LArIAT upgrade will test DUNE design

The LArIAT time projection chamber will be used to conduct a proof-of-concept test for the future DUNE detector. Photo: Jen Raaf
The LArIAT time projection chamber will be used to conduct a proof-of-concept test for the future DUNE detector. Photo: Jen Raaf

Excerpted from the Fermilab article LArIAT upgrade will test DUNE design, published 13 April 2017.

In particle physics, the difference of a millimeter or two can make or break an experiment. In March, the LArIAT experiment began a proof-of-concept test to make sure the planned Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) will work well with that 2-millimeter difference.

Specifically, scientists are looking at what will happen when you increase the space between detection wires inside the future DUNE detectors…

Unlike the DUNE detectors, LArIAT does not detect neutrinos. Rather, it uses the interactions of other particle types to make inferences about neutrino interactions. And very unlike DUNE, LArIAT is the size of a mini-fridge, a mere speck compared to DUNE’s detectors, which will hold about 22 Olympic-size swimming pools’ worth of liquid argon…

“The point of the LArIAT experiment is to measure how well we can identify the various types of particles that come out of neutrino interactions and how well we can reconstruct their energy,” said Jen Raaf, LArIAT spokesperson.

Although LArIAT doesn’t detect neutrinos, the charged-particle interactions can give scientists clues about how neutrinos interact with argon nuclei.

“Instead of sending a neutrino in and looking at what stuff comes out, you send the other stuff in and see what it does,” Raaf said…

To keep costs down, scientists are investigating whether DUNE will have a high enough resolution in its measurements of neutrino interactions with wires spaced 5 millimeters apart — larger than the 3-millimeter spacing in smaller Fermilab neutrino experiments such as MicroBooNE.

Simulations suggest that it should work, but it’s up to Raaf and her team to test whether or not 5-millimeter spacing will do the job…

Read the full article…