The scientist has designed the particle physics experiment Known as the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF). The experiment will fire a beam of elusive particles called Neutrinos. From Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermi lab) in Batavia, Illinois. To a gargantuan particle detector 1300 kilometers away in an abandoned gold mine in Lead South Dakota. Most mysterious of subatomic particles, neutrinos outnumber every other type of matter particle. For every second trillions of them pass unnoticed through each of us.
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Design of neutrino detector
They come in three types electron, muon, and tau that can morph, or oscillate, into one another. By firing muon neutrinos from particle accelerators to distant underground detectors. Physicists have sketched out the basics of such Neutrino Oscillations. The LBNF aims to nail down all the details and put physicists’ theory of the phenomenon to the acid test.
Scientists proposed building such an experiment as early as 2001. As part of a bigger multipurpose lab at Home stake Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). However, in 2010 the National Science Board, which sets policy for NSF, balked at that idea, leaving it to the Department of Energy (DOE) to build the neutrino experiment. The size and scope of the effort then oscillated up and down, as physicists and DOE officials haggled over what the department could afford.
In 2014 they agreed to restore the experiment to its original scope and make it an international project. DOE now anticipates covering $1.5 billion of the total cost. The detector itself now known independently as the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) will comprise four massive tanks of ultrapure liquid argon.
Once workers have excavated the caverns, they will have to build the steel tanks that will hold the liquid argon. Engineers are borrowing a technology called membrane Cryostat Technology that is now used in tanker ships that carry liquid natural gas. The inner liner of the tank will consist of a thin layer of corrugated steel. That will be surrounded by a thick layer of insulation and an outer steel support structure.
Thousands of trucks of argon
In addition, getting the liquid argon to the lab will also require some thought. Argon is shipped as a liquid by truck, one of which typically hauls about 20 tons. So filling the detector will require 3500 deliveries.
Further, the civil construction and infrastructure work at Home stake are pricy. The DOE budget request for fiscal year 2018 pegs the cost of those two things at a total of $398 million.
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Physicists do not yet have approval from DOE to build the high-tech guts of the DUNE detector. Researchers at Fermilab and CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, are still working with prototype detectors and ironing out their designs, James says.
Finally, hope to get final approval to start building detector hardware itself in 2019, in hopes of completing construction of the detectors in 2024, he says. The United States will cover about 25% of the costs of the detector, James says.