SNOLAB received CDN $ 40,890,089 and had the benefit renewed until 2022/23. The site has a unique capacity and offers a competitive edge for Canada as one of the few underground laboratories in the world to support current and future generations of subatomic and astroparticle physics experiments. It is located deep within Vale's Creighton Mine in Sudbury, Ontario.
The funding was part of a CDN $230 million funding announcement by Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, Navdeep Bains. This funding will support 14 scientific initiative facilities through the Canada Foundation for Innovation. It will support innovative international research to help boost Canada's scientific productivity and economic competitiveness, in addition to enabling these groups to take action against the COVID-19 crisis.
In addition to potential achievements in fundamental physics, the team at SNOLAB is developing projects for new radiation and photo detectors applied in medical imaging and national security. They are also conducting research on the latest mining and genomics innovations aimed at improving productivity and health.
Executive Director, Nigel Smith, says, 'SNOLAB is delighted to receive continued support from the federal government through the CFI. The $40.9M secured over the next three years, with co-funding from the Province of Ontario and support from Vale, will allow SNOLAB to continue to maintain and develop a world-leading deep underground research facility and investigate some of the fundamental questions in contemporary science. These funds will allow us to continue to attract world class experiments to Sudbury, providing great opportunities for Canadian researchers and industry.'
SNOLAB is an underground science laboratory specializing in neutrino and dark matter physics. SNOLAB is an expansion of the original facilities constructed for the Nobel Prize-winning Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) solar neutrino experiment. While particle astrophysics is the principle focus for SNOLAB, there is a growing interest in other scientific fields to exploit the deep underground space and associated infrastructure.
The lab's experience and knowledge in gas control and handling systems used in dark matter experiments are being applied to help design a simple and easy-to-build medical ventilator, as part of the international Mechanical Ventilator Milano* project.
'The capabilities SNOLAB has developed have allowed us to direct our research strengths to address the immediate challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic in collaboration with other Canadian national research facilities' says Smith.
The objective of the MVM collaboration is to design, develop, build and certify a safe ventilator that is powerful, yet gentle, on the lungs. It is a simple design, yet equipped with a sophisticated control system to offer the required ventilation modalities. The simplicity of the design, which is made possible by the MVM control system, allows for wide availability of parts, and rapid manufacturing in different countries.
The MVM Ventilator Collaboration operates in an open innovation framework to enable quick progress through ventilator design and testing, and to minimize the time required to get the ventilators manufactured and distributed to hospitals and patients. The cooperation of particle and nuclear physics laboratories across Canada, Italy, and the United States will establish a common international standard for the machine, maximizing the benefits that come from the sharing of information.
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The main studies carried out at the site include a rare radioactive process called neutrino-less double beta decay, which could prove the origin of matter and the world. Some research focuses on finding particles of dark matter from the Big Bang, the great explosion that may have started the Universe. Neutrinos are one of the most abundant particles in the universe. Because of its lack of electrical charge and an extremely small mass, neutrinos are considered a key element, as they can relate to both matter and dark matter.
SNOLAB is also the basis for installation of PUPS - the Polaris Underground Project at SNOLAB -, a three-dimensional seismic monitoring system that provides detailed information on seismic activities for the mining industry. This geotechnical information is used to plan deep mine excavations and is used by Vale's operations team at Creighton Mine, in Sudbury, Ontario.
Its location two kilometers below the surface enable scientists to conduct experiments with the least possible interference from environmental and extra-terrestrial radioactivity.
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