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.
Julia Maddock | alfa
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