A satellite view of Fermilab. The two circular structures are the Main Injector Ring (small) and Tevatron (big).
|Established||November 21, 1967 (as National Accelerator Laboratory)|
|Research type||Accelerator physics|
|Budget||$277 million (2001)|
Field of research
|Address||P.O. Box 500|
|Location||Winfield Township, DuPage County / Batavia Township, Kane County, near Batavia, Illinois, U.S.|
|Affiliations||U.S. Department of Energy
University of Chicago
Universities Research Association
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. As of January 1, 2007, Fermilab is operated by the Fermi Research Alliance, a joint venture of the University of Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology and the Universities Research Association (URA). Fermilab is a part of the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor.
Fermilab's Tevatron was a landmark particle accelerator; at 3.9 miles (6.3 km) in circumference, it was the world's second largest energy particle accelerator (CERN's Large Hadron Collider is the largest with 27 km in circumference), until being shut down on September 30, 2011. In 1995, both the CDF and DØ (detectors which utilize the Tevatron) experiments announced the discovery of the top quark.
In addition to high energy collider physics, Fermilab is also host to a number of smaller fixed-target and neutrino experiments, such as MiniBooNE and MicroBooNE ("Mini Booster Neutrino Experiment" and "Micro Booster Neutrino Experiment"), SciBooNE ("SciBar Booster Neutrino Experiment") and MINOS ("Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search"). The MiniBooNE detector is a 40-foot (12 m) diameter sphere which contains 800 tons of mineral oil lined with 1520 individual phototube detectors. An estimated 1 million neutrino events are recorded each year. SciBooNE is the newest neutrino experiment at Fermilab; it sits in the same neutrino beam as MiniBooNE but has fine-grained tracking capabilities. The MINOS experiment uses Fermilab's NuMI (Neutrinos at the Main Injector) beam, which is an intense beam of neutrinos that travels 455 miles (732 km) through the Earth to the Soudan Mine in Minnesota.
In the public realm, Fermilab is host to many cultural events, not only public science lectures and symposia, but classical and contemporary music concerts, folk dancing and arts galleries. Currently the site is open from dawn to dusk to all visitors who present valid photo identification.
Asteroid 11998 Fermilab is named in honor of the laboratory.
The laboratory was founded in 1967 as the National Accelerator Laboratory; it was renamed in honor of Enrico Fermi in 1974. The laboratory's first director was Robert Rathbun Wilson. Many of the unique sculptures on the site are of his creation. He is deemed responsible for the laboratory being finished ahead of time and under budget. The high rise laboratory building located on the site, the unique shape of which has become the symbol for Fermilab, is named in his honor, and is the center of activity on the campus.
After Wilson stepped down in 1978 to protest the lack of funding for the lab, Leon M. Lederman took on the job. It was under his guidance that the original accelerator was replaced with the Tevatron, an accelerator capable of colliding proton and an antiproton at a combined energy of 1.96 TeV. Lederman stepped down in 1989 and remains Director Emeritus. The science education center at the site was named in his honor.
From 1989 to 1999, the laboratory was run by John Peoples. From July 1, 1999, until June 30, 2005, it was run by Michael S. Witherell. From July 2005 to July 2013, Piermaria Oddone, formerly of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, worked as Fermilab's director. Nigel Lockyer became the current director in September 2013.
Fermilab continues to participate in the work in the LHC including serving as a Tier 1 site in the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid.
The first stage in the acceleration process takes place in the Cockcroft–Walton generator. It involves taking hydrogen gas and turning it into H− ions by introducing it into a container lined with molybdenum electrodes: a matchbox-sized, oval-shaped cathode and a surrounding anode, separated by 1 mm and held in place by glass ceramic insulators. A magnetron is used to generate a plasma to form H− near the metal surface. A 750 keV electrostatic field is applied by the Cockcroft–Walton generator, and the ions are accelerated out of the container. The next step is the linear accelerator (or linac), which accelerates the particles to 400 MeV, or about 70% of the speed of light. Right before entering the next accelerator, the H− ions pass through a carbon foil, becoming H+ ions (protons).
The next step is the booster ring. The booster ring is a 468 m circumference circular accelerator that uses magnets to bend beams of protons in a circular path. The protons coming from the Linac travel around the Booster about 20,000 times in 33 milliseconds so that they repeatedly experience electric fields. With each revolution the protons pick up more energy, leaving the Booster with 8 GeV. The Main Injector is the next link in the accelerator chain. Completed in 1999, it has become Fermilab's "particle switchyard" with three functions: it accelerates protons, it delivers protons for antiproton production, and it accelerates antiprotons coming from the antiproton source. The final accelerator is the Tevatron. It is the second most powerful particle accelerator in the world (CERN's Large Hadron Collider being the most powerful). Traveling at almost the speed of light, protons and antiprotons circle the Tevatron in opposite directions. Physicists coordinate the beams so that they collide at the centers of two 5,000-ton detectors DØ and CDF inside the Tevatron tunnel at energies of 1.96 TeV, revealing the structure of matter at the smallest scale.
- Holometer interferometer
- Tevatron proton-antiproton collider: DØ and Collider Detector at Fermilab
- MiniBooNE: Mini Booster Neutrino Experiment
- Sciboone: SciBar Booster Neutrino Experiment
- MicroBooNE: Micro Booster Neutrino Experiment
- MINOS: Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search
- MINERνA: Main INjector ExpeRiment with νs on As
- NOνA: NuMI Off-axis νe Appearance
- SELEX: SEgmented Large-X baryon spectrometer EXperiment, run to study charmed baryons
- MIPP: Main Injector Particle Production
- DES: Dark Energy Survey
- Sea Quest
- Muon g-2
- CDMS: Cryogenic Dark Matter Search
- COUPP: Chicagoland Observatory for Underground Particle Physics
Dr. Wilson maintained an influence over design and construction. It was important to maintain the aesthetic complexion of the site and not allow it to be diluted by a collection of concrete block buildings. The design of the administrative building (Wilson Hall) harks back to St. Pierre's Cathedral in Beauvais, France, and several of the buildings and sculptures within the Fermilab reservation represent various mathematical constructs as part of their structure.
The Archimedean Spiral is the defining shape of several pumping stations as well as the building housing the MINOS experiment. The reflecting pond at Wilson Hall also showcases a 32-foot-tall (9.8 m) hyperbolic obelisk, designed by Dr. Wilson. Some of the high voltage transmission lines carrying power through the laboratory's land are built to echo the Greek letter π. One can also find structural examples of the DNA double-helix spiral and a nod to the geodesic sphere.
Several large pieces of sculpture found on Fermilab and designed by Wilson include Tractricious, a free-standing arrangement of steel tubes near the Industrial Complex constructed from parts and materials recycled from the Tevatron collider, and the soaring Broken Symmetry, which greets those entering the campus via the Pine Street entrance. Crowning the Ramsey Auditorium is a representation of the Möbius strip with a diameter of more than 8 feet (2.4 m). Also scattered about the access roads and village are a massive hydraulic press and old magnetic containment channels, all painted blue.
Fermilab is currently in the process of dismantling the CDF (Collider Detector at Fermilab) and DØ (D0 experiment) facilities, and has been approved to continue moving forward with MINOS, NOνA, G-2, and Liquid Argon Test Facility.
Fermilab has been approved and currently stands to become the world leader in Neutrino physics through its Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE), as opposed to CERN, which leads in Accelerator physics with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and Japan, which has been approved to build and lead the International Linear Collider (ILC).
"Over 350 people from over 60 institutions participate in the Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE), working together to plan and develop both the experimental facilities and the physics program. LBNE is expected to be fully constructed and ready for operations in 2022. New collaborators are welcome.
LBNE plans a world-class program in neutrino physics that will measure fundamental physical parameters to high precision and explore physics beyond the Standard Model. The measurements LBNE makes will greatly increase our understanding of neutrinos and their role in the universe, thereby better elucidating the nature of matter and anti-matter.
How will LBNE work: LBNE will send the world's highest-intensity neutrino beam 800 miles through the Earth's mantle to a large detector, a multi-kiloton volume of target material instrumented such that it can record interactions between neutrinos and the target material. Neutrinos are harmless and can pass right through matter, only very rarely colliding with other matter particles. Therefore, no tunnel is needed; the vast majority of the neutrinos will pass through the mantle's material, and in turn, right through the detector. The experiment will thus need to collect data for a decade or two since neutrinos interact so rarely.
Fermilab, in Batavia, IL, is the host laboratory and the site of LBNE's future beamline, and the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), in Lead, SD, is the site selected to house the massive far detector. The term "baseline" refers to the distance between the neutrino source and the detector.
Why neutrinos: Neutrinos, astonishingly abundant yet not well understood, may provide the key to answering some of the most fundamental questions about the nature of our universe. The discovery that neutrinos are not massless, as previously thought, has opened a first crack in the highly successful Standard Model of Particle Physics. Neutrinos may play a key role in solving the mystery of how the universe came to consist only of matter rather than antimatter."
"In the summer of 2013, the Muon g−2 team successfully transported a 50-foot-wide electromagnet from Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York, to Fermilab in one piece. The move took 35 days and traversed 3,200 miles over land and sea."
"Muon g−2 (pronounced gee minus two) will use Fermilab's powerful accelerators to explore the interactions of short-lived particles known as muons with a strong magnetic field in "empty" space. Scientists know that even in a vacuum, space is never empty. Instead, it is filled with an invisible sea of virtual particles that—in accordance with the laws of quantum physics—pop in and out of existence for incredibly short moments of time. Scientists can test the presence and nature of these virtual particles with particle beams traveling in a magnetic field."
It was announced on September 3, 2008 that a new particle, the bottom Omega baryon (Ω−
b) was discovered at the DØ experiment of Fermilab. It is made up of two strange quarks and a bottom quark. This discovery not only helps to complete the "periodic table of the baryons" but also offers insight into how quarks form matter.
Wildlife at Fermilab
Fermilab's first director, Robert Wilson brought five American Bison to the site in 1967, a bull and four cows, and an additional 21 were provided by the Illinois Department of Conservation. Some fearful locals believed at first that the bison were introduced in order to serve as an alarm if and when radiation at the laboratory reached dangerous levels, but they were assured by Fermilab that this claim had no merit. Today, the herd is a popular attraction which draws many visitors and the grounds are also a sanctuary for other local wildlife populations.
- Big Science
- Center for the Advancement of Science in Space—operates the US National Laboratory on the ISS.
- Fermi Linux LTS
- Scientific Linux
- Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
- About Fermilab http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/faqs/
- Fermilab. "Before Weston". Retrieved 2009-11-25.
- "Fermilab director Oddone announces plan to retire next year". The Beacon-News. August 2, 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- "New Fermilab director named". Crain's Chicago Business. June 21, 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- National Science Foundation. "The US and LHC Computing". Retrieved 2011-01-11.
- "About Fermilab - The Fermilab Campus". 12/01/2005. Retrieved 2007-2-27. Check date values in:
- "Fermilab physicists discover "doubly strange" particle". Fermilab. 9 September 2008.
- Fermilab (30 December 2005). "Safety and the Environment at Fermilab". Retrieved 2006-01-06.
- http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/campus/ecology/wildlife/ retrieved 3/30/2013
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- Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory