Experiment time lines illustrate lab’s potential

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Credit: 
Mike Headley and Kevin Lesko

Sanford Lab Director Mike Headley and Head of Operations Kevin Lesko prepared the spreadsheet time lines below to illustrate the long-term potential for experiments at the Sanford Lab.

The time lines extend all the way to 2040, so caveats are in order. Some long-term experiments in the chart, such as the Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE) are still in proposal stages. Others, such as DIANA, are still in the site-selection process. Still others, like the “Generation 3 Dark Matter,” are in the very earliest stages of development.

Nor is the chart all-inclusive. The Deep Underground Gravity Laboratory (DUGL), for example is not listed, but the group has been researching Sanford Lab as a potential site for more than four years. Biology and geology groups also remain active.

Under “Experiments Currently Installed” Headley has listed the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter detector and the Majorana Demonstrator neutrinoless double-beta decay detector. Readers of Deep Thoughts already know that these experiments are getting closer and closer to taking data. (Last week LUX researchers added xenon gas to the detector, and Majorana researchers built the first strings of natural germanium detectors.)

The long-term future of the Sanford Lab is dependent on agency approvals and funding for experiments, but there is reason for optimism. LBNE received Critical Decision-1 (CD-1) approval from the Department of Energy last week to proceed with preliminary designs. The LUX ZEPLIN (LZ) dark matter collaboration met here last weekend to plan that
experiment. And South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has included $2 million in his budget for continuing the replacement of steel in the Ross Shaft—an infrastructure improvement that will help make bigger, longer term experiments more feasible.

Headley presented the chart at last week’s meeting of the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority’s Board of Directors. Board Chairman Casey Peterson applauded Headley and Lesko for their vision for the future. “We’re playing long ball, not short ball,” Peterson said.