LBNF/DUNE: An international flagship neutrino experiment

PXIE

The international Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility/Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab, is an international flagship science project to unlock the mysteries of neutrinos. Neutrinos are the most abundant matter particles in the universe, and they are all around us, but we know very little about them. By studying neutrinos, scientists at LBNF/DUNE will paint a clearer picture of the universe and how it works. Their research may even give us the key to understanding why we live in a matter-dominated universe — in other words, why we are here at all.

The experiment will use Fermilab’s powerful particle accelerators to send the world’s most intense beam of high-energy neutrinos to DUNE's massive neutrino detectors, which will explore their interactions with matter. The groundbreaking for this international megascience project took place in 2017, with participation from partners across the United States and around the globe.

To build and operate LBNF/DUNE, Fermilab is bringing together more than 1,000 scientists from more than 175 institutions in over 30 countries. The project relies on scientific and technical expertise from universities, laboratories and companies around the world.

This ambitious project requires giant particle detectors, an intense beam of neutrinos and international infrastructure to bring it all together.

The LBNF/DUNE project will drive progress in science and industry around the world. The project’s distributed construction model, in which components are built across the United States and around the globe, ensures that immediate economic benefits will be delivered to each of the partner institutions and countries as components are researched, built, and tested at universities, laboratories and companies worldwide.

The discoveries from this revolutionary endeavor could change our understanding of the universe.

The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE)

DUNE consists of two massive state-of-the-art particle detectors: a smaller one at Fermilab in Illinois and a much larger one to be constructed a mile beneath the surface at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota. The South Dakota detector will be the largest of its type ever built and will use 70,000 tons of liquid argon and advanced technology to record neutrino interactions with unprecedented precision. Smaller prototypes of the DUNE far detector are under construction at the European laboratory CERN, and the full detectors and their computing systems are being designed and built by a collaboration of scientists from more than 30 countries.

The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF)

LBNF will house the DUNE far detector a mile underground in Sanford Lab, as well as the smaller near detector at Fermilab. The DUNE detectors need underground facilities equipped with intricate cryogenic technology to keep them at their operating temperature of minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Over the next few years, 875,000 tons of rock will be excavated from Sanford Lab’s underground caverns, and a new scientific facility will be constructed. At Fermilab, a new beamline will be built to send the laboratory’s intense high-energy beam of neutrinos 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) through stone and earth, with no tunnel needed, to South Dakota.

The Proton Improvement Plan II (PIP-II) project

The DUNE experiment requires the most particle-packed high-energy neutrino beam in the world — and that’s exactly what PIP-II will deliver. Fermilab’s particle accelerator complex already produces the world’s most intense high-energy neutrino beam, but a new superconducting linear accelerator, built with partners around the world, will make that beam even more powerful. PIP-II’s new linear accelerator will be built with the latest superconducting radio-frequency technology developed at Fermilab, and along with other improvements to the accelerator complex, will deliver the best possible neutrino beam for DUNE. PIP-II is the first accelerator to be built in the United States that will have significant contributions from international partners.