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SNOLAB shares first glimpse of SNO+ science results

14 January 2019

TRIUMF and other collaborators on the integrative neutrino detector experiment join in celebrating inaugural results

Today, SNOLAB and the SNO+ experiment are sharing a first look at the experiment’s inaugural science results, including papers that detail a Solar Neutrino Measurement and a Nucleon Decay in Water result.

SNOLAB has prepared an informative and accessible landing page that details these exciting first findings, here, and we encourage you to visit to learn more about the results and the SNO+ experiment.


The TRIUMF team’s contributions to these achievements have been multifold, and comprise a mix of leading-edge new designs and several clever recapitulations of legacy technology used in the original SNO experiment (which garnered Canadian astrophysicist and SNO experiment director Art McDonald a co-award for the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics)

The TRIUMF-SNO+ team designed and fabricated the critical Universal Interface (UI), which acts as a gatekeeper to the experiment’s central acrylic vessel. The UI provides access for everything that passes into the 12-metre diameter acrylic vessel: the 800 tonnes of liquid scintillator (and the water that is currently being replaced with scintillator), the isotopes of interest for the double beta-decay measurement, and monitors that track the temperature and levels of the liquids and their radioactive purity. The challenge for the team designing the UI was ensuring adequate space for all these apparatus in the limited space available.

The Interface was conceived of and designed from scratch at TRIUMF, with much of the machining support coming from TRIUMF’s Machine Shop. Interestingly, this was not TRIUMF’s first UI – the lab was responsible for the original UI system in place in the original SNO experiment. Though the SNO+ UI will function in much the same way as the original SNO UI, the stringent low-radioactivity conditions necessary for the double beta-decay required that the team redevelop a SNO+-specific interface.

In addition to the UI, the TRIUMF team also contributed a key piece of infrastructure that mobilizes calibration sources within the acrylic vessel, a necessary step for testing and commissioning the experiment. Here, TRIUMF's historical contributions to SNO again proved useful, with parts of the original apparatus being incorporated into this newer generation of SNO+ infrastructure. As with the UI, the design work and fabrication of the calibration apparatus was carried out at TRIUMF.

“It is very satisfying that the backgrounds have come out to be as low as our projections and show that the apparatus provided by TRIUMF meets all expectations,” said Dr. Rich Helmer, TRIUMF Researcher Emeritus and SNO/SNO+ scientist. “The bonus of a good physics result at this early stage also bodes well for the future measurements!"

Congratulations to the SNO+ collaboration and SNOLAB!