Sanford Lab Angling for a U.S. DOE Designation, Further Quantum Technologies Research

Sanford Lab planning for long future with official DOE designation, next generation experiments

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+  As the Sanford Lab prepares a proposal to become formally recognized as a Department of Energy User Facility, scientists from all over the world met virtually to discuss a myriad of future experiments that would maximize the use of the entire underground space and solidify the future of the Lead facility for decades to come.

Mike Headley, executive director of the S.D. Science and Technology Authority which manages the Sanford Lab, said his staff is working on a proposal to become an officially recognized User Facility for the Department of Energy Office of Science. Currently the Sanford Underground Research Facility is funded through the federal agency, because it provides facility space and resources for major science experiments of worldwide interest. But the official designation as a User Facility would allow the Sanford Lab to have access to resources that aren’t otherwise available. Additionally, he said it would ensure a set of standards that the Sanford Lab would be required to provide to facility users such as scientists.


+  Sanford Lab Science Director Jaret Heise said 88 scientists from all over the U.S., with representation from the UK, Switzerland, Italy, China and Canada, as well as other countries, met virtually to discuss even more science experiments for the lab. Currently the Sanford Underground Research Facility hosts 27 experiments that involve 85 institutions in eight countries. But these scientists gave 18 presentations for new experiments regarding neutrinos, dark matter, nuclear astrophysics, quantum information systems, geology, biology and engineering. Some specific experiments included planning for a next generation LZ dark matter experiment, a neutrinoless double beta decay experiment that could employ 10 to 100 tons of enriched germanium; an experiment that would use quantum sensors to detect gravity waves and ultra light dark matter; and quantum computers that would improve performance when shielded in an underground lab.

+  Quantum computers, Heise said, can help scientists solve some, but not all, difficult problems, particularly those in quantum chemistry, physics, and math. He quoted famed theoretical physicist Richard Feynman to explain, saying “Trying to find a computer simulation of physics seems to me to be an excellent program to follow out. The real use of it would be with quantum mechanics. Nature isn’t classical, and if you want to make a simulation of nature, you’d better make it quantum mechanical.”

Source:  Black Hills Pioneer.  Wendy Pitlick,  Sanford Lab planning for long future with official DOE designation, next generation experiments…

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