A dual tech gem for future neutrino detectors

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Installation of the WA105 cryostat. (Image: Maximilien Brice/ CERN)

This is excerpted from the full article of the same title in the CERN Bulletin, published 15 August 2016.

The activities under way in the framework of the CERN Neutrino Platform are multiple and restless. Along with the refurbishment of ICARUS, another project is making great strides towards its completion: WA105. In spite of the not-so-expressive name, the technology being tested in this prototype is unprecedented.

WA105, presently at an advanced state of assembly at CERN, is a 3x1x1-metre, 25-tonne (metric ton) “dual-phase” liquid argon time projection chamber demonstrator. The dual-phase technology was developed by the European LAGUNA-LBNO consortium, with R&D efforts led by ETH Zurich for more than a decade. In a (dual-phase) chamber, a region of gaseous argon resides above the usual liquid phase.

The WA105 demonstrator has recently been inserted into the cryostat and the plan is to have it ready for operation in October 2016. This milestone will be a very important step for (this technology), which so far has only been demonstrated on prototypes up to 250 litres. The next step will be to test a larger (300-tonne), full-scale engineering prototype for DUNE in the EHN1 test facility extension currently under construction in the North Area at CERN.

“After a decade of R&D efforts, the CERN Neutrino Platform is playing a very important role,” said André Rubbia, spokesperson of the WA105 project and co-spokesperson of the DUNE collaboration. “It enabled the speeding up of the activities, also by attracting the manpower needed, and finally permitted the transition from laboratory R&D to the industrial-scale production needed for the next generation of long-baseline neutrino experiments.”