Fermilab Experiment Prepares to Send Its First Neutrinos 450 miles away to Minnesota

Jan 27, 2005
NuMI / MINOS Near Detector Construction at Fermilab

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will begin a projected five-year experiment in early February, 2005 by sending the first batches of subatomic particles called neutrinos on a path through the earth from the laboratory, about 40 miles west of Chicago, to a detector located in the historic Soudan iron mine a half-mile underground in the northeastern corner of Minnesota, about 450 miles away.

Image: NuMI / MINOS Near Detector Construction at Fermilab

Neutrinos are extremely abundant in nature - trillions of them are passing through us at any given moment. They interact with the atoms of ordinary matter so seldom that they can pass through air, water, rocks, or people without a trace. Neutrinos from cosmic rays go through the entire Earth, mysteriously morphing from one kind to another as they travel through space.

The Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (the MINOS experiment) will use neutrinos produced at Fermilab’s Main Injector accelerator to probe the secrets of these elusive subatomic particles: where do they come from, what are their masses and how do they change from one kind to another? When the experiment begins operations, neutrinos in the NuMI (for “Neutrinos at the Main Injector”) beam will travel straight through the earth, from Fermilab to Soudan in 2.5 milliseconds—no tunnel needed. In Minnesota, a 6,000-ton particle detector will search for neutrinos that may have changed from one kind to another during the trip.

The 200-plus MINOS experimenters will use the change from one type of neutrino to another as the key to discovering the neutrino’s secrets. The MINOS experiment involves scientists, engineers, technical specialists and students from 32 institutions in six countries, including Brazil, France, Greece, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The institutions include universities and national laboratories.

Source: Fermilab

Explore further: IHEP in China has ambitions for Higgs factory

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fermilab sends first neutrino beam to NOvA experiment

Sep 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 ...

Fermilab experiment weighs in on neutrino mystery

Jun 24, 2011

Scientists of the MINOS experiment at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced today (June 24) the results from a search for a rare phenomenon, the transformation of muon ...

Recommended for you

Unleashing the power of quantum dot triplets

1 hour ago

Quantum computers have yet to materialise. Yet, scientists are making progress in devising suitable means of making such computers faster. One such approach relies on quantum dots—a kind of artificial atom, ...

Chemist develops X-ray vision for quality assurance

2 hours ago

It is seldom sufficient to read the declaration of contents if you need to know precisely what substances a product contains. In fact, to do this you need to be a highly skilled chemist or to have genuine ...

The future of ultrashort laser pulses

2 hours ago

Rapid advances in techniques for the creation of ultra-short laser pulses promise to boost our knowledge of electron motions to an unprecedented level.

IHEP in China has ambitions for Higgs factory

19 hours ago

Who will lay claim to having the world's largest particle smasher?. Could China become the collider capital of the world? Questions tease answers, following a news story in Nature on Tuesday. Proposals for ...

The physics of lead guitar playing

21 hours ago

String bends, tapping, vibrato and whammy bars are all techniques that add to the distinctiveness of a lead guitarist's sound, whether it's Clapton, Hendrix, or BB King.

User comments : 0