The UK is to invest £65 million (€74 million) in the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) and Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) in the US, announced UK science minister Jo Johnson on 20 September. Currently under construction at Fermilab and Sanford Underground Research Laboratory, LBNF/DUNE will investigate crucial questions about neutrinos such as their mass ordering and CP-violating properties.
The latest investment makes the UK, already a major scientific contributor with 14 universities and two Science and Technology Facilities Council laboratories providing expertise and components, the largest country in the LBNF/DUNE project outside of the US.
“We have been working towards this for a long time and it is important both for the UK and for DUNE overall,” says co-spokesperson of the DUNE collaboration Mark Thomson of the University of Cambridge. “Specifically, the investment will allow the UK to play a major role in the construction of the DUNE far detector (read-out TPC wire planes and DAQ system) and in the neutrino beamline (super-conducting RF for the PIP-II LINAC and the LBNF neutrino target).”
LBNF/DUNE is the first major project to be addressed by a broader UK–US science and technology agreement, the first between the two countries, signed in January to strengthen UK–US co-operation.
CERN is an important partner in LBNF/DUNE and is developing prototype liquid-argon detectors for the project as part of its dedicated neutrino platform.