Otterbein Physics Blog

News And Psuedo-Random Blurts from the Otterbein University Physics Department

Archive for the ‘Neutrinos’ Category

MicroBooNE Summer

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MicroBooNE collaboration meeting, July 2018.  In red: Brad Goff, Heather Tanner, Jiyu Li, and Nathaniel Tagg.

Heather and Brad did an awesome job presenting their summer work to the collaboration. The work was mentioned specifically in David Caratelli’s ops summary.   The group did great work this summer and I’m proud of all of us.



Written by Nathaniel Tagg

July 30th, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Posted in Neutrinos,Research

MicroBooNE Produces Clearest Images of Neutrino Interactions Yet

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Nice public article from Brookhaven National Lab:

Our most recent paper on LarTPC noise:


Written by Nathaniel Tagg

August 8th, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Posted in Neutrinos

MicroBooNE sees first neutrinos!

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My experiment is seeing first data!  Hooray!  Neutrinos in liquid argon, everyone!

Look at all that gorgeous structure.  Straight lines are muons or pions.   It looks like there’s a cosmic ray going down through the middle of the neutrino event, and there’s also what looks like a nice gamma ray (or pi-0) coming out the bottom.  Lovely!

See more event pics here:


From the press release:

Today the MicroBooNE collaboration announced that it has seen its first neutrinos in the experiment’s newly built detector.

“It’s nine years since we proposed, designed, built, assembled and commissioned this experiment,” said Bonnie Fleming, MicroBooNE co-spokesperson and a professor of physics at Yale University. “That kind of investment makes seeing first neutrinos incredible.”

After months of hard work and improvements by the Fermilab Booster team, on Oct. 15, the Fermilab accelerator complex began delivering protons, which are used to make neutrinos, to one of the laboratory’s newest neutrino experiments, MicroBooNE. After the beam was turned on, scientists analyzed the data recorded by MicroBooNE’s particle detector to find evidence of its first neutrino interactions.

“This was a big team effort,” said Anne Schukraft, Fermilab postdoc working on MicroBooNE. “More than 100 people have been working very hard to make this happen. It’s exciting to see the first neutrinos.”

MicroBooNE’s detector is a liquid-argon time projection chamber. It resembles a silo lying on its side, but instead of grain, it’s filled with 170 tons of liquid argon.

Liquid argon is 40 percent denser than water, and hence neutrinos are more likely to interact with it. When an accelerator-born neutrino hits the nucleus of an argon atom in the detector, its collision creates a spray of subatomic particle debris. Tracking these particles allows scientists to reveal the type and properties of the neutrino that produced them.

Neutrinos have recently received quite a bit of media attention. The 2015 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for neutrino oscillations, a phenomenon that is of great importance to the field of elementary particle physics. Intense activity is under way worldwide to capture neutrinos and examine their behavior of transforming from one type into another.

MicroBooNE is an example of a new liquid-argon detector being developed to further probe this phenomenon while reconstructing the particle tracks emerging from neutrino collisions as finely detailed three-dimensional images. Its findings will be relevant for the forthcoming Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, known as DUNE, which plans to examine neutrino transitions over longer distances and a much broader energy range. Scientists are also using MicroBooNE as an R&D platform for the large DUNE liquid-argon detectors.

“Future neutrino experiments will use this technology,” said Sam Zeller, Fermilab physicist and MicroBooNE co-spokesperson. “We’re learning a lot from this detector. It’s important not just for us, but for the entire neutrino community.”

In August, MicroBooNE saw its first cosmic ray events, recording the tracks of cosmic ray muons. The recent neutrino sighting brings MicroBooNE researchers much closer to one of their scientific goals, determining whether the excess of low-energy events observed in a previous Fermilab experiment was the footprint of a sterile neutrino or a new type of background.

Before they can do that, however, MicroBooNE will have to collect data for several years.

During this time, MicroBooNE will also be the first liquid-argon detector to measure neutrino interactions from a beam of such low energy. At less than 800 MeV (megaelectronvolts), this beam produces the lowest-energy neutrinos yet to be observed with a liquid-argon detector.

MicroBooNE is part of Fermilab’s Short-Baseline Neutrino program, and scientists will eventually add two more detectors (ICARUS and the Short-Baseline Near Detector) to its neutrino beamline.


Written by Nathaniel Tagg

November 2nd, 2015 at 12:16 pm

2015 Nobel Prize in Physics.. for NEUTRINOS

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Written by Nathaniel Tagg

October 6th, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Full of Liquid Argon

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The MicroBooNE detector is now full of liquid argon!

Nine tanker trucks put 34,000 gallons of liquid argon into the detector, finishing July 9. The fill was carefully watched by everyone at Fermilab, with Dr. Tagg’s silly but useful webpage. (Warning: soundtrack.)

Written by Nathaniel Tagg

July 16th, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Neutrinos in the Classroom

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The MINERvA EPO project is finally ready for release.  Here it is, after lots of hard work by many people:

This resource allows one to teach particle decay and momentum conservation principles using real data from the MINERvA neutrino experiment!

Written by Nathaniel Tagg

January 7th, 2015 at 3:03 pm

MicroBooNE Moves!

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The MicroBooNE detector – a 30-ton, 40-foot-long cylindrical metal tank designed to detect ghostly particles called neutrinos – was carefully transported by truck across the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab site, from the warehouse building it was constructed in to the experimental hall three miles away.

Press Release

Written by Nathaniel Tagg

June 24th, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Neutrinos,Research


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The new University Remote Operations Center for MINERvA/MINOS is taking shape:IMG_3527

Written by Nathaniel Tagg

May 21st, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Posted in Neutrinos,Research

MINERvA in the CERN Courier

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A good writeup of the MINERvA experiment.

Written by Nathaniel Tagg

April 29th, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Neutrinos,Research