Excavation workers have finished carving out the future home of the gigantic particle detectors for the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. Located a mile below the surface of Lead, South Dakota, the three colossal caverns are at the core of a new research facility that spans an underground area about the size of eight soccer fields.
Final outfitting of the colossal caverns will begin soon and make way for the start of the installation of the DUNE detectors later this year.
Hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, which is affiliated with the University of Chicago, DUNE scientists will study the behavior of mysterious particles known as neutrinos to solve some of the biggest questions about our universe. Why is our universe composed of matter? How does an exploding star create a black hole? Are neutrinos connected to dark matter or other undiscovered particles?
The caverns provide space for four large neutrino detectors—each one about the size of a seven-story building (see 2-minute animation). The detectors will be filled with liquid argon and record the rare interaction of neutrinos with the transparent liquid.