A collaborative platform for neutrino science

Regina Rameika

Regina Rameika, head of the Neutrino Division, wrote this column.

As the new Neutrino Division continues to define and refine its mission, we work to ensure that the activities across the laboratory related to the neutrino program are coherent and relevant to the laboratory’s strategic goals. To this end we have developed the Fermilab Neutrino Platform, which spans across laboratory organizations. Today I would like to highlight just a few of the areas where our colleagues outside of the Neutrino Division are playing key roles in the neutrino program.

A key aspect of the Neutrino Platform is to deliver neutrino beams to neutrino detectors. Currently the Accelerator Division is delivering record-setting beam power to the NuMI beam, which provides neutrinos to the NOvA, MINERvA and MINOS+ experiments. In the near future, beam will be delivered to the Booster Neutrino Beamline for the MicroBooNE experiment. The Neutrino Beam Group of the Neutrino Division works closely with the External Beams and High Power Targetry groups within the Accelerator Division. The design of the LBNF beamline for DUNE and improvements to the Booster Neutrino Beamline are currently high-priority items for these groups. The targetry group has also embarked on a dedicated R&D effort to more fully understand how high-energy beams affect potential target materials.

Another important aspect of the Neutrino Platform is the support of test beams for detector development and calibration. The Particle Physics Division manages the Fermilab Test Beam Facility, where LArIAT, a liquid-argon detector, will use one of the facility’s test beams to characterize the response to charged particles in the energy range relevant to current and upcoming neutrino experiments. The MINERvA collaboration is using a different test beam to characterize their detector performance with beams being collected in medium-energy mode.

Finally, software activities of the Neutrino Platform fall largely within the Scientific Computing Division. The artdaq framework, used for data acquisition in the current generation of neutrino experiments, is a key element of the support provided by scientific computing. Fermilab has also invested strongly in the GENIE neutrino generator and intends to extend that support in the future. And LArSoft, based on the artdaq framework, is designed for use in all analysis of data from liquid-argon-based neutrino experiments.

These activities — just a few of many — demonstrate the wide range of strong support for neutrino science at Fermilab.