MINOS and NOνA at Caltech

We are actively involved in the MINOS and NOνA long-baseline neutrino experiments at Fermilab. Through neutrinos, we are addressing basic questions about the Standard Model (and beyond), including peculiarities of weak mixing, the details of the neutrino mass spectrum, the possibility of CP or CPT violation in the lepton sector, sterile neutrinos, and more.

The Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search (MINOS) uses two large magnetized steel/scintillator tracking calorimeters, one on-site at Fermilab and one 735 km away in the Soudan mine in northern Minnesota. The detectors are exposed to the high intensity NuMI neutrino beam, a few-GeV nearly pure νμ source. Currently, we are making precise measurements of νμ and νμ disappearance, and we are investigating θ13-driven νμ→νe oscillations.

The NuMI Off-axis νe Appearance experiment is under construction. The novel detector design (a 70% active, low-Z tracking calorimeter with fine-grained readout) will provide excellent νe charged-current event identification. With θ13 now known to be non-zero, we will use νμ→νe oscillations to address leptonic CP violation, the neutrino mass hierarchy, and the details of flavor mixing. In addition, we will perform precision studies of the dominant neutrino oscillation mode, including (a) probing the possibility of maximal mixing with a factor of 10 smaller uncertainty than existing measurements, (b) bringing the uncertainty in the 'atmospheric' mass splitting down to 2%, and (c) searching for physics beyond the Standard Model by comparing the disappearance of νμ and νμ. The NOνA prototype Near Detector has been operating since 2010 on the surface at Fermilab. The Far Detector will begin running in 2013.

Group Members

Chris Backhouse [ Postdoctoral Scholar ]
Kirk Bays [ Postdoctoral Scholar ]
Joe Lozier [ Graduate Student ]
Leon Mualem [ Staff Scientist ]
Harvey Newman [ Faculty ]
Ryan Patterson [ Faculty ]
Dan Pershey [ Graduate Student ]
Jason Trevor [ Engineer ]
MINOS Far Detector

NuMI Horn 1

Prototype NOvA Block Assembly

NOvA Far Detector Site Construction

Top of NOvA Far Detector (partially outfitted)