• MOU signing signals continued commitment to DUNE Project
    Delegates from various countries signing the MOU to contribute to the DUNE experiment. From left to right: Maria Luiza Moretti (Vice-Rector, Unicamp), Reynald Pain (Director, IN2P3), Hema Ramamoorthi (Fermilab Director of Office of International Engagements), Lia Merminga (Fermilab Director), Marco Pallavicini (INFN Vice-President), Professor Dr Michele Weber (Director, Laboratory for High Energy Physics, University of Bern), Professor Mark Thomson (Executive Chair, STFC). (Credit: Ryan Postel, Fermilab)

Research News

MOU signing signals continued commitment to DUNE Project

Jan 19 2024

Eight countries including the UK and CERN have signed a new agreement that will provide next generation technology and hardware for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) to move ahead.

Hosted by the US facility Fermilab, the DUNE experiment seeks to reveal the secrets of neutrinos, which although established as an essential building block of the Universe, remain largely mysterious to particle physicists. A comprehensive study of their behaviour requires construction of new kinds of particle detectors at Fermilab’s South Dakota-based facility which is situated a mile underground. The DUNE experiment will fire neutrinos at these detectors from the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) at Fermilab near Chicago over a distance of 1,300 kilometres.

In the study, scientists will be aiming to analyse how the neutrinos change as they enter different states as a result of their travel through the Earth in the hope of discovering more about the fundamental properties of neutrinos and to answer questions such as why neutrinos are so abundant and whether they could be the reason the Universe is made of matter

DUNE is a mega science experiment that requires mass international collaboration to be achieved and in this latest agreement representatives of funding agencies from the eight countries and CERN have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), reaffirming their commitment to contribute to the experiment. The DUNE collaboration comprises more than 1,400 scientists and engineers from over 200 research institutions.

The UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has committed to:

  • supporting construction of the anode plane assemblies of the South Dakota detector
  • supporting development of the DUNE data acquisition system
  • providing critical hardware to both detectors

This will be in addition to ongoing STFC support for DUNE through programmes such as the STFC Daresbury Laboratory DUNE factory and STFC’s contributions to the Proton Improvement Plan-II enhancement to the Fermilab accelerator complex.

Professor Mark Thomson, STFC Executive Chair, who attended the signing on behalf of the UK, said: “The DUNE experiment is set to revolutionise our understanding of the role of neutrinos in particle physics. It also underscores the incredible potential of working together as an international community to address the big questions about the fundamental nature of the Universe.

"The UK has been one of the main partners in DUNE right from its conception and, on behalf of the UK research community, STFC is delighted to restate our commitment to provide support and cutting-edge hardware that will help unravel the mysteries of neutrinos."

Professor Lia Merminga, Fermilab Director, said: “The signing of this MOU is a watershed moment formalising our partnering countries’ commitment to constructing a best-in-class neutrino experiment.

“I extend my sincerest gratitude for their contributions, commitment and excellence. Every facet of this experiment is powered by international collaborations and partnerships.”

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