SNOLAB awarded US$31M for research at Vale's Creighton

Canadian underground science laboratory SNOLAB, which specialises in neutrino and dark matter phyiscs, has been granted C$41 million (US$31 million) to continue research at Vale’s Creighton Mine in Sudbury that includes work on mining innovations aimed at improving productivity and health.
SNOLAB awarded US$31M for research at Vale's Creighton  SNOLAB awarded US$31M for research at Vale's Creighton  SNOLAB awarded US$31M for research at Vale's Creighton  SNOLAB awarded US$31M for research at Vale's Creighton  SNOLAB awarded US$31M for research at Vale's Creighton

SNOLAB is conducting research on the latest mining and genomics innovations

Creighton is one of only a few underground laboratories in the world that can support  subatomic and astroparticle physics experiments, noted Vale in a statement.  The ninth deepest mine in the world, it is also the world's deepest nickel mine, with its mining depth extending to 2.42km.

The US$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," said SNOLAB executive director, Nigel Smith, "These funds will allow us to continue to attract world class experiments to Sudbury, providing great opportunities for Canadian researchers and industry."  

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.

The team at SNOLAB, an expansion of the original facilities constructed for the Nobel Prize-winning Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) solar neutrino experiment, is also developing projects for new radiation and photo detectors applied in medical imaging and national security. 

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 expansion that started the Universe.

The objective of an international ventilator technology collaboration MVM (Mechanica Ventilator Milano) 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 lab's experience and knowledge in gas control and handling systems used in dark matter experiments are being applied for example to help design a simple and easy-to-build medical ventilator, as part of the MVM 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" said Smith.