ProtoDUNE at CERN

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

The liquid argon time projection chamber is a type of particle detector that will dominate the future of neutrino physics. Huge tanks of liquid argon, at -186 C, will be placed in neutrino beams. When neutrinos collide with the argon, the products of the collisions ionise the argon atoms, leaving behind free electrons. A huge electric field, of hundreds of thousands of volts, is placed across the argon, dragging the free electrons towards planes of wires, called anode planes, where the electrons are converted into pulses of current that are read out from the detector. The beauty of these detectors is that they allow the neutrino interactions to be imaged with millimetre-scale precision, creating images of the interactions that allow the tracks of individual particles to be seen.

The aim of the ProtoDUNE project is to characterise how this liquid argon technology performs. We will build a liquid argon time projection chamber that will be placed in a particle beam at CERN. This particle beam will not contain neutrinos but will, instead, contain the sorts of charged particles that are produced in neutrino interactions - protons, pions, muons, etc. By observing how the ProtoDUNE detector responds to these particles, we will gain a much better understanding of how the future neutrino detectors will behave.

Planned Impact

This project will result in the training of a number of PhD students and post-doctoral researchers in technological, software and analytic skills. These researchers will learn about cryogenics, electronics, software development, and analysis of large data-sets. Many of these researchers will go on to careers outside of academia, taking these invaluable skills with them.

As part of this project, we will be working with a number of companies to achieve our goals. These will primarily be mechanical engineering companies (in building the wiring machine), electronics companies (to build the PCBs) and cryogenics companies. We will continually exchange knowledge with these companies, as we develop the new technologies required to build a liquid argon time projection chamber.

This project is part of a longer-term effort to determine the neutrino mass hierarchy and look for a matter-antimatter asymmetry in the lepton sector, which may help to understand why we live in a matter-dominated universe. These big science questions are a hugely important part of a healthy society, and our quest to answer them is what inspires many young people to pursue degrees in STEM subjects.
 
Description DUNE: Pre-Construction Phase
Amount £473,299 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/R000034/1 
Organisation Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2019
 
Description LBNF-DUNE UK production project
Amount £65,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID ST/S002944/1 
Organisation Government of the UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2019 
End 09/2026
 
Description DUNE 
Organisation European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
Country Switzerland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution This grant has enabled us to build two APAs for the protoDUNE test-beam detector that will form the basis for the full DUNE Technical Design Report.
Collaborator Contribution The rest of the collaboration are working with us to develop the full DUNE detector.
Impact The protoDUNE technical design report. The construction of the protoDUNE detector at CERN.
Start Year 2015
 
Description DUNE 
Organisation Fermilab - Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution This grant has enabled us to build two APAs for the protoDUNE test-beam detector that will form the basis for the full DUNE Technical Design Report.
Collaborator Contribution The rest of the collaboration are working with us to develop the full DUNE detector.
Impact The protoDUNE technical design report. The construction of the protoDUNE detector at CERN.
Start Year 2015
 
Description DUNE 
Organisation University of Wisconsin-Madison
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This grant has enabled us to build two APAs for the protoDUNE test-beam detector that will form the basis for the full DUNE Technical Design Report.
Collaborator Contribution The rest of the collaboration are working with us to develop the full DUNE detector.
Impact The protoDUNE technical design report. The construction of the protoDUNE detector at CERN.
Start Year 2015