, a better understanding of the decay process could be exploited to search for dark matter.

    If, however, the theoretical prediction is wrong, a discovery will still be made.

    “If the prediction is wrong, that’s still exciting, because it points us in a new direction. In some sense, you can’t really lose by trying to make this measurement with this setup,” Meijer said. “We know that we will measure something interesting, regardless of what happens.”

    5
    The Majorana Demonstrator is looking for a rare form of decay called neutrinoless double-beta decay. If they find it, it could tell us why matter exists.

    Full Details

    See the full article here .


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

    Stem Education Coalition

    About us: The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF 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.

    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 The U Washington MAJORANA Neutrinoless Double-beta Decay Experiment 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.

    The LUX Xenon dark matter detector | Sanford Underground Research Facility mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

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

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.

    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”

    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

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

    FNAL DUNE LBNF from FNAL to SURF, Lead, South Dakota.

    FNAL DUNE LBNF, Caverns at Sanford Lab.

    U Washington MAJORANA Neutrinoless Double-beta Decay Experiment at SURF.

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

    Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). Credit: Nick Hubbard..

    Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). Credit: Nick Hubbard.

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 8:25 am on June 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Cangleska Wakan", "Paha Sapa" or "He Sapa", "Sacred Circle Garden design 100% complete", , , , Potential events could include master gardening; astronomy and stargazing; the history and uses of South Dakota’s native plants; Earth science education and Native American cultural events., Since the inception of the Sacred Circle Garden initiative the vision has been clear: create an ethnobotanical garden honoring the history of the Black Hills., SURF’s vision to build a cultural and educational ethnobotanical garden space is now rendered in complete detail., The Garden will be used as a space for educational and cultural events for k-12 students as well as adults., The Garden will provide a place to reflect on the history of this region and what it could be in the future., The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF, This design was created through conversations with tribal elders and our ad hoc committee which included members from across the state of South Dakota.   

    From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF: “Sacred Circle Garden design 100% complete” 

    From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF

    June 21, 2022
    Erin Lorraine Broberg

    SURF’s vision to build a cultural and educational ethnobotanical garden space is now rendered in complete detail.

    1
    Bear Butte, a Lakota sacred site featured in the garden.

    Since the inception of the Sacred Circle Garden initiative the vision has been clear: create an ethnobotanical garden honoring the history of the Black Hills, or Paha Sapa or He Sapa, and the connections we all share. Now, this vision is captured in a complete architectural design.

    Designworks Inc., a Rapid City landscape architect, completed the 100% design this month, rendering the features of the future Garden in detail.

    “This design was created through conversations with tribal elders and our ad hoc committee which included members from across the state of South Dakota. With their input and ideas, we’ve worked with the architect to achieve the 100% design,” said Staci Miller, director of the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) Foundation.

    2
    The Sacred Circle Garden, or Cangleska Wakan, will be located on a hilltop meadow at SURF. Primary features of the Garden include a medicine wheel and native grasses and plants. Located in the heart of the Paha Sapa, or He Sapa, the Garden will highlight four significant areas: Mato Paha (Bear Butte), Mato Tipila (Bear’s Lodge/Devil’s Tower), Hehaka Sapa (Black Elk Peak) and the Mako Sica (Badlands), all sacred sites for the Lakota and other regional tribes.

    “As a Lakota, I see strong connections between the Lakota way of understanding the universe and the research being done at SURF,” said Jace DeCory, a member of the planning committee. “I whole-heartedly support the efforts to build the Cangleska Wakan, where Tribal and all people can interact and connect with the Black Hills in a respectful way.”

    The Garden will be used as a space for educational and cultural events for k-12 students as well as adults. Miller said potential events could include master gardening, astronomy and stargazing, the history and uses of South Dakota’s native plants, Earth science education and Native American cultural events. “The Garden offers a space to bridge the science that’s happening a mile underground at SURF with the science that Indigenous peoples of the Black Hills have known for centuries,” Miller said.

    “This is a keystone project,” said Casey Peterson, ex officio member of the SURF Foundation board of directors and major donor to the initiative. “It’s a demonstration to our local community, to our Indigenous neighbors and to the world that we honor and respect this land. This space will offer a place of connection and cultural exchange for everyone who visits.”

    With the complete design in hand, the Garden is one step closer to becoming a reality. Through individual donations, corporate sponsorship, fund-raising events and a campaign offering limited-edition prints, the SURF Foundation has raised $449,771.59 of the $800,000 goal.

    Dana Dykhouse, emeritus member of the SURF Foundation board of directors and major donor to the initiative, said he hopes to inspire others to share in the vision for the project.

    “For all of us who hold the Black Hills in high esteem, both our Native community and those of us who have come later, the Garden will provide a place to reflect on the history of this region and what it could be in the future,” Dykhouse said.

    With the Garden design complete, sharing the vision has become 100% easier. To make a donation to the SURF Foundation or learn more, contact Staci Miller or visit the Sacred Circle Garden webpage.

    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-SURF 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.

    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 The U Washington MAJORANA Neutrinoless Double-beta Decay Experiment 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.

    The LUX Xenon dark matter detector | Sanford Underground Research Facility mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

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

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.

    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”

    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

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

    FNAL DUNE LBNF Caverns at Sanford Lab.

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 9:03 am on June 1, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "SDSTA": South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, "SURF scientific community celebrate 10 years in the Davis Campus", , , The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF, The SDSTA assembled a team of those most familiar with the facility: former Homestake miners.   

    From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF: “SURF scientific community celebrate 10 years in the Davis Campus” 

    From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF

    May 27, 2022
    Erin Lorraine Broberg

    1
    Left: The Davis Cavern during the construction phase. Right: The water tank, which holds the dark matter experiment, in the completed Davis Cavern. Credit: Matthew Kapust, Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    In 2004, a small team in Lead, South Dakota, set an audacious goal: build a world-class science laboratory 4,580 feet underground in a former gold mine.

    The South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) was tasked with creating the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in the former Homestake Gold Mine (Homestake). The vision—a deep underground research facility where nearly a mile of rock would shield sensitive particle physics experiments from cosmic rays—was the brainchild of several physicists. The location seemed ideal for such a laboratory. After all, Homestake had once been the home to Dr. Raymond Davis Jr.’s Solar Neutrino Experiment.

    What made this undertaking so daunting, however, was the current state of the proposed space. Homestake ceased operations in 2001. In 2003, the dewatering pumps were turned off. Ground water steadily rose, eventually submerging the 4850 Level for more than a year.

    In 2009, William McElroy, the construction project manager, was with the first crew to step foot on the level after it was dewatered. The crew walked the half mile from the Ross Station to the cavern where the laboratory space would be built. McElroy described the experience: “I had water spilling over my boots. Debris was floating here and there. Things were floating right by us. The walls were caked with a heavy iron oxide deposit.” McElroy also saw what wasn’tthere. No lights. No electricity. No clear travel routes. No existing infrastructure.

    This was the spot they intended to build a laboratory space with less than one particle of dust per 1,000 cubic foot? This is where researchers wanted to host the world’s most sensitive particle detectors? At a recent celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Davis Campus, McElroy recalled thinking, “I’m all for a challenge, but this, this is big.”

    2
    Will McElroy speaks to current and former SURF staff at the 10-year anniversary celebration. Photo by Adam Gomez, Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    From mud and muck to a world-class laboratory

    The SDSTA assembled a team of those most familiar with the facility: former Homestake miners. With their knowledge of the facility and expertise in hard-rock environments, the team headed back underground.

    First, the 4850 Level needed infrastructure. Crews drained the level of remaining water; secured the drifts and caverns with ground support; established proper ventilation; cleared travel routes; and installed rail for locomotive travel. The crew excavated 18,000 tons of rock to expand the laboratory cavern and add space for a utility cavern.

    Some of the work was familiar to the team of former miners; other parts had a learning curve.

    “We had to adjust from the mining standards—get in, make the ground safe for the time you’re working in the cavern, get the ore, then get out—to a new standard,” McElroy said. “This new standard was to ensure the campus would be safe and secure to work in for 50 years. It was an education for all of us.”

    Then, work began on the lab, with South Dakota contractor Ainsworth Benning leading the outfitting effort. Crews poured reinforced foundations for heavily shielded experiments, then built multiple laboratory spaces using carefully selected materials and HVAC systems necessary to establish cleanroom operations.

    The enormous underground effort had lots of support “up top.” The SDSTA had established a board of directors and the SURF team was steadily growing, adding jobs for hoist operations, shaft and facility maintenance, project management, business, administration, as well as science education and outreach. Contractors, most from South Dakota, provided support and expertise to tackle some of the special construction requirements. And the project was made possible through a generous donation from T. Denny Sanford, a land donation from Barrick Gold Corporation, and the support of South Dakota governors and lawmakers, including Senator Mike Rounds.

    “This was an exciting time and a proud moment for South Dakota,” said Mike Headley, executive director of the SDSTA, at the 2022 celebration. “We couldn’t have achieved any piece of this undertaking without the confidence, vision and investment of our partners and stakeholders.”

    Perhaps most importantly, scientists from around the world had committed to hosting their experiments at the future lab.

    “Without world-class scientists and world-class science at SURF—especially in the early days when we were just getting our feet under ourselves—we would absolutely not be here today,” said Jaret Heise, science director at SURF, at the 2022 celebration.

    Dedicating the Davis Campus

    In 2012, the laboratory space was complete. In celebration, the SDSTA held a dedication ceremony on the 4850 Level. At the ceremony, the new laboratory was named the “Davis Campus,” in recognition of Dr. Davis.

    For nearly three decades, Davis counted neutrinos from the Sun on the 4850 Level of the Homestake Mine. A chemist from Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, Davis’ methodic approach to understanding neutrinos forever changed physics and earned Davis a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics. In September 2020, the American Physical Society (APS) designated SURF as a Historic Site in physics, in recognition of the impact of Davis’ research.

    “SURF is built on a strong foundation and legacy of compelling and transformational science,” Heise said. “Ray Davis shared in the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics, and without Ray’s literally groundbreaking and pioneering work, we would absolutely not be here today.”

    With Davis’ legacy, it was fitting that researchers hoping to solve current mysteries would take their experiments to the same underground cavern. When the Davis Campus was dedicated 10 years ago, scientific collaborations were eager to do just that.

    10 years of science milestones

    The first experiment to move into the Davis Campus was the Majorana Demonstrator (Majorana). Majorana studies neutrinos, the same strange subatomic particle that Davis studied for decades.

    After years of data-taking, the Majorana collaboration showed that it is possible—within a deep underground lab, with extreme cleanliness protocols and with their detector technology—to decrease backgrounds enough to search for a rare particle interaction called “neutrinoless double-beta decay.”

    “The Majorana collaboration developed technical advances that are being incorporated into the next generation of experiments—that’s how strong the science at SURF is,” Heise said.

    3
    Dr. Vincent Guiseppe works on the Majorana Demonstrator Project inside the cleanroom glove box. Photo by Matthew Kapust, Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    Other experiments in the Davis Campus were searching for particles even more elusive than neutrinos. In 2013, the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment operating in the Davis Campus became the most sensitive dark matter detector in the world.

    In early 2022, the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), a second-generation experiment 100 times more sensitive than LUX, began taking data. LZ is on track to achieve world-leading sensitivity.

    4
    LUX-ZEPLIN, the second-generation dark matter detector at SURF, sits inside a 72,000 gallon water tank surrounded by photomultiplier tubes. Photo by Matthew Kapust, Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    Rare event searches like Majorana and LZ don’t just need to be shielded from cosmic rays—they also require some of the world’s cleanest materials. The Davis Campus is home to the Black Hills State University Underground Campus (BHUC). There, low background counters characterize materials intended for ultra-sensitive experiments. With the BHUC, the Davis Campus provides low background counting technology to emerging experiments around the globe.

    6
    Dr. Brianna Mount, associate professor of physics at Black Hills State University, opens a low background counter inside the BHSU Underground Campus on the 4850 Level. Photo by Adam Gomez, Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    “The first 10 years of science in the Davis Campus have been amazing,” Heise said. “And I know we’re all very much looking forward to the next ten years.”

    Looking to the future

    With the vast underground infrastructure at SURF, there’s room for expansion. Excavation is underway on the 4850 Level to create the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF), which will support Fermilab’s Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). There is also potential to go even deeper, building laboratory spaces on the 7400 Level.

    Realizing these projects will require a mammoth measure of expertise, effort and ingenuity. But if the story of the Davis Campus is any indication, the SDSTA and its partners are up to the task.

    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-SURF 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.

    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 The U Washington MAJORANA Neutrinoless Double-beta Decay Experiment 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.

    The LUX Xenon dark matter detector | Sanford Underground Research Facility mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

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

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.

    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”

    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

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

    FNAL DUNE LBNF Caverns at Sanford Lab.

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

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

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

     
  • richardmitnick 11:29 am on May 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "'Ground-breaking' experiment at SURF to advance geothermal energy research", , “Hydraulic shearing”, , , , , Last month EGS Collab ran two experiments: one slow and one fast., Researchers wonder what combination of speed and pressure result in the best network of fractures., The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF   

    From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF: “‘Ground-breaking’ experiment at SURF to advance geothermal energy research” 

    SURF-Sanford Underground Research Facility, Lead, South Dakota, USA.

    From The Sanford Underground Research Facility-SURF

    Homestake Mining, Lead, South Dakota, USA.
    Homestake Mining Company

    May 23, 2022
    Erin Lorraine Broberg

    Geothermal group begins new round of geothermal experiments at the Sanford Underground Research Facility.

    1
    EGS Collab researchers monitor experiment activity in a drift on the 4100 Level of Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). From left to right: Hunter Knox, Vince Vermeul and Jefferey Burghardt. Photo by Matthew Kapust.

    Researchers with Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) Collab began a new round of geothermal experiments last month at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, South Dakota.

    In geothermal systems, water flows through permeable pathways in deep, hot rock formations, gaining heat through direct contact with the rock. Though the U.S. has an abundance of hot rock, the rock is often too tight, offering little to no passage for water.

    Funded by the Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office, the EGS Collab seeks to “enhance” permeability in rock formations by opening existing fractures or creating new fractures. But first, they want to answer some questions: How quickly should fractures be opened? Is it better to prop fractures open or to shear the rock? And how long will geothermal reservoirs last before the hot rock begins to cool?

    The EGS Collab has been investigating these questions at SURF since 2017.

    “Having access to rock at this depth, under this level of stress, and being able to instrument the rock so carefully—this is really a unique opportunity,” said Jeff Burghardt, lead geomechanic at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

    First on the 4850 Level, and later on the 4100 Level, the group created “testbeds.” Researchers drilled boreholes deep into the rockface and outfitted the boreholes with a dense array of sensors and instrumentation to stimulate and monitor the rock.

    2
    EGS Collab’s testbed on the 4100 Level of Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). Photo by Adam Gomez.

    These testbeds won’t produce geothermal energy—they are meso-scale, measured in meters rather than kilometers, and the rock isn’t hot enough to fuel a true geothermal system. But with direct access to deep subsurface rock, EGS Collab can test a variety of rock stimulation methods they hope will inform field-scale geothermal systems elsewhere.

    To fracture or to shear?

    The first method the EGS Collab wanted to vet was “hydraulic fracturing.” From 2017 to 2020, researchers tested this method on the 4850 Level. In several boreholes, the team injected pressurized water to create fractures in the rock, then continued applying pressure to keep the fractures propped open.

    3
    During experiments, this “straddle packer” is inserted into the borehole to stimulate select portions of the borehole with pressurized water. Photo by Adam Gomez.

    “With hydraulic fracturing, the fracture wants to close as soon as you take the pressure off. That’s not very efficient, because the pressure you’re providing keeps growing and growing,” explained Hunter Knox, geophysicist and PNNL’s EGS Collab lead.

    Last month, the EGS Collab attempted a different method at the 4100 Level testbed. Called “hydraulic shearing,” this method seeks to stimulate a preexisting fracture, causing it to open and shift. If the rough edges of the rock catch on each other, the fracture remains propped open, even after the initial pressure is removed.

    “We’d much rather have the rock naturally propped open,” Knox said. “That reduces the pressure, which makes the system safer and more efficient.”

    Moving slow or fast?

    Researchers also wonder what combination of speed and pressure result in the best network of fractures. Last month EGS Collab ran two experiments: one slow and one fast.

    First, researchers injected just three milliliters of water per minute—hardly a trickle. Eventually, they increased the rate to 0.4 liters per minute. Nearly 24 hours passed before the mounting pressure formed a fracture.

    “This slow, low injection rate tends to favor stimulating natural, existing fractures in the rock,” Burghardt said. “We want to know if we can use this method to create a more complex network of fractures. With more complex networks, the fluid takes a longer path, touches more surface area and captures more heat.”

    During the second experiment, researchers picked up the pace. They started by injecting one liter of water per minute, then steadily increased to five liters per minute, forming a fracture in less than an hour. “This jump to a high injection rate should create a simple, flat, planar fracture,” said Burghardt.

    Will the heat last?

    The other question EGS Collab wants to tackle is the longevity of geothermal reservoirs.

    “Water heats up as it flows through the rock. If we flow water through fast enough, for long enough, eventually the water will cool the rock along the whole fracture,” Burghardt said.

    This cooling effect, called “thermal breakthrough,” puts an expiration date on geothermal reservoirs. To justify the construction of a field-scale enhanced geothermal system, researchers need to understand just how long that system will last. Soon, EGS Collab will pump water continuously through the testbed, tracking the temperature as the rock slowly cools.

    Modeling for the future

    So, what’s the best way to create an enhanced geothermal system?

    It will take a while to answer that question. For every day of experimentation, the EGS Collab collects an average of 6 terabytes of data. “This is a physical experiment, but you can describe everything that’s happening numerically,” said Mark White, staff mechanical engineer at PNNL.

    “We build numerical models that describe the flow of the water through the fractures,” White said. “We use these models to make forecasts about what we think is going to happen in the experiment and to make predictions about fracture migration and propagation.”

    EGS Collab’s experiments at SURF are a good way to validate these models—and to poke holes in them. “We don’t always get it right,” White said. “Mother Nature always surprises us. And then we have to rethink the mathematics or the physics and incorporate that back into the model.”

    4
    EGS Collab researcher Chet Hopp monitors incoming data during an experiment run. Photo by Matthew Kapust.

    The data and knowledge collected from EGS Collab’s investigation will be applied at the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy, known as Utah FORGE. A flagship DOE geothermal project, Utah FORGE is a kilometer-scale field laboratory in Milford, Utah — a full-scale analog to the ten meter-scale EGS Collab testbeds at SURF.

    “We hope that EGS Collab’s research can contribute to making the U.S. more energy independent and can help provide clean, renewable energy across the country,” Knox said.

    The EGS Collab has previously been referred to as SIGMA-V at SURF.

    The EGS Collab project includes researchers from ten national labs — Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Energy Research Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, National Energy Technology Laboratory, and Brookhaven National Laboratory; and eight universities — South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Stanford, University of Wisconsin, University of Oklahoma, Colorado School of Mines, Penn State, Rice University, and Texas A&M University. Many industry consultants and contractors, including teams at SURF, continue to be instrumental to the ongoing success of the project.

    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-SURF 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.
    The LBNL LZ Dark Matter Experiment Dark Matter project at SURF, Lead, SD, USA.
    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 U Washington MAJORANA Neutrinoless Double-beta Decay Experiment 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.

    The LUX Xenon dark matter detector | Sanford Underground Research Facility mission was to scour the universe for WIMPs, vetoing all other signatures. It would continue to do just that for another three years before it was decommissioned in 2016.

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

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory physicist Tom Shutt, a previous co-spokesperson for LUX, said one goal of the experiment was to figure out how to build an even larger detector.

    “LZ will be a thousand times more sensitive than the LUX detector,” Shutt said. “It will just begin to see an irreducible background of neutrinos that may ultimately set the limit to our ability to measure dark matter.”

    We celebrate five years of LUX, and look into the steps being taken toward the much larger and far more sensitive experiment.

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

    FNAL DUNE LBNF from FNAL to SURF >, Lead, South Dakota

    FNAL DUNE LBNF (US) Caverns at Sanford Lab.

    U Washington MAJORANA Neutrinoless Double-beta Decay Experiment at SURF.

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

    Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR). Credit: Nick Hubbard.

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

     
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