University of Wisconsin-Madison Physical Sciences Lab

PSL makes Breakthroughs Possible

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Science magazine announced its “2012 Breakthrough of the Year.”  The winner was the discovery of the Higgs boson by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).  A runner-up breakthrough was the Neutrino Mixing Angle, which was discovered by the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment in China.

Photo of CMS disk being lowered into CMS cavern

The Higgs boson, the long sought missing piece of the Standard Model of Physics, was discovered by researchers working at the Large Hadron Collider, located at CERN in Switzerland.  PSL was instrumental in the building of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), one of the two detectors on the LHC.  PSL engineers designed the endcaps for the CMS and were key partners in the construction of CMS.  PSL has also been working on upgrades for CMS, which will strive for even more discoveries.

Picture of Daya Bay anti-neutrino detector

The Daya Bay project, as it’s known at PSL, is a neutrino detection experiment in China that has helped physicists find the mixing angle for neutrinos.  The mixing angle, the angle at which neutrinos change from one flavor of neutrino to another, has eluded scientists for many years.  This discovery may lead to more research in the field of neutrino particle physics.  PSL was a key collaborator in the Daya Bay project, designing the vessels and the vessel filling system.  Our machine shop built many parts for the vessels, the assembly system, and the filing system.

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