“What is the practical application of your research?” This question is frequently asked of particle physicists. In this talk, Fermilab scientist Jennifer Raaf presents a few practical medical applications that have been enabled by fundamental scientific research undertaken by Fermilab employees. In particular, the talk focuses on a novel ventilator called the Mechanical Ventilator Milano, which was developed for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The new technology is a miniaturized version of a sensor developed for the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. But instead of being used for discovery science, the sensors are developed to screen cargo by detecting muons, particles that penetrate materials such as concrete and lead. Scientists at Fermilab, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Nevada National Security Site designed, assembled and tested the small, slim sensors, which could replace bulkier screening technologies.