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June 13, 2017
Image above: ICARUS has been at CERN for refurbishment before it makes its way to Fermilab over the next few months (Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN).
It’s lived in two different countries and is about to make its way to a third. It’s the largest machine of its kind, designed to find extremely elusive particles and tell us more about them. Its pioneering technology is the blueprint for some of the most advanced science experiments in the world. And this summer, it will travel across the Atlantic Ocean to its new home (and its new mission) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.
It’s called ICARUS, and you can follow its journey over land and sea with the help of an interactive map at IcarusTrip.fnal.gov (http://icarustrip.fnal.gov/), or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/cern/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/CERN) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/cern/) using the hashtag #IcarusTrip.
The ICARUS detector measures 18 meters (60 feet) long and weighs 120 tons. It began its scientific life under a mountain at the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics’ (INFN) Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy in 2010, recording data from a beam of particles called neutrinos sent by CERN. The detector was shipped to CERN in 2014, where it has been upgraded and refurbished, at the CERN Neutrino Platform, in preparation for its overseas trek.
Follow the fantastic voyage of the ICARUS detector, CERN
“We are very pleased and proud that CERN has been able to contribute to the refurbishment of the ICARUS detector and we are looking forward to first results from the Fermilab short-baseline neutrino programme in the coming years,” said Fabiola Gianotti, Director-General of CERN.
When it arrives at Fermilab, the massive machine will take its place as part of a suite of three detectors dedicated to searching for a new type of neutrino beyond the three that have been found. Discovering this so-called “sterile” neutrino, should it exist, would rewrite scientists’ picture of the universe and the particles that make it up.
“Nailing down the question of whether sterile neutrinos exist or not is an important scientific goal, and ICARUS will help us achieve that,” said Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer. “But it’s also a significant step in Fermilab’s plan to host a truly international neutrino facility, with the help of our partners around the world.”
First, however, the detector has to get there. Today, it will begin its journey from CERN in Geneva, Switzerland to a port in Antwerp, Belgium. From there the detector, separated into two identical pieces, will travel on a ship to Burns Harbor, Indiana, in the United States, and from there will be driven by truck to Fermilab, one piece at a time. The full trip is expected to take roughly six weeks.
Im ICARUS, a neutrino hunter
The detector uses liquid-argon time projection technology – essentially a method of taking a 3-D snapshot of the particles produced when a neutrino interacts with an argon atom – which was developed by the ICARUS collaboration, and now is the technology of choice for the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), prototypes of which are currently being built at CERN.
"More than 25 years ago Nobel Prize winner, and a previous CERN Director-General, Carlo Rubbia started a visionary effort with the help and resources of INFN to make use of liquid argon as a particle detector, with the visual power of a bubble chamber but with the speed and efficiency of an electronic detector,” said Fernando Ferroni, president of INFN. “A long series of steps demonstrated the power of this technology that has been chosen for the gigantic future experiment DUNE in the U.S., scaling up the 760 tons of argon for ICARUS to 70,000 tons for DUNE. In the meantime, ICARUS will be at the core of an experiment at Fermilab looking for the possible existence of a new type of neutrino. Long life to ICARUS!”
This research is supported by the DOE Office of Science, CERN and INFN, in partnership with institutions around the world.
Read the full press release here: http://press.cern/update/2017/06/follow-fantastic-voyage-icarus-neutrino-detector
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.
The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.
Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 22 Member States.
CERN Neutrino Platform: http://home.cern/about/experiments/cern-neutrino-platform
Large Hadron Collider: http://home.cern/topics/large-hadron-collider
For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit: http://home.cern/
Image (mentioned), Videos, Text, Credits: CERN/Harriet Kim Jarlett.
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