Neutrino news

Fermilab Director
Nigel Lockyer

This month, we moved a step closer to completing on time and on budget the most ambitious construction project that Fermilab has taken on in the last 10 years, the NOvA experiment. The construction of this project started in 2009. With the help of the Department of Energy, the University of Minnesota, Caltech and many other institutions and funding agencies, all detector modules are now in place. The first segments in Ash River are recording neutrinos from Fermilab accelerator complex. The remainder of the work will be finished this summer. This is a major achievement for everybody involved, and I thank you for your work and dedication.

This is just the first of many steps we’ll be taking this year to advance experiments that will help us answer the big scientific questions in neutrino research. In May, we will start operating our accelerator complex in a new high-intensity mode, using the Recycler in routine slip stacking mode, to produce more intense proton beams in our Main Injector accelerator and create more neutrinos for NOvA. Our Accelerator Division successfully tested the new operations mode earlier this month, and our goal is to produce by the end of this fiscal year a world record beam power of 550 kilowatts for the production of high-energy neutrinos.

This spring the MicroBooNE collaboration will move its neutrino detector, about the size of a Midwest grain silo turned on its side, to its final location in the Booster beamline here at Fermilab. Using the latest liquid-argon technologies, MicroBooNE will serve as a crucial testing ground for many aspects of our flagship neutrino project, the Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment. The physics of MicroBooNE is aimed at resolving the low-mass neutrino anomalies.

The LBNE collaboration continues to gain momentum: The collaboration is growing and now comprises 475 scientists from 81 institutions. The operation of the 35-ton LBNE prototype cryostat earlier this year exceeded all technical requirements, and now more tests are planned. Everything is going in the right direction.

We are on track to making this a very successful year for neutrino physics at Fermilab as we prepare for an exciting future. I thank you all for doing your part in moving us forward.