FERMILAB Wants Brazil to Participate in Neutrino Mega-Experiment

Hello reader!

It follows an article published on day (03/09) in the english website of the Agência FAPESP noting that FERMILAB wants Brazil to participate in Neutrino Mega-Experiment.

Duda Falcão


FERMILAB Wants Brazil to Participate
in Neutrino Mega-Experiment

By Elton Alisson
Agência FAPESP
March 09, 2016

(Photo: Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF)
Reidar Hahn/FERMILAB)
Leading US particle physics lab plans to measure the properties
of neutrinos, which are among the most abundant particles in
the universe, and detect their interactions with matter.

Argentinian scientist Marcela Carena divides her time between research at FERMILAB, the leading particle physics laboratory in the United States, and being a sort of ambassador for the research center.

Carena heads the Department of Theoretical Physics at FERMILAB, which is subordinate to the US Department of Energy and is located in Batavia, near Chicago, Illinois. In late November 2015, she accepted an invitation from Nigel Lockyer, FERMILAB’s director, to be the institution’s first head of international relations. Her remit includes facilitating agreements with research funding agencies around the world and attracting partners to DUNE, the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

DUNE is a billion-dollar international mega-science project designed to discover new properties of neutrinos, elusive elementary particles that have practically no mass and travel very close to the speed of light. The project calls for the construction of an underground source emitting a beam of neutrinos at FERMILAB.

The neutrinos created by the underground beamline will travel 1,300 km in a straight line through Earth’s mantle and will be intercepted by two detectors: one 600 m underground at FERMILAB, and a larger detector 1.47 km below the surface at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota.

During the neutrinos’ long journey, the physicists involved in the project plan to measure the properties of these particles, which are the most abundant in the universe after photons. Neutrinos can pass through dense material such as soil and rocks without interacting with a single atom, leaving no trace of their passage; for this reason, they are sometimes called “phantom particles.”

The DUNE particle detector will “catch” as many neutrinos as possible and record their rare interactions with atoms. Only one out of every trillion neutrinos emerging from the beamline will interact in the experiment’s detector.

DUNE is expected to make discoveries that could transform scientists’ understanding of the origin and evolution of the universe. It may find, for example, that neutrinos are the key to solving the mystery of how the universe came to consist of matter rather than antimatter.

“DUNE is a new experimental model for FERMILAB,” Carena told Agência FAPESP during a visit to São Paulo in February to present at a seminar on high-energy physics, organized by the International Center for Theoretical Physics of the South American Institute for Fundamental Research (ICTP-SAIFR) and hosted by São Paulo State University’s Institute of Theoretical Physics (IF-UNESP).

Carena also met with senior executives of FAPESP on February 4.

“FERMILAB has hitherto performed experiments in which our international partners were invited to join in at the end of the project, when the particle accelerator and detector had already been built, for example. In the case of DUNE, the international community has been involved in designing the experiment from scratch. It’s a multinational project like the Large Hadron Collider [LHC] at CERN,” said Carena, who is also a professor in the University of Chicago’s Physics Department.

Billion-Dollar Investment

DUNE is the first mega-science project in physics to be built by the US on its own territory. Washington alone plans to invest US$1.5 billion in the experiment.

Carena said that an undisclosed amount required to make up the rest of the budget will have to come from international partners such as Brazil, which has a long history of scientific relations with FERMILAB.

With 73 researchers from 14 institutions, Brazil accounts for the sixth-largest share of the FERMILAB user community, behind the US, UK, Italy, India and Germany but ahead of Russia, Switzerland, Japan and Canada.

Some of the Brazilian researchers at FERMILAB are affiliated with institutions in São Paulo State, such as the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and the Federal University of the ABC (UFABC). They are working on experiments designed to develop beams of neutrinos and electrically charged particles as a platform of ideas for DUNE.

“Brazil is the Latin American country with the strongest ties to FERMILAB,” Carena said. “We hope to maintain and strengthen this collaboration with Brazil in neutrino physics through experiments like DUNE.”

In her view, one of the ways for Brazil to collaborate on DUNE could be to construct parts of the detectors, including the main detector that will be installed at Sanford Lab and will consist of four cryogenic modules containing liquid argon, with a total mass of 70,000 tons.

“The idea is to work with the neutrino physics community in Brazil to see what kinds of technological developments could be achieved here, in collaboration with Brazilian industry, for the detectors to be used in the DUNE experiment,” Carena said.

The DUNE collaboration currently includes more than 800 researchers from 145 research institutions in 26 countries.

FERMILAB wants CERN to participate in the project and to help build the first of the four cryogenic modules for the neutrino detector.

FERMILAB is participating in the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), one of two large general-purpose particle physics detectors built in the LHC complex at CERN. Brazilian physicists are also participating in CMS, which, in July 2012, announced the observation of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson simultaneously with the ATLAS collaboration.

“The CMS experiment, which involves researchers from 182 institutions in 42 countries, is a very interesting example of a governance model based on informal collaborations without a legal basis or rigid structure. It works very well and could perhaps be used in DUNE,” Carena said.

Source: English WebSite of the Agência FAPESP


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