Not a still from a science fiction movie, but the SNO+ neutrino detector being filled with very pure water prior to starting operations. Located over a mile underground in a mine in Ontario, Canada, the SNO+ detector consists of an acrylic sphere 12 meters in diameter filled with 800 tonnes of scintillation fluid, floating in a bath of ultrapure water surrounded by 10,000 photomultiplier tubes that will detect flashes of light from passing neutrinos.
The color in the photograph isn’t computer enhanced, said Professor Robert Svoboda, chair of the Department of Physics, who is a member of the SNO+ team.
“The blue color comes from the fact the water is very pure – more than 10,000 times purer than Lake Tahoe,” Svoboda said.
Svoboda and other UC Davis physicists, including graduate students Morgan Askins and Teal Pershing and postdocs Vincent Fischer and Leon Pickard, helped build SNO+ and will be working on analyzing data from the experiment. It will measure neutrinos from the Sun, from distant supernovae, and from nuclear reactors in the U.S. and Canada. It will search for a rare form of radioactivity, predicted but not yet observed, which would show whether neutrinos are different from other fundamental particles.
Photo credit: SNO+ Collaboration