- Number 373 |
- October 8, 2012
Crews complete first block of 14,000-ton neutrino detector
Technicians use this gigantic pivoter
machine to position the 28 blocks of the
14,000-ton NOvA particle detector.
Technicians have begun the assembly of the 14,000-ton particle detector that will be part of the largest, most advanced neutrino experiment in North America. The NOvA experiment, managed by DOE’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, will explore the properties of neutrinos, such as their masses. Scientists will investigate whether neutrinos helped give matter an edge over antimatter after both were created in equal amounts in the big bang.
The NOvA experiment will study a beam of neutrinos streaming about 500 miles straight through the earth from Fermilab near Chicago to the new particle detector in Ash River, Minnesota. The neutrinos, generated in what will be the most powerful neutrino beam in the world, will make the trip in less than three milliseconds.
On Sept. 10, a crew placed the first of 28 blocks that will make up the detector at the end of the 300-foot-long NOvA detector hall in Ash River. (Watch the time-lapse video.) Each block of the detector measures 51 by 51 by 7 feet and is made up of 384 plastic PVC modules. About 170 students from the University of Minnesota are building the modules, stringing them with optical fibers and attaching endcaps with readout electronics. DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory developed the machine that glues the modules into blocks. Fermilab developed the assembly table and pivoter machine to position each block. You can observe the construction of the NOvA detector online via webcam.The NOvA experiment is on track to begin taking data in 2013. The experiment is a collaboration of 169 scientists from 19 universities and laboratories in the United States and another 15 institutions around the world. Construction of the full detector will be complete in 2014.
[Andre Salles, 630.840.3351,