Facility for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment

Groundbreaking set for July 21, 2017

On this date a group of dignitaries will join scientists, engineers and others from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Sanford Underground Research Facility and their partners around the world to break ground.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) will be held simultaneously at 2:20 pm MDT/3:20 pm CDT at Sanford Lab in South Dakota (invitation-only) and at Fermilab in Illinois (open). Reporters interested in attending the ceremony should contact Andre Salles, Fermilab, or Constance Walter, Sanford Lab.

The 2:20 pm MDT ceremony will be simulcast online for the public.

A global neutrino physics community is developing 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), is an internationally designed, coordinated and funded program. Once it is completed, it will comprise 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 is 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.

The DUNE scientific collaboration is responsible for designing, building and operating the detectors to do the experiment. The LBNF beamline, which will supply the required intense beam of neutrinos to the detectors at the near and far sites, builds on Fermilab's existing world-class accelerator complex, including the Main Injector and the planned Proton Improvement Plan-II (PIP-II).

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 conducted for the LBNF/DUNE project is available; it includes results from an investigation of potential impacts to human health and the environment from the construction and operation of the technical and civil facilities, and finds that the project will have no significant environmental or health-related impacts.

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

In deep underground neutrino experiment, CSU science rises to top

Colostate.edu, July 2017: On July 21, scientists, engineers and partners around the world will gather in two places – Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the Sanford Underground Research Facility – to break ground on a massive global physics experiment called DUNE...Read more...

Contract to design rock conveyor for neutrino experiment awarded

ProtoDUNE membrane

Fermilab, 5 July 2017: On June 28, Fermi Research Alliance LLC, which operates Fermilab, signed a contract with North Alabama Fabricating Company to design and fabricate the pipe conveyor to be installed at Sanford Lab...Read more...

LBNF/DUNE update: a really good week

ProtoDUNE membrane

Fermilab, 9 May 2017: Sometimes, you can work on things for a long time, and it’s hard to measure progress. But there are other times when, suddenly, everything falls into place, and things happen very quickly! Last week was just such a week. On Tuesday morning, an important addendum to the Neutrino Protocol between the United States and CERN was signed after many months of hard work by the DOE Office of High Energy Physics and CERN...Read more...

DUNE project in Lead would be among most sophisticated projects ever

Fermilab, 19 Mar 2017: Carve a few massive caverns nearly a mile below the surface of the Black Hills, haul off hundreds of thousands of tons of crushed rock, add the largest refrigeration system ever, then install the most sensitive particle detectors known to man, and you’d be ready to host what is arguably the most sophisticated science experiment ever staged on the planet...Read more...