Barguzin big science

Neutrino telescope deployed at depths of Lake Baikal, not only allows you to deal with what is happening in other galaxies, but also launches a new technological directions, find application in various fields — from the oil industry to the Commissar.

Our uazik mastered the sun-drenched white virgin land — an icebound lake Baikal. The space seems endless, but the distance one can see the white-and-blue ridge mountains. Haze hides their base, and it seems that the snow-capped peaks soaring over the lake. Windblown snow drifts — as speed bumps along the way. Some are too deep, wheel bogged down. We have to back up and try again, with overclocking. Engine muffled roar, iron heart-rending thunders, but the car never fails — we break and rush on.

A civilization is left far behind. Ahead — the base of the expedition of scientists who since the late 80s deployed here Baikal neutrino telescope — a unique underwater detector for high-energy neutrinos that have come from outer space. Today, in the depths of Lake Baikal research works full installation, which passed the stage of debugging technical systems, experimental verification of scientific hypotheses, mathematical models, survival equipment for water resistance and the team leading the project.

Perhaps, there is no second research project of this magnitude that would confirm his success at the world level and had such a young team capable of moving the experiment further. It is time to take the next step in the development of the project — to build a prototype based on the waste detector by an order larger, maintaining their leadership position in the field of neutrino astrophysics.

We did this
The Baikal neutrino detector was conceived in 1979 by Moses Markov, Academician-Secretary of the Division of Nuclear Physics of the Academy of Sciences, as a large-scale inter-agency project, which in addition to academic institutions had applied to participate and high school science. Time has shown that with this approach it was possible to tap the potential of the strongest scientific and engineering groups of the country and the project as a whole was quite competitive.

The first phase of the neutrino detector (NT-36) — three vertical garland with 12 optical modules in each (these are called G-String garlands) — earned under water in April 1993. For the first time in the world they have registered high energy neutrinos (over 1010 volts) in a natural water basin. The global scientific community has implicitly recognized the primacy of Russian astrophysicists.

This success has provided not only the correct scientific concepts as tenacity of the people who had to endure a serious test of strength. The main stage of the deployment of the detector was in the mid-90s, when everyone in the country just collapsed. Scientists, installed the device on the ice of Lake Baikal, there were no uniforms, no tools or machines. Products, Irons and markers sent colleagues from the German DESY (DESY — second only to CERN in scale and power research center in Europe).

This unique underwater setting, which was created at the initiative of the Institute of Nuclear Research (INR) to study the abstract issues of big science, was destined to become not only the science but also the engineering project. Nothing ready for it in the country did not exist. And the unparalleled deep-water appliances, and a special ice equipment, and fundamentally new methods of handling large amounts of data needed to create from scratch.

For example, a photomultiplier tube (PMT) "Quasar", registering a flash of light, which are accompanied by rare cases of neutrino collisions with nuclei of hydrogen or oxygen in the water, was the progenitor of a new generation of vacuum detectors.
Distinctive features of "Quasar" — high sensitivity and very high voltage inside the bulb (25 kV against conventional 1.5-2), which do not allow the magnetic field of the Earth interfere with the work of the PMT. "Quasar" is placed in a made by special technology of low-level radioactive glass spheres with the addition of boron and silicon that can withstand water pressure at a depth of 1400 m, and provide the electronic brains. Obtained optical modules — the key instruments detector.

Signals from the "Quasar" comes in two dive computers that are mounted in sealed boxes and hanging at a depth of 25 m They organize the data in the Coast center — a log hut with a large Russian stove. Information is transmitted to shore via a special cable. To build them on the bottom of Lake Baikal, Michael Milenin of Nizhny Novgorod Polytechnic University, where he remained the only one in the whole country chair design ledorezatelnogo equipment, has developed an original unit: moving on the ice, he cuts through the slot and gently smooth it down the cable.

The efficiency of the subsea installation provided a mass of beautiful engineering solutions. Get at least the problem of sealing connectors for water (they are used to connect the individual optical modules and control into a single system, all connectors to install nearly 2.5 million). ‘Connections — a weak spot all underwater detectors. Because of this problem in 1996 was closed a similar project DUMAND Baikal in Hawaii (the developers — the U.S. and Japan. — "Expert") — the first and the only G-string with two dozen optical modules worked under water half an hour and died because of leakage — says Christian Spiringen, head of neutrino astrophysics DESY and the chairman of the Committee on Strategies Astroparticle Physics European Coordination (ApPEC). — Our Russian colleagues on Lake Baikal was able to solve this problem better than anyone — if something breaks down, it is not because of leaks. It is fantastic! "Secret fantastic Baikal seal connectors simple and cheap, like most of our know-how. Common ground connectors altered in the deep-water specialists Acoustics Institute named after Academician NN Andreev: they calculated the specific form of the connector body in the form of two cones, tightly included one in the other. Keep a sealed construction makes the water itself: pressure at the depth of the water column creates an additional force which presses the conical each other.

Were invented special collection methods, timing and processing huge amount of signals from the detector devices: every second "Quasars" register up to ten flashes per day recruited nearly 900 thousand events. With all of this have learned to understand and extract the signals corresponding to particles that move in the water from the bottom up. And this can only neutrinos — only those particles with negligible mass and zero charge can freely pass through the globe.

"During his time at Lake Baikal have been tested and worked out a completely new equipment and technology for deep water detection of elementary particles, it was decided many engineering problems, was created a fundamentally new experimental technique for astrophysics, — the head of the project Domogatskii Gregory, head of the Laboratory for High Energy Neutrino Astrophysics Institute of Nuclear Research Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. — It has been verified that which you do not count on any of the mathematical model: the behavior of glass, connectors and electronics in the Siberian Baikal water and frost. "

These works are on Baikal since 1988: every winter, once the ice on the lake will get stronger, coming to Lake Baikal expedition of scientists. On the ice, four kilometers from
the coast unfolds ice camp, cutting through the lane (square hole), winches lifted out of the water and optical control modules, entangled in a web of wires and theoretical physicists from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Dubna, Irkutsk and Berlin proceed to the most attractive — the formulation of new experiments. On the command "it is necessary to drown" under water dipped new appliances, old appliances with new electronic brains and so on. Prevent this occupation can only nature: if, in addition to the cold and the wind still Clears barguzin, outdoor ice can withstand no more than a quarter of an hour.

In general, we are very lucky and Lake Baikal, where there is no salt, virtually no currents and the water is clear enough for the efficient operation of the PMT, and with its robust five-foot ice cap, which is held from mid-January to early April. Were it not for our poor scholars of this free base for the installation, maintenance and filling-subsea installation — there would be no Baikal neutrino detector. Resourceful Physics adapted for the needs of science, even an ice bar — whimsical pile of ice blocks formed gang up on each other parts of the ruptured ice. They are used as a test bed. "We have such an approach, if you’re going to drop something under the water, the first day or two to tinker on the UAZ on hummocks. If you remain in working condition — safely install. Very good reception, "- says Gregory Domogatskii experience. Hummocks on the Lake Baikal — is necessary. When uazik sweeps, bouncing on the edges of the ice plates, all of its contents, including passengers, hanging between the floor and the roof, as beads in a rattle. Held for at all.

In the six years since our first visit to the base of a scientific expedition (see "Neytronchik out of the hole", "Expert» № 28, 2002), on the banks has changed absolutely nothing: the same log houses, built at the foot of the rock cliffs early in the last century, when the railroad punched; same metal carriages, military trucks, half-scored instruments, in which the "winter" scientists, and the same silence. Profound changes have taken place

with the underwater part of the "iceberg", which is the informal name of the Baikal project: in 2003, when the detector is operated for a long time, scientists had the idea to mount the three new thong with optical modules and hung them on the sides of the main plant in the side of it. These strings have given detector new quality — they have allowed scientists to determine not only the direction of the neutrino, but also their energy. "Before, we could only determine the point of the celestial sphere, from which comes the neutrino. Now we can get information about the place in this point in the process that caused the neutrino "- explains Gregory Domogatskii.

Today the Baikal Neutrino Telescope (NT-200 +) is a zontikoobraznuyu design with 8 vertical garlands, g-strings, which are strung on 192 optical modules. Separated from her hang three additional thong on them — another 36 optical modules. This design is unique. The idea of the design and all of its major elements — center frame rod-arms, cantilever beams, cable, stretch marks, deep-sea buoys and anchors, special koshelok that are not sucked into the mud, — belongs to the "chief engineer" of the project, theoretical physicist of INR Andrey Panfilov. The scope of the underwater structure is impressive: lower structural members are at a depth of 1400 m, the top — in the surface layer at a depth of 15-20 m is a pity that this whole pride of Russian science can contemplate only phlegmatic Baikal cisco.

"Perhaps, most importantly, that we have at this time — to create a cohesive project team and prove-mounted frozen hands in the cold, can work steadily for years under water, that nothing is falling apart and demolished over", — says Gregory Domogatskii . All work on the project — design, installation and debugging of installation — took more than 20 years. Meanwhile, Russian physicists got followers.

Crawling from the South Pole
In 1993, to catching neutrinos joined the Americans — a detector AMANDA they decided to expand in Antarctica, exactly at the South Pole. By 2000, the Americans took the lead: AMANDA had a total 19 strings with 677 optical modules and superior Baikal detector is sensitive in terms of substance — a fragment of the environment in which we record the outbreak of neutrinos — about 50 times. Americans contributed to the great success of the partners in the collaboration of the German DESY — Germans joined the project AMANDA, already having considerable experience in the Lake Baikal.

Europe also decided to keep up: in the mid-90s in the Mediterranean began construction of three similar installations for high-energy neutrinos — ANTARES (France), NEMO (Italy) and NESTOR (Greece). The most successful business is the French: they are lowered into the sea for 750 optical modules, and last year also went around Baikal ANTARES telescope on the sensitive volume.

From the point of view of high hopes that holds the neutrino detectors world science (see "Why science underwater neutrino trap"), all created by today underwater and under-ice plants are only small prototypes. Guaranteed to register particular interest to the science of neutrinos with energies above 1016 eV these detectors will be able, if they will have the sensitive volume of not less than 1 km3 (the sensitive volume of the largest AMANDA detector is only 0,015 km3). In other words, the optical module should be enough to enable them to track the flash of light produced by neutrinos in a medium volume of 1 km3.

First to the bar in 1 km3 of Americans rushed: in 2002 it was decided to build on the base AMANDA superdetektor of 80 strings of 60 optical modules in each. This project, called IceCube, the U.S. Congress has allocated 242 million dollars, 30 million more added partners — Germany, Sweden and Belgium.

Mediterranean projects will be developed in the same direction, but — with some delay. France, Italy and Greece have agreed to merge and create a single detector at all, but where it will be deployed common setting has not been decided — every country wants the site was chosen near its shores. Not resolved the issue of the financing of the project — European scientists have to wait until the Americans will begin to receive from his IceCube some really interesting data. This is the only valid argument that will convince EU officials and national governments to allocate 250 million euros — a sum estimated cost of creating a European counterpart IceCube.

Americans are already halfway to kubokilometrovomu superdetektoru: to date in Antarctica’s ice is frozen half of the "capacities". IceCube will be fully ready by 2011.

The fate of the Baikal detector — whether to create a prototype-based kubokilometrovuyu "trap" for the neutrino — is still to be determined. The price of "trap" is relatively small. According to estimates Gregory Domogatskii on the establishment of the Baikal detector with a sensitive volume of 1 km3, which can detect neutrinos with energies in excess of 1014 volts, you will need 25-30 million dollars. This amount — an order of magnitude smaller than the one requested by Americans and Europeans. And authoritative experts have confirmed to us that it is realistic.

Jean Dzhilkibaev, a leading researcher at the Laboratory of High Energy Neutrino Astrophysics INR, proposed a technique that allows scientists to calculate the interest to the characteristics of those neutrinos that "lit up" in the water far away from the detector — at a distance of 100-120 m from the optical modules. "Despite the fact that the geometric volume of our plant is 100 times smaller than the detector AMANDA, thanks to a new method turns out that the sensitive volume are almost equal" — explains the doctor of physical
and mathematical sciences Dzhilkibaev, podtseplen ticks for railway sleepers another hefty chunk of ice, swimming in the lane. He does it so deftly, as if all her life and those engaged: for this team of scientists to clean up in the morning three or four lanes that night sucked fresh ice, as well as usual, how to clean the teeth.

Thus, to reach the coveted cubic kilometers, Americans will have to stuff the Antarctic ice five thousand optical modules — our specialists will suffice 1.5 thousand If we translate this into money, it turns out that Americans spend on major appliances a detector $ 80 million, and we — only 20 million

But you can get the output for these relatively small amount of money — 25-30 million dollars? The answers to the eternal questions of the universe — the origin of black holes, dark matter, and so on., — No matter how spectacular they are, in our pragmatic age is of value only for the scientists but curious readers of popular science literature. The argument about the prestige of the country and the need to contribute to the world of science has long beaten and special drive in our area does not produce. However, this is not a complete list of all the "pros" and "cons". There are other factors to be taken into account when assessing the value of the Baikal project for the science and the country as a whole.

Accelerator for high-tech
Let’s start with the fact that a "purely scientific" Baikal project has given rise to the development of several promising areas of domestic high-tech industry. What are some just "Quasars," which are key parameters exceeded the recognized world leader in the development and production of PMT. On request INR "Quasars" Novosibirsk engineers have created a "Cathode" — a small, but very persistent and ambitious company. In the ’90s, "cathode" managed to single-handedly eliminate the twenty-year gap between Russia and the West in night vision technology — Novosibirsk created a fundamentally new technology for our production of electron-optical second-and third-generation (heart of night vision devices) and broke the world market this technology ( See "Out of pure stubbornness", "Expert» № 8 of 2004). Today the "cathode" is among the five leading firms able to develop and produce night vision equipment, buy his instruments, in particular, the army of the NATO countries. And this success story began Russia’s high-tech industry with "Quasar": in the electron-optical converters engineers "Cathode" used a number of breakthrough technical solutions born in the process of working on photomultiplier tubes for the Baikal project.

Another example of high-tech products, created specifically for the Baikal detector — standing upright geophysical cables that provide deep Energy equipment and the transfer of data from the recording modules for relaying equipment. Working conditions in the depths of Lake Baikal required the cable design precluded galvanic corrosion and water penetration to current-carrying veins at pressures above 100 atmospheres. "The water in the lake is fresh, but when working apparatus having the so-called stray currents, which are corrosive exterior, load-bearing metal cable armor — explains Andrew Robin, CEO of" Pskovgeokabel, "which scientists ordered the development of this important component of its installation. — In order to avoid contact of the metal with an aqueous medium, we have developed a technology that allows you to make super-tough polymer cable sheath, reinforced with steel wire. It turns out the cable with a shell of corrosion-resistant, durable stalepolimera. "

Russian industry is a totally new product, but "Pskovgeokabel," no one in this country can not do it. Modification of "Baikal" cable company supplies to oil and gas wells, as well as to the mines — it turned out that there is no alternative in the extraction of metals such as uranium, copper, molybdenum, where the method of leaching using corrosive acids.

Baikal detector is claimed and new information technologies. "In the last five years has been created and perfected a system of remote control subsea installation on the basis of standard network protocols on which the Internet works. It became possible to communicate with the telescope from Dubna, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, — says Vladimir Ainutdinov, senior researcher of the Laboratory for High Energy Neutrino Astrophysics INR. — And some experiments of our partners DESY run directly from Berlin. "

Running promising haytekovskogo development and formation on the basis of their new areas of technology (in the West, this effect is called the spin-off — «splitting") — this is something that is often overlooked in the analysis of the "economic impact" of fundamental research. "Basic science puts his experiments, usually on the edge of the possible. Therefore, on the basis of technologies that are being developed for these experiments, it can be set up high-tech products, including — with export potential, "- says Boris Saltykov, president of the Association" Russian House for International Scientific and Technological Cooperation. " The development of the Baikal project will mean that it will continue to generate demand for high technology.

Trap Frame
The second aspect that should be taken into account — employment. Baikal Neutrino Telescope is a large, successful and very ambitious project. That is, there is every indication that operated the Japanese physicist, Nobel Prize laureate Masatoshi Koshiba, when explaining to his government that, while in Japan will not be outstanding research projects world-class Japanese scientists will go to promote science and other countries. The Japanese government has a scientist heard, appeared in the country the world’s largest underground detectors Kamiokande and Super-Kamiokande neutrino detection for medium-energy (106 — 1011 eV).

For the Russian deficit technocratic personnel openly turns out "just the problem" a brake on the development of science and innovation sector. In this case we are talking about the brain, which are the carriers of our key competitive advantages — the creativity and engineering ingenuity. "In Forsyth (long-term prognosis of scientific and technological development of the country. -" Expert "), an acute shortage of talented and skilled scientists and engineers is one of the first places among the challenges that will face Russia in the next five to ten years — says Boris Saltykov. — A young after all are not so much money, how many unique designs of world-class, such as, for example, the Baikal neutrino telescope. "

Trap of the neutrino was working as a trap for training: every year the team comes a new graduate students, almost all of them stay and grow with the project. "In our lab, the average age of employees less than 40 years, many experts reject more lucrative offers, prefer to lose in salary to be able to work in the project. And every year they ask me the new students, "- the words of the doctor of physical and mathematical sciences Budneva Nicholas, head of the Laboratory of Physics of lepton Irkutsk State University, many of his colleagues at the workshop read with envy.

We have a role Koshiba, it seems, took the Academician Yevgeny Velikhov, president of RRC "Kurchatov Institute". Since last year, he is actively promoting a revolutionary for the Russian science approach to the organization and financing of basic research. This approach involves the launch of a major world-class programs that go beyond the Academy of Sciences — will be of inter-agency, and implemented by project basis. That such programs could really hold the brains, you must perform two more conditions. "In these programs on a competitive basi
s to be included are the strongest teams, regardless of their affiliation — explains Boris Saltykov. — These programs must also become international — young and talented scientists is important to be included in the world of science. "

In November last year, a new approach was discussed at a meeting of the Council for Science, Technology and Education under the Russian president. According to Yevgeny Velikhov few such programs (they are called mega-projects) have been formed, including — in "neutrino astrophysics." The last includes two experimental sites capable of conducting research on a global level — Baikal Neutrino Telescope and the Baksan Neutrino Observatory. For the implementation of each program proposed to allocate 5.6 billion rubles for 10-12 years.

It might seem that the United States with his IceCube already surpassed our scientists, however Baikal project still has a chance to retain the lead. The fact that the United States from the South Pole can track neutrinos come only from the northern part of the sky, and we — only from the southern part. Therefore, the two detectors, the U.S. and ours, do not compete, but complement each other. And here we were again lucky. "From the northern hemisphere, we can" see "the center of our galaxy — active living education, where it is constantly happening lot of interesting events. It is our great advantage to the South Pole this field is not visible, "- explains Gregory Domogatskii. Our competitors are the only Europeans, but they seem to give us a good head start on time: according to Christian Spiringen, kubokilometrovy detector in the Mediterranean Sea will be installed no earlier than 2016.

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