detector technology

For the last three decades, physicists have patiently waited for the next nearby supernova. Luckily, waiting is no longer the only option.
With an upgrade to the Super-Kamiokande detector, neutrino physicists will gain access to the supernovae of the past.

In their ongoing search for the mysterious dark matter that makes up 85% of our universe, the particle physics community turns its sights to particles of low mass. The Department of Energy announced that it is providing funding for two Fermilab initiatives to develop experimental designs for experiments that will be highly sensitive to the smallest particles of dark matter. Following the development of the experimental designs, the next phase of funding will be subject to additional reviews and approval.

Advances in subatomic physics heavily depend on ingenuity and technology. And when it comes to discovering the nature of some of the most elusive particles in the universe, neutrinos, scientists need the best and most sensitive detector technology possible. Scientists working at CERN have started tests of a new neutrino detector prototype, using a very promising technology called “dual phase.”

Scientists working at CERN have started tests of a new neutrino detector prototype using a promising technology called “dual phase.” If successful, this new technology will be used at a much larger scale for the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, hosted by Fermilab. Scientists began operating the dual-phase prototype detector at CERN at the end of August and have observed first tracks. The new technology may be game-changing, as it would significantly amplify the faint signals that particles create when moving through the detector.

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.

Postdoc Guillermo Fernandez Moroni is recognized for his outstanding work on the SENSEI experiment at Fermilab. Dark matter experiments are quite sensitive to unwanted background noise, and Moroni found a way to limit this noise for SENSEI, increasing the sensitivity of the experiment by a factor of a thousand, making it the most sensitive of its kind in the world.

One sprinkle of sand at a time, two artists have recreated the moment a particle passed through a detector 30 years earlier. Their piece, a bright blue and white sculpture of tracks of microscopic bubbles in a bubble chamber, was inspired by the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of the sand mandala. To find the perfect bubble chamber image to recreate, they scrolled through hundreds of these photographs in the archive at Fermilab.