Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Small Particle Means Big Research for International Physics Project

21.02.2011
As part of a global physics project, a team of Kansas State University physics researchers is starting small.

They're looking at neutrinos, tiny particles with a major influence on physics research.

Glenn Horton-Smith, associate professor of physics, is leading the K-State exploration on the Double Chooz neutrino detector, located in the Ardennes region of northern France. The detector measures neutrinos from the nearby Chooz nuclear power plant.

More than 38 universities and research institutes from eight countries are working on the neutrino detector. K-State is one of 14 U.S. organizations involved.

Neutrinos are neutral elementary particles that come from nuclear reactions or radioactive decay, and large detectors are needed to capture and measure them.

The detector is buried more than 300 feet inside a hill a little more than a half of a mile away from the nuclear reactor and is the site of a previous neutrino experiment. Construction on the first of two new neutrino detectors finished in late 2010.

"It's exciting because we're in a data-taking stage right now," Horton-Smith said. "We're looking at the first data that is coming out and making sure everything is working correctly."

K-State scientists, along with K-State's Electronics Design Lab, designed and built the hardware for the detector's monitoring system, which measures the magnetic field and temperature throughout the detector. Horton-Smith wrote the first computer simulation of the detector, and he leads the group of researchers who work on offline data processing and simulation software.

The hardware and software help the detector measure neutrino oscillations, which are the transformations of neutrinos into different types. Neutrinos come in three different types, each an overlapping of three different mass states. As these states oscillate, a neutrino's type changes.

"It is very analogous to a musical chord, where you hear two or three frequencies at the same time," Horton-Smith said.

While two mass states have been detected in the neutrinos from reactors, the third state is either weak or absent. Researchers in the Double Chooz collaboration want to discover more about this third mass state.

To capture and measure neutrinos, the detector includes a central cylinder 10.5 cubic meters in size that is surrounded by larger cylinders. The cylinders are filled with a clear liquid scintillating oil that glows when neutrinos interact and measures energy deposited by radiation and subatomic particles. Several layers of buffer liquid and steel act as protection.

"We're really checking to see whether all three mass states are in the electron neutrino, or if one of them is missing," Horton-Smith said. "If one of them is missing, there are all sorts of theories about why that may be."

Researchers will collect data throughout the year from the first detector. The second detector, scheduled to be completed in 2012, will be even closer to the nuclear reactor -- more than 1,300 feet. By comparing data from both detectors at two different distances, researchers hope to have more accurate measurements of neutrino oscillations.

Other K-State researchers involved with the project include David McKee, postdoctoral researcher; Pi-Jung Chang, doctoral student in physics, Sinjhuang, Taiwan; and Deepak Shrestha, doctoral student in physics, Palpa, Nepal.

Photos available. Download at http://neutrino.phys.ksu.edu/~gahs/doublechooz/photos/

Note to editor: Please attribute photos to credit listed in cutline.

Source: Glenn Horton-Smith, 785-532-6476, gahs@k-state.edu

Glenn Horton-Smith | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.k-state.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>