ICARUS Arrives at Fermilab, Greeted by Familiar Face

The ICARUS detector ended its journey across the Atlantic on July 26, arriving by semi-truck at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Waiting for it there was Angela Fava, an experimental physicist who first worked with the machine in 2006, tightening bolts and connecting cables while an undergrad in Italy. In 2014, she relocated with the detector to CERN where it was refurbished in advance of being shipped to Fermilab. In its new iteration, ICARUS will search for sterile neutrinos, a hypothetical kind of neutrino that would interact even more rarely than standard neutrinos, and Fava will be right there by its side.

Construction Begins on International Megascience Neutrino Experiment

A groundbreaking ceremony on July 21 at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, South Dakota, marked the official start of the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility, future home to the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (LBNF/DUNE). In the unique ceremony, a group of dignitaries, scientists and engineers from around the world marked the start of construction of this massive international experiment, to be built and operated by a group of roughly 1,000 scientists and engineers from 30 countries, that could change our understanding of the universe.

Oak Ridge National Lab Chooses D-Wave to Advance Computing Programs

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (CSA CSM) has chosen D-Wave Systems Inc., a leader in computing systems, to provide cloud systems to help advance its hybid computing applications. Under the agreement, ORNL scientists will have cloud access to a D-Wave 2000Q™ system that allows for exploration of hybrid computing architectures as a way to achieve better solutions for scientific applications.

Physicists Propose New Superfluid Helium-4 Wave Detector

A collaboration of US-based researchers has proposed a new type of detector that would measure sound waves caused by gravitational waves in the 0.1–1.5 kHz range. The system comprises several kilograms of superfluid helium-4 held in a cylindrical container that is coupled to microwaves in a superconductor resonator. Confinement in the container means that the superfluid will resonate with sound waves at certain frequencies, just like a musical instrument. When a gravitational wave travels through the detector it will create a strain field that would create sound waves in the helium. The microwave resonator would then convert these waves into a measurable signal.

Researchers Discover Evidence of Majorana Fermions

In a series of lab experiments on exotic materials, scientists from the University of California and Stanford University have discovered "firm evidence" of particles that are their own antiparticles. Physicists have been looking for such Majorna fermions since physicist Ettore Majorana predicted them in 1937. The result is currently more intellectual than practical, according to the research team, but may one day help make quantum computers more robust.

LHCb Announces a Charming New Particle

Researchers from the LHCb experiment at CERN reported the observation of a new particle from the baryon family. It contains two charm quarks and one up quark. The mass of the newly identified particle is about 3621 MeV, almost four times heavier than the most familiar baryon, the proton, a property that arises from its doubly charmed quark content. It is the first time that such a particle has been unambiguously detected.

NIST Probes Future of Supercomputing

NIST researchers have developed an automated probe system to evaluate computer components submitted by both private sector and federal labs to the Cryogenic Computing Complexity (C3) program. C3 aims to enable a new generation of low-power superconducting supercomputers that operate at liquid helium temperatures and use ultra-fast switching of microscopic circuit elements called Josephson junctions.

Reviving SMES, One Niche at a Time

Many projects in applied superconductivity hold great promise for the energy sector, but have failed to catch on due to cost, competition from established systems, perceived risk and other factors. Among them is Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage (SMES), a system that stores energy in the form of a magnetic field. Storing energy in a superconducting magnet is not a new idea, but Tallahassee-based Energy to Power Solutions (e2P) may have just provided a refresh that will garner renewed attention. The company specializes in niche applications, and included in its recent designs are prototype SMES devices for ARPA-E and the US Air Force that demonstrate far greater energy storage capacities than previously achieved.

IRAS Maximizes Cryogenic Process Efficiency

Integrated Refrigeration and Storage (IRAS) is a technology to help maximize efficiency of spaceport cryogenic processes by integrating modern cryogenic refrigeration units with liquid storage vessels. Brayton cycle helium refrigerators are available in a range of capacities and temperatures, with demonstrated high efficiency and low maintenance. In an IRAS system, a suitable refrigerator supplies a direct flow of gaseous helium refrigerant to a cold heat exchanger (HX) integrated within the tank, and distributed throughout the bulk volume of liquid.

Zero Boiloff Tank Experiments aboard ISS

Affordable and reliable cryogenic fluid storage for propellant or life support systems is integral to all phases of NASA’s projected space and planetary expeditions. One challenge facing engineers is self-pressurization. It can be caused by the cryogen vaporization that results from heat leaks into a tank from its surroundings and support structure. Engineers can relieve this self-pressurization through venting, but repeated venting of the vapor during long-duration on-orbit or on-surface storage will result in significant propellant loss, rendering the cost of long distance human space expeditions prohibitive.