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So Much for So Little: Giant Experiments Seek Out Tiny Neutrinos [Slide Show]

It takes a massive detector to spot the remarkably elusive particle

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ICE FISHING:

To build the IceCube array, workers had to drill deep into the ice, then lower strings of sensors called digital optical modules (DOMs) such as the one pictured above. Each of the 86 sensor strings holds 60 DOMs, which are now frozen into place up to 2.5 kilometers below the surface.....[ More ]

SPACED OUT:

A truly giant neutrino detector recently began full operation in Antarctica. The IceCube Neutrino Observatory uses a cubic kilometer of ice as its detector material; a network of sensor chains has been embedded in the ice.....[ More ]

EYES PEELED:

Like Double Chooz, the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment in China uses near and far detectors to measure the oscillations of neutrinos emanating from a nuclear power plant. The photo above shows the photomultiplier tubes within the Daya Bay detectors, which register the collision of a neutrino with the fluid filling the detector cylinder.....[ More ]

POWER SOURCE:

Particle accelerators are not the only place physicists can tap into a pure, steady stream of neutrinos. Nuclear reactors also emit large quantities of neutrinos, and a number of experiments have set up shop nearby to measure how they propagate.....[ More ]

FAR OUT:

It doesn’t look like much, but this remote site in northern Minnesota will soon house a 15,000-metric-ton particle detector to register neutrinos from Fermilab, more than 800 kilometers away. The planned NOvA experiment seeks to explore the rare oscillation of muon neutrinos into electron neutrinos over large distances.....[ More ]

DEEP DOWN:

Buried underground in the inactive Soudan iron mine in Minnesota, the 5,400-metric-ton octagonal MINOS detector picks up neutrinos from Fermilab in Illinois, 735 kilometers away. The particles leave Fermilab as a nearly pure beam of muon neutrinos, but most have changed into tau neutrinos by the time they reach the MINOS detector.....[ More ]

TANKING IT:

The Super-Kamiokande detector in Japan, an underground tank that holds 50 million liters of water, captures neutrinos that emanate from a particle accelerator nearly 300 kilometers away. When a neutrino hits the detector, it can produce charged particles, whose high speed through the water emits a flash of light, triggering phototubes mounted in the walls of the Super-K tank.....[ More ]

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