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 Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods
19.10.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht NASA team finds noxious ice cloud on saturn's moon titan
19.10.2017 | 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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>