MINERvA opens eyes to neutrino data
The plot shows the time between the signal from the accelerator and the hits seen in the MINERvA detector. The spike shown is the beam arriving in the detector.
A new neutrino detector just got its first glimpse at how the elusive particles interact.
The first portion of the MINERvA detector observed its first events from the NuMI neutrino beam Wednesday night.
"This is a huge milestone for us," said MINERvA cospokesperson Kevin McFarland from University of Rochester. "It took an entire crew of people working closely together late into the night to finish getting the detector ready."
A crew of technicians and physicists has been working to move the detector into the MINOS near detector hall for the past three weeks.
A handful of extremely dedicated collaborators worked late into the night Wednesday to finish connecting and synchronizing elements of the detector. The first events were collected at 10 p.m. and by 1:30 a.m. David Schmitz, a Fermilab Lederman Fellow, announced the neutrino events to the collaboration.
"It was really exciting to open up the eyes of the detector to the neutrino beam for the first time," Schmitz said.
The fine-grained detector will collect data that MINERvA collaborators will use to study neutrino interactions at an unprecedented level of detail.
The first portion of the detector consists of 24 modules each 1 3/8 inches thick that sit next to each other like slices of bread. Prior to Wednesday's inaugural neutrino beam, the initial portion of the detector collected data from cosmic ray muons in the Wideband Lab. The cosmic ray data helped to calibrate the 6,000 channels in these modules.
When the detector is fully assembled in 2010, it will have 108 modules with 30,000 channels.
That is a lot of cables and connectors," McFarland said. "The calibration is a very interesting puzzle."
Construction of elements for the remainder of the detector is underway at various places throughout the laboratory and at collaborating universities. The collaboration expects to install another group of completed modules during the summer shutdown.
-- Rhianna Wisniewski