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University to receive $40.1 million for NOνA experiment


The University of Minnesota will receive a grant of $40.1 million for the NOνA neutrino experiment construction. Funds are part of $1.2 billion from Recovery Act to be disbursed by Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The NOvA funding for Minnesota will generate an estimated 60-plus construction jobs and procurements for concrete, steel, road-building materials and mechanical and electrical equipment from U.S. firms.

The NOνA Experiment (Fermilab E929) will construct a detector optimized for electron neutrino detection in the existing NuMI neutrino beam. The primary goal of the experiment is to search for evidence of muon to electron neutrino oscillations. This oscillation, if it occurs, may hold the key to many of the unanswered questions about the nature of elementary particles in the universe.

The NOνA far detector will be located in northern Minnesota between Orr and International Falls. The groundbreaking for construction took place on May 1, 2009. You can see video here.

The NOνA detectors will be constructed from liquid scintillator contained inside extruded PVC modules. The far detector will have a total mass of 15 kilotons and be 15.7 meters wide, 15.7 meters tall, and 78 meters long. A smaller copy of the far detector will be constructed in the NuMI beam on the Fermilab site to measure the neutrino event rates prior to oscillation.