Fermilab documenting construction of NOvA—next generation neutrino experiment (w/ video)

February 3, 2014 by Bob Yirka report
The NOvA experiment uses two detectors: a 222 metric-ton near detector at Fermilab and a much larger 15 metric-kiloton far detector (pictured here) in Minnesota just south of the U.S.-Canada border.

(Phys.org) —Fermilab, run by the U.S. Department of Energy is going to great lengths to document and make known the work that is being done to build the country's next generation neutrino experiment—a twin campus endeavor known as NOvA that will shoot neutrino's from one site to another located over 500 miles apart.

Neutrinos are , electrically neutral and still rather mysterious. Scientists believe that studying them may help lead to fully understanding what everything in the universe is ultimately made of—may believe that unlike other particles, neutrinos don't get their mass from the famous Higgs boson . Another unique thing about neutrinos is that they don't interact much with other regular matter, instead they tend to pass right through it—billions of them are passing through each of us every second.

To better understand neutrinos, researchers would like to know what happens to them as they travel, that's what's behind NOvA—a project that has an international team of physicists, engineers, technicians and even students building a massive two part experiment. The first part is essentially a neutrino gun—located in Batavia, Illinois—it will create neutrinos and fire them at the second site located in Ash River, Minnesota—it's over 500 miles away which means the will have to travel through portions of the Earth to get there. Upon arrival, the will be captured by a very large (14,000 ton) piece of plastic that has been fashioned into liquid filled chambers, each with neutrino detecting gear.

By all measures it's a massive project, and Fermilab clearly wants the public to know where its tax dollars are being spent. They've hired video professionals to not only document the construction of the two facilities, but to interview many of the people involved in the effort, from physicists, to site managers to students volunteering to help.

The video will load shortly

In documenting the project, Fermilab is opening a window into the vast network of people and processes that are needed to undertake building a modern physics research facility. It also helps explain why it's so expensive, even when there is a lot of free labor provided by students.

The basic equipment at both sites is expected to be completed and installed sometime this spring—the electronics will be put in later this summer.

Scientists will detect a small fraction of the neutrinos in a near-detector at Fermilab and in a larger far-detector in Minnesota looking for signals that the neutrinos are changing from one type to another on their trip.

Explore further: Fermilab sends first neutrino beam to NOvA experiment

More information: www-nova.fnal.gov/

Related Stories

Fermilab sends first neutrino beam to NOvA experiment

September 17, 2013

DOE's Fermilab has switched on its newly upgraded neutrino beam, soon to be the most intense in the world. The laboratory spent the past 15 months upgrading its accelerator complex in preparation for the NOvA experiment, ...

UC researcher to leverage OSC to simulate neutrino behavior

January 13, 2014

A researcher at the University of Cincinnati is leveraging the compute and storage resources of the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) to simulate the behavior of elusive cosmic particles in an experiment that may provide answers ...

EUROnu project recommends building Neutrino Factory

June 19, 2013

(Phys.org) —The European Union's Seventh Framework Programme, EUROnu, has submitted its findings to a panel at CERN. Charged with choosing a project to study the nature of matter and antimatter, the project members have ...

Recommended for you

Novel light sources made of 2-D materials

October 28, 2016

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs, which are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal ...

Changing semiconductor properties at room temperature

October 28, 2016

It's a small change that makes a big difference. Researchers have developed a method that uses a one-degree change in temperature to alter the color of light that a semiconductor emits. The method, which uses a thin-film ...

Bubble nucleus discovered

October 27, 2016

Research conducted at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University has shed new light on the structure of the nucleus, that tiny congregation of protons and neutrons found at the core of ...

Shocks in the early universe could be detectable today

October 27, 2016

(Phys.org)—Physicists have discovered a surprising consequence of a widely supported model of the early universe: according to the model, tiny cosmological perturbations produced shocks in the radiation fluid just a fraction ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Feb 05, 2014
"Shoot neutrino's" what?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.