|Barber-Nichols Inc. (BNI) has been awarded a contract by Fermi National Laboratory to supply liquid argon pumps for use in the ProtoDUNE experimental program at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The hermetically sealed cryogenic pumps will be used to circulate liquid argon, the neutrino target medium, through ultra-clean detectors and provide long-term reliable operation for the duration of the experiment. Neutrinos are extremely small (Mass: 0.320 ± 0.081 eV/c² (Sum of 3 Flavors)), yet abundant sub-atomic particles which rarely interact with the matter we can see and touch. Trillions of neutrinos, generated by our sun and other stars in the galaxy, pass through our bodies every second at nearly the speed of light with no consequence. Neutrinos are believed to be a critical piece to our understanding of physics and the universe, with upwards of 30 countries collaborating on one large scale project alone. Detecting these elusive particles requires highly sensitive instrumentation and ultra-clean systems.
|A Barber-Nichols BNCP-32C-000 Cryogenic Liquid Argon Pump
|Barber-Nichols’ expertise as a custom turbomachinery design and manufacturing company lends itself well to the stringent efficiency and cleanliness required for such neutrino experiments. BNI’s cryogenic pumps have been operated below 4 Kelvin and feature hermetic seals and housings for installation in vacuum insulated cold boxes, magnetic couplings, dry self-lubricating bearings, and internal structures to limit the conductance of heat into the cryogenically cooled fluid. Due to this expertise, Barber-Nichols is an industry-recognized leader in high performance cryogenic machinery.
|Electric Field Coils and Detector Grids Inside a Liquid Argon Neutrino Detector
Photo Credit: http://www.dunescience.org/neutrino-detectors/