Anderson Dahlen Builds Chambers for Stanford’s Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC)

Posted on: October 13, 2017

The neutrinoless Enriched Xenon Observatory (nEXO) collaboration is designed to research deeply into the behavior of neutrinos, the lightest massive particles known to science. The project is funded by multiple organizations, such as the Department of Energy, Stanford University, and the National Science Foundation. Neutrinos are produced from nuclear fusion in stars and through radioactive decay. The reason scientists are interested in neutrinos is because it does not follow the standard model of physics. The model states that all particles of matter containing mass and a charge have a corresponding antiparticle, called antimatter. But despite this model, neutrinos don’t follow this principle.

The project is expected to research numerous aspects of neutrinos, having remarkable implications in the field of physics. nEXO’s project goal is to confirm that the neutrinos don’t consist of antimatter using a process known as double beta decay, while learning more about them. Studying neutrinos furthermore can help explain the Big Bang theory more in depth, which hypothesizes how the universe was formed billions of years ago. If neutrinos do prove to not contain antimatter, it can explain why there is an imbalance between matter and antimatter that we observe today.

Anderson Dahlen was contracted in August of 2016 to manufacture a set of large (~ 6’ diameter) chambers for the neutrinoless Enriched Xenon Observatory (nEXO) collaboration. The Large Xenon Test Stand (LXTS) is composed of (3) nested chambers; an inner, middle and outer chamber. The inner chamber is used to test the detector in liquid xenon, which identifies the xenon atom going through the process of beta decay. Beyond that, the second chamber was manufactured to contain refrigerants to keep the liquefied Xenon cool, which has a melting point of -111.75 C. The outer chamber is a cryogenic vacuum, fabricated to insulate the other chambers. A unique feature of this project is that one chamber had to be designed, fabricated, and tested according to ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code section VIII, division 1 (ASME BPVC-VIII-1) as well as being certified for High Vacuum Service.

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