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CFI announces major investments in TRIUMF-related projects

03 March 2021

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) today announced over $23M in support for five TRIUMF-related research projects, from next-generation dark matter and neutrino detectors to the BC-based ATLAS Tier-1 GRID computing data-centre 

The announcement, made by the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, came as part of part of the CFI’s 2020 Innovation Fund competition results, which saw a total of over $518M million dollars invested in Canadian science and research initiatives across the country.  

The announcement represents a tremendous achievement for the laboratory; nearly 60% of the TRIUMF-related proposals received funding, far above the competition’s 30% average success rate.  

“We are very pleased with the outcome of the CFI Innovation Fund competition,” said Reiner Kruecken, TRIUMF Deputy Director, Research. “These investments represent a critical commitment to Canadian science and innovation. They will empower Canada to make leading contributions to a number of important research initiatives – both domestically and abroad.” 
The TRIUMF-related projects, all of which are international collaborations, will also receive support from Canadian academic institutions from across seven provinces, including 13 of TRIUMF’s 21 member universities. 

Each of thprojects will leverage the laboratory’s multidisciplinary expertise and unique facilities, particularly the TRIUMF community’s world-leading capacity for designing and building leading-edge particle detector systems. Here’s a look at the TRIUMF-related projects that received Innovation Fund support this year: 

IWCD NuPRISM/HyperK long baseline neutrinos

(image: the inside of the SuperK neutrino detector) 

Led by the University of Victoria and building on the Canadian contribution to the decades-long hunt for neutrinos at the T2K (Tokai to Kamioka) long-baseline neutrino experimentthe team for the Intermediate Water Cherenkov Detector, includes researchers from the University of Winnipeg, the University of Regina, and BCIT. As a major contributor to the Canadian long-baseline community, TRIUMF will provide support through personnel and its expertise in the development of photodetectors, including work towards a new water Cherenkov near detector (IWCD) and the Super-Kamiokande’s successor, the Hyper-Kamiokande (HyperK) detector.  

Read more about the HyperK experiment here; read more about IWCD here. 

DarkSide-20k – LAr Dark Matter 

Building on the dark matter search results provided by the first DarkSide detector, the DarkSide collaboration has begun research and development efforts towards their second-generation dark matter hunter: a 20-tonne liquid argon time projection chamber situated at the INFN Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS), ItalyThe experiment is a major endeavour of the Global Liquid Argon Dark Matter collaborationan international consortium of dark matter scientists and engineers that is building consecutively larger liquid argon detectors.  

DarkSide-20k will serve as the de facto successor to the SNOLAB-based DEAP-3600 experiment, and as the predecessor of the planned 300-tonne ARGO detector (which is also aiming to be located at SNOLAB)The Darkside-20k detector, which will leverage state-of-the-art background suppression techniques and an unprecedented volume of ultrapure liquid argon, may provide our first glimpse of elusive dark matter as weakly-interacting massive particles (WIMPs). 

In partnership with Canadian lead and TRIUMF member Carleton Universityand collaborators at SNOLABQueen’s University and the McDonald InstituteTRIUMF will contribute expertise and infrastructure for detector development for advanced photodetectors and the next generation of liquid argon-based dark matter detectors. 

Read more about Darkside-20k here. 

Canadian ATLAS Tier-1 Data Centre upgrade 

(image: the Tier-1 ATLAS centre)

The Large Hadron Collider, the largest experiment in history, will remain at the forefront of high-energy particle physics for at least the next 20 years, allowing scientists to continue an active and intense search for direct detection of new physics phenomena. Important questions such as the nature of dark matter, the existence of extra dimensions of spacetime and search for new fundamental forces will continue to be explored with high priority at the LHC. 

The Canadian Tier-1 Data Centre, currently co-located between TRIUMF and SFU stores and reprocesses raw data from the ATLAS experiment – one of the LHC’s main detectors – at large-scale, as well as data from extensive simulations of the experiment, which is a crucial to the ATLAS research program. The CFI award will enable the expansion of the Tier-1 Data Centre’s storage capacity and increase the processing capability with further innovation in the distributed computing framework, in response to computing needs for the LHC’s Run-3 and the more complex LHC collision environments expected in the coming years.  

Read more about the Canadian ATLAS Tier-1 Data Centre here. 

Moller Experiment @ JLAB 

The Measurement of a Lepton-Lepton Electroweak Reaction (MOLLER) experiment proposes to measure the parity-violating asymmetry in electron-electron (Møller) scattering. The experiment will leverage expertise from with TRIUMF’s Science Technology department. 


UBC professor and TRIUMF-affiliated scientist Taka Mamose and Makoto Fujiwara, TRIUMF Senior Scientist, together with researchers from the ALPHA CANADA collaboration, also received support from CFI for the HAICU project. The novel system, to be located at UBC, will enable breakthrough science and development for the ALPHA anti-hydrogen experiment at CERN.  

As one of the leading institutions for the ALPHA experiment, TRIUMF was instrumental in the development and manufacturing of the current and previous ALPHA experimental apparatus at CERN, providing world-leading technical expertise for detectors and data acquisition systems and more.  

The nEXO Experiment 

The nEXO experiment will search for the unique neutrinoless double beta decay in five tons of liquid xenon-136 with the aim of improving current measurements by almost two orders of magnitude. In collaboration with founding TRIUMF member the University of British Columbia, the lab is providing components to the nEXO collaboration through development of high-speed VUV detectors.  In collaboration with researchers from the Université de Sherbrooke, TRIUMF is designing a unique direct Vacuum Ultra-Violet (VUV) light detector to record decay signals from nEXO’s liquid xenon. It will be the world’s first high-speed, fully digital, VUV light sensor, capable of nano-second detections. The work builds on TRIUMF expertise developed from contributions to the T2K neutrino experiment and development of advanced detectors for PET medical imaging. 

Read more about the nEXO experiment here. 

*Note: this funding is conditional, based on approval from international partners


Additionally, several other projects with TRIUMF involvement received CFI support. 

Click here to read the full press release from CFI. The full list of supported projects is here.