An International Endeavor To Solve the Mystery of Neutrino Oscillations

Below is a quick post for my former/current high energy physics friends. You can also check out my article for a general audience, which was just published in Symmetry magazine. 

The neutrino physics community has wanted to build an accelerator-based, long-baseline neutrino facility for years. But recent efforts appear to be making this exciting experimental program a reality with the formation of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) — a truly international collaboration of physicists from 23 countries and 150 institutions.

This worldwide expertise and resources will be needed to make the experiment a reality. DUNE is so challenging that a single nation or continent is unable to do the experiment by itself.

The ambitious experiment will drive a high-intensity, megawatt class neutrino beam from Fermilab through 1300 km of earth to the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota, where it will be detected by a massive liquid argon time-projection-chamber located deep underground. The plan is to first deploy a 10-kiloton underground detector by 2021, which will later be upgraded to 40-kiloton. A high-resolution detector will also be placed just downstream from the beamline to measure the composition of the neutrino beam as it leaves the Fermilab site.

The principal goal of the experiment is to carry out a comprehensive investigation of neutrino oscillations. Scientists hope to observe CP violation – the asymmetry between matter and antimatter – among neutrinos and compare it to the CP violation seen in quarks and antiquarks. They also aim to determine the ordering of the neutrino masses and to test the three-neutrino paradigm. In addition, extensive neutrino astrophysics and nucleon decay programs are planned using the near and far detectors.

The DUNE collaboration hopes to build this experiment on an aggressive schedule, so you will undoubtedly be hearing more about DUNE soon…

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