Facility for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment

The global neutrino physics community is coming together to develop a leading-edge, dual-site experiment for neutrino science and proton decay studies, the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), hosted at Fermilab in Batavia, IL. The facility required for this experiment, the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF), will be an internationally designed, coordinated and funded program, comprising the world's highest-intensity neutrino beam at Fermilab and the infrastructure necessary to support massive, cryogenic far detectors installed deep underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), 800 miles (1,300 km) downstream, in Lead, SD. LBNF is also responsible for the facilities to house the experiment's near detectors on the Fermilab site. LBNF will be tightly coordinated with the DUNE collaboration designing the detectors that will carry out its experimental program.

The DUNE Experiment and Collaboration

The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, conducted with the detectors installed in the LBNF facility, is expected to achieve transformative discoveries, making definitive determinations of neutrino properties, the dynamics of the supernovae that produced the heavy elements necessary for life, and the possibility of proton decay.

Previous scientific collaborations that have been focused on long-baseline and galactic supernova neutrino physics and proton decay, in particular LBNE and LBNO, have contributed to developing both a strong physics case and technological designs for detectors that would enable these discoveries. Many participants of these previous collaborations, along with other partners from around the world, have joined the new international DUNE collaboration, formed in January 2015.

This collaboration will be responsible for designing, building and operating the detectors to do the experiment. It is bringing together the collective worldwide expertise and the resources needed to realize the P5 vision through the process initiated by Fermilab and the U.S. Department of Energy. LBNF will build on Fermilab's existing world-class accelerator complex, including the Main Injector and the planned Proton Improvement Plan-II (PIP-II), to supply the required intense beam of neutrinos to the detectors at the near and far sites.

Sending neutrinos on a 800 mi (1,300 km) journey

Neutrinos created by the LBNF beamline will travel 1,300 km (800 mi) to intercept DUNE's massive, cutting-edge neutrino detector at the Sanford Lab. The neutrino beam’s path will lead straight through the earth's mantle. Neutrinos pass easily through soil and rock — or kilometers of solid lead, for that matter — rarely interacting with the matter. No tunnel is needed for these ghostly particles.

How do we know this is safe?

Neutrinos are among the most abundant particles in the universe, a billion times more abundant than the particles that make up stars, planets and people. Each second, a trillion neutrinos from the sun and other celestial objects pass harmlessly and unnoticed through your body — and everything else. Although neutrinos are all around us, they interact so rarely with other matter that they are very difficult to observe, and consequently, they are completely harmless.

An Environmental Assessment is being conducted for the LBNF/DUNE project, which includes investigation of potential impacts to human health and the environment from the construction and operation of the technical and civil facilities. Information about this assessment is available here.

In this animation watch a proton beam at Fermilab accelerate and smash into a target to create a beam of neutrinos, follow the neutrinos on their journey and see what happens as they reach the DUNE detector 800 miles (1,300-km) away in South Dakota. (And don't miss the supernova!)

Media Highlights

DUNE and its CERN connection

The DUNE Collaboration

CERN Courier, 13 Nov 2015: The strong partnership between the US Department of Energy and CERN already established in the LHC program is one of the essential components for the success of the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment and the proposed Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility at Fermilab. Read more...




North American Tunneling Journal, Oct/Nov 2015 (reprinted with permission)

Scientists and civil engineers are coming together one mile beneath the surface in Lead, South Dakota, to create caverns and tunnels for a very special experiment. Kristina Smith spoke to members of the project management team to find out more...

No Significant Environmental Impact From Proposed Illinois/South Dakota Project


DOE Press Release, 26 Oct 2015

A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) environmental study has determined that building and operating the proposed Long Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) and Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) will not have a significant impact on the environment...