Neutrino detectors on the move

10 July 2017

On 12 June, two large detector modules for the ICARUS experiment were loaded onto trucks at CERN to begin a six-week journey to Fermilab in the US. ICARUS will form part of Fermilab’s short-baseline neutrino programme, which aims to make detailed measurements of neutrino interactions and search for eV-scale sterile neutrinos (CERN Courier June 2017 p25).

Based on advanced liquid-argon time projection technology, ICARUS began its life under a mountain at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy in 2010, recording data from neutrino beams sent from CERN. Since 2014, it has been at CERN undergoing an upgrade and refurbishment at the CERN Neutrino Platform (CERN Courier July/August 2016 p21). It left CERN in two parts by road and boarded a boat on the Rhine to a port in Antwerp, Belgium, where it was loaded onto a ship. As the Courier went to press, ICARUS was already heading across the Atlantic to Fermilab via the Great Lakes, equipped with a GPS unit that allows its progress to be tracked in real time (

Just two days after ICARUS left CERN, another key component of the CERN Neutrino Platform was on the move, albeit on a smaller lorry. Baby MIND, a 75 tonne prototype for a magnetised iron neutrino detector that will precisely identify and track muons, was moved from its construction site in building 180 to the East Hall of the Proton Synchrotron. Following commissioning and full characterisation in the T9 test beam, at the end of July Baby MIND will be transported to Japan to be part of the WAGASCI experiment at JPARC, where it will contribute to a better understanding of neutrino interactions for the T2K experiment.

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