The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment will tackle some of the biggest mysteries in physics — and to do so, it will need the most intense high-energy beam of neutrinos ever created. Engineers are up to the complicated task, which will need extreme versions of some common-sounding ingredients: magnets and pencil lead.
Test beams generally sit to the side of full-on accelerators, sipping beam and passing it to the reconfigurable spaces housing temporary experiments. Scientists bring pieces of their detectors — sensors, chips, electronics or other material — and blast them with the well-understood beam to see if things work how they expect, and if their software performs as expected. Before a detector component can head to its forever home, it has to pass the test.
Scientists are working on a pixelated detector capable of clearly and quickly capturing neutrino interactions — a crucial component for the near detector of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. Using technological solutions developed at University of Bern and Berkeley Lab, a prototype detector called ArgonCube is under construction in Bern and will arrive at Fermilab next year.