MINOS / MINOS+ (finished)
The MINOS Experiment used a beam of muon neutrinos that were generated by the Main Injector accelerator at Fermilab. The beam composition is first measured by a near detector shortly after the production point to evaluate the composition of the neutrino beam composition. The neutrinos continue to travel for another 734 km through the crust of the earth, before the beam is detected again by a second detector in the Soudan underground mine.
The beam is mainly made of so-called muon neutrinos at the start of their journey, but by the time they arrive at the far detector a certain fraction have transformed into electron and tau neutrinos. This transformation is called "neutrino oscillations" and only possible if neutrinos have mass. MINOS was the first long baseline experiment, who made precision measurements of the parameters governing this transition.
The Oxford group was heavily involved in building the experiment providing a GPS based timing and trigger distribution system as well as electronics for far and PMT for the near detectors. We also conducted an extensive campaign of test beam measurements at CERN to understand the response of the detector to the different particles that are produced in neutrino interactions.
Since data taking started in 2005, we were involved in measurement using the disappearance muon and anti-muon neutrinos as well as in the search for sterile neutrinos.
The NuMI beamline that delivered neutrinos for the MINOS (and other experiments) was reconfigured to provide a more intense higher energy neutrino beam for the NOvA experiment from March 2012. The MINOS detectors were running in this beam configuration as the MINOS+ experiment. The main aim of the experiment was to study the properties of the neutrinos at higher energies to over-constrain the neutrino sector as well as to measure the time of flight of neutrinos over a 735 km baseline to a precision approaching 1 nsec. More details can be found here and attached to this page.
The MINOS/MINOS+ experiment has now finished.