MICE-UK & UKNF Programmes

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Physics

Abstract

The species of particles currently known to physics, the neutrinos, which come in three types: electron, muon, and tau, are probably among the most intriguing but least understood. The neutrinos have tiny masses and interact with matter only very weakly. The results of all particle physics experiments to date have been readily explained by the 'Standard Model' of particle physics, developed in the 1960s: that is, except, for a small set of results from a select few experiments investigating the behaviour of neutrinos. Neutrinos are naturally produced continuously in stars and the earth's atmosphere. Experiments to detect these neutrinos have consistently found fewer neutrinos than are produced. More recently, experiments involving man-made neutrinos have demonstrated similar neutrino oscillation behaviour. For each particle type in nature, there is a corresponding anti-particle type - the anti-particles together are known as anti-matter. Of particular interest is the question of whether the oscillations of anti-neutrinos are the same as those of neutrinos. This question is believed to be related to the fact that the universe today is composed almost entirely of matter, whereas the Big Bang should have created equal amounts of matter and anti-matter. The mystery of where the anti-matter has gone could be explained by a difference in the oscillation behaviour of neutrinos and anti-neutrinos. This question can only be answered by making ultra-sensitive measurements of neutrino oscillations using high-intensity man-made beams of neutrinos. The ultimate goal of the proposed research is to produce the most intense beams of neutrinos ever created by man in a 'Neutrino Factory'. These beams of neutrinos will be directed at various angles through the Earth. This will allow the properties of the neutrinos to be determined far more precisely than ever before, and will allow us to answer the fundamental question of whether the oscillations of neutrinos and anti-neutrinos are the same or not. This should solve the puzzle of where the anti-matter created at the Big Bang has gone, and therefore help to explain the existence of the universe as we know it today. The Neutrino Factories will produce intense neutrino from the decay of parent particles called muons. There are a number of important issues that must be addressed before the Neutrino Factory can be realized. First, the issue of producing sufficient proton-beam must be dealt with. Second it is necessary to develop novel techniques to accelerate the muons very rapidly since muons decay with a lifetime (at rest) of 2.2 microseconds. One of the most important problems is that of squeezing down (cooling) the volume of space occupied by the muon beam before it enters the muon-acceleration system. The commonly used techniques for cooling beams of particles cannot be used for muons because they decay to neutrinos so quickly. The development of a new technique called 'ionisation cooling' is essential. If a beam of muons is passed through material the muons will slow down. If they are then reaccelerated in the same direction, the size and spread of the beam will be reduced. If this process is repeated many times, the beam can be made narrow and parallel enough to fit into a storage ring. The Muon Ionisation Cooling Experiment (MICE) at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK aims to demonstrate the ionisation cooling of muons for the first time. It consists of a short 'cooling section' which contains 'absorbers' where the muons lose energy and 'cavities' where the muons are accelerated by high electric fields. The muons will be guided by strong magnetic fields from superconducting magnets. The size the muon beam will be measured before and after it has passed through the cooling section. Because the cooling section is short the cooling effect will be quite small and the before- and-after measurements must be made with a precision of one part in a thousand.

Publications

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Bandyopadhyay A (2009) Physics at a future Neutrino Factory and super-beam facility in Reports on Progress in Physics

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Group T (2009) Accelerator design concept for future neutrino facilities in Journal of Instrumentation

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Long K (2009) The International Design Study for the Neutrino Factory in Nuclear Physics B - Proceedings Supplements

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Pasternak J (2012) Accelerator systems for the International Design Study of the Neutrino Factory in Nuclear Physics B - Proceedings Supplements

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Apollonio M (2012) The International Design Study for the Neutrino Factory in Nuclear Physics B - Proceedings Supplements

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Long K (2012) Steps towards the Neutrino Factory in Nuclear Physics B - Proceedings Supplements

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Edgecock T (2013) High intensity neutrino oscillation facilities in Europe in Physical Review Special Topics - Accelerators and Beams

 
Description Muons are fundamental particles. Their mass is 200 times that of the electron. They are unstable and decay to produce electron and muon neutrinos. These properties make muons the ideal as a source of neutrinos for beams designed to serve experiments that will be able to study the properties of the neutrino with exquisite precision. In addition, muon may be accelerated to very high energy, allowing leptwn-antilepton collisions at energies much larger than can be achieved using electrons to be conceived.

We have developed and characterised an experiment designed to demonstrate that the size of a beam of muons can be controlled using a process known as ionization cooling. This is an essential prerequisite for the proof-of-principle of the ionization-cooling technique. This proof-of-principle is the subject of our present data taking and analysis activities.
Exploitation Route We shall complete our measurement programme and publish the results in refereed journals. In parallel, we plan to complete technical contributions that will document the equipment we have built to study ionization cooling.

We are in discussion with the international MICE and nuSTORM collaborations and with colleagues at the Institute of Physics in Protvino, the Academy of Sciences in China and CERN with a view to defining the next stage in the development of muon accelerators for particle physics.
Sectors Other

 
Description Various publications and proceedings have used the results. The progress of the MICE experiment and developments such as nuSTORM build on the achievements. The opportunity to develop the accelerator R&D activity at Imperial through the development of novel techniques for radiobiology and for clinical application has arisen out of our work on proton-accerator design and component design and development. This has led to the formation of the interdisciplinary Centre for the Clinical Application of particles which is a collaboration of personnel the Faculty of Medicine, the Imperial Academic Health Science Centre, the Department of Physics, the Imperial CRUK Cancer Centre, the Institute of Cancer Research, the John Adams Institute and the Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology.
First Year Of Impact 2005
Sector Healthcare
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Development of proton and muon accelerators for science and innovation 
Organisation STFC Laboratories
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Development of accelerators for pulsed high-power proton sources, study of beam loss in synchrotron, design of FFAG muon ring for neutrino cross section measurements. Development of beam delivered to MICE at RAL. Organisation of Proton Accelerators for Science and Innovation workshops.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of infrastructure and expertise in the above. Collaboration in organisation of the Proton Accelerator for Science and Innovation workshops.
Impact Joint proposals for research work. Joint publications, listed elsewhere.
Start Year 2006
 
Description Development of proton and muon accelerators for science and innovation 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)
Department ISIS Neutron and Muon Source
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Development of accelerators for pulsed high-power proton sources, study of beam loss in synchrotron, design of FFAG muon ring for neutrino cross section measurements. Development of beam delivered to MICE at RAL. Organisation of Proton Accelerators for Science and Innovation workshops.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of infrastructure and expertise in the above. Collaboration in organisation of the Proton Accelerator for Science and Innovation workshops.
Impact Joint proposals for research work. Joint publications, listed elsewhere.
Start Year 2006
 
Description MICE beam line, dipping target and beam line, tracker and MICE Step I data analysis 
Organisation International MICE Collaboration
Country Global 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Construction of, and control systems for the MICE target, construction of the MICE Muon Beam. Construction, commissioning with cosmics, of the MICE tracker. Analysis of data from the MICE experiment and preparation for publication.
Collaborator Contribution Contributions to the MICE dipping target, the decay solenoid and conventional magnet systems. Readout for the tracker and contributions to the commissioning. Development of algorithms for the analysis of MICE data and publication.
Impact Publications in refereed journals (2); many talks at international conferences.
 
Description Hands-on schools engagement programme at Neutrino 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact School pupils were invited to activities at the Wohl Reachout Lab at Imperial for carious hands-on activities on astro-physics and particle physics. The event was organised in conjunction with the 2016 Neutrino conference in South Kensington.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description MICE mural, competition for schools 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Schools across the UK were contacted by Imperial Schools Liaison and the IoP Schools Liaison to invite entries for a mural to be painted on the MICE shielding wall. The schools were invited to events at RAL to promote the competition. Prizes for the winners were presented by Brian Cox and Art McDonald (Nobel Laureate) at the public lecture at the Neutrino 2016 conference in London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Public Lecture at Neutrino 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Brian Cox presented the public lecture to a packed audience (750, the maximum the Hall could accommodate) at the Neutrino 2016 conference in South Kensington in Jun2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016