Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MINOS detector ready to take first data

15.08.2003


Technicians assembled each detector plane on a strongback (foreground). The whole plane was then lifted by crane and transported to its final position. It took less than two days to assemble and erect a single plane.


Today, (August 14th), sees the start of data collection on the Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (MINOS) detector, situated in the Soudan iron mine, Minnesota, USA. UK particle physicists, working within an international collaboration, will use the MINOS detector to investigate the phenomenon of neutrino mass – a puzzle that goes to the heart of our understanding of the Universe.

Neutrinos are pointlike, abundant particles with very little mass. They exist in three types or ‘flavours’ and recent experiments (including those at SNO – the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory) have demonstrated that neutrinos are capable of oscillating between these flavours (electron, tau and muon). This can only happen if one or more of the neutrino flavours does have mass, in contradiction to the Standard Model of particle physics.

The MINOS detector will start measurements of cosmic ray showers penetrating the Earth. It is situated in the Soudan Mine, Minnesota. The 30-metre-long detector consists of 486 massive octagonal planes, lined up like the slices of a loaf of bread. Each plane consists of a sheet of steel about 8 metres high and 2 ½ cm thick, covered on one side with a layer of scintillating plastic that emits light when struck by a charged particle.



“MINOS can separate neutrino interactions from their antimatter counterparts – the antineutrinos.” explains UK MINOS spokesperson, Jenny Thomas from University College London. “The data taken now from neutrinos produced in cosmic ray cascades may provide new insight into why the Universe is made of more matter than antimatter. At least, for the first time we will be able to compare the characteristics of neutrinos and anti-neutrinos coming from the atmosphere.”

However, MINOS has more ambitious plans in place for August 2004. Whilst most experiments like SNO measure neutrinos coming from the Sun, when complete, MINOS will instead study a beam of man-made neutrinos, all of the same type or ‘flavour’ – the muon neutrino flavour. This beam will be created at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and sent straight through the Earth to Soudan – a distance of 735 kilometres. No tunnel is needed because neutrinos interact so rarely with matter. A detector is currently being built just outside Fermilab, known as the ‘near’ detector, similar but smaller than the now operational MINOS detector, known as the ‘far’ detector. The ‘near’ detector will act as a control, studying the beam as it leaves Fermilab, then the results will be compared with those from the ‘far’ detector to see if the neutrinos have oscillated into electron or tau neutrinos during their journey.

A million million neutrinos will be created at Fermilab each year, but only 1,500 will interact with the nucleus of an atom in the far detector and generate a signal; the others will pass straight through.

“The realisation that neutrinos oscillate, first demonstrated by the Super Kamiokande experiment in Japan, has been one of the biggest surprises to emerge in particle physics since the inception of the Standard Model more than 30 years ago.” says Jenny Thomas. “The MINOS experiment will measure the oscillation parameters of these neutrinos to an unprecedented accuracy of a few percent; an amazing feat considering neutrinos can usually pass directly through the Earth without interacting at all and that their inferred masses are estimated to be less than 1eV. (The weight ratio of a neutrino to a 1kg bag of sugar is the same as the ratio of a grain of sand to the weight of the earth!). The parameter measurement will open up an entire new field of particle physics, to understand what effect on the universe this tiny neutrino mass has.”

Within two years of turning on the neutrino beam, MINOS should produce an unequivocal measurement of the oscillation of muon neutrinos with none of the uncertainties associated with the atmospheric or solar neutrino source. If indeed the findings are positive, then a new era in particle physics will begin. Theorists will have to incorporate massive neutrinos into the Standard Model, which will have exciting implications. Furthermore cosmologists will have a strong candidate for the ‘missing mass’ of the Universe (which dynamical gravitational measurements show must exist). The experimental side will be just as exciting as we plan new experiments to measure precisely how the different neutrinos change their flavour.

Julia Maddock | alfa
Further information:
http://www.pparc.ac.uk/Nw/Press/MINOS.asp
http://www.fnal.gov/pub/presspass/press_releases/minosdata.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
23.02.2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
22.02.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>