Fall 2009

DUSEL Creates Technical Challenges for the PSL Team of Engineers

Physical Sciences Laboratory has embarked on a new neutrino oscillation research project.  The idea is to send an underground neutrino beam from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois  to the Deep Underground Science Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) that will be constructed deep in a gold mine in Lead, South Dakota.

The distance of approximately 800 miles from Fermilab to DUSEL allows for long baseline oscillation experiments, which helps increase accuracy of measurement of oscillation parameters.   

Partners in this project are the U.W. Madison Physical Sciences Laboratory, Dept of Physics and IceCube Research Center, along with several national labs and universities.   The prior experience of the three U.W. centers highly qualifies them to take on such a large and significant project.   

PSL’s job is the design and integration of the far detector, which will be at DUSEL and will be constructed at about 4,850 feet underground.  This  detector will consist of 1-3 large caverns with a vessel in each cavern containing  100kTon of high purity water and approximately 50,000 Photomultiplier Tubes (PMT’s).

The design integration work is being led by PSL Director Farshid Feyzi with collaboration from PSL engineers and Duke University, Fermilab, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.   Bob Paulos from IceCube is helping Farshid Feyzi manage the project.

IceCube uses the same type of photodetectors at the South Pole with their extensive neutrino telescope. 

A large number of photo detectors will be very useful for  advancement of the DUSEL  project.

The closest project to this type of experiment is the Super-Kamiokande near Toyoma, Japan.  However the Super K is roughly half of the total volume of one of the far detectors at DUSEL.  This is part of the technical challenges that we will face.  Each containment vessel will be 56 meters in diameter and 60 meters high. 

In November, a group of PSL engineers made a visit to Toyoma, Japan and the Super-K.  They met with the director and co-director and were able to study the design and drawings.  Another group of engineers will be traveling to visit SNOLAB in Sudbury, Ontario.  There are similarities in both  projects that our engineers can learn from.

Funding for this  portion of  DUSEL  has been provided by the Department of Energy through Brookhaven National Laboratory.

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