Boulby - ilias

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The Boulby Underground
Laboratory for Dark Matter Research
Boulby Mine
Surface Facilities
Many of the surface facilities required for
dark matter research at Boulby are supplied
by Cleveland Potash Ltd. This includes
emergency medical support and facilities,
chemical laboratory and clean room facilities
and surface transportation.
Lamps
Medical Centre
Boulby mine is a working potash mine situated
on the North East coast of England, a few miles
north of the town of Whitby in the North York
Moors. The mine is run by Cleveland Potash
Limited (CPL) and at between 850m & 1350m
deep it is the deepest mine in Great Britain.
Fork-Lift
Chemical lab
In 2000 Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF) funding was
secured to build a new purpose-built surface facility
at Boulby, Now complete, the ‘John Barton building’
provides space for storage and staging of
underground experiments, office and laboratory
space, computing and mechanical workshop
facilities and washing and cooking facilities for staff
and visitors.
Map of excavations
Peterl ee
Hartlepool
There is a huge underground network of
caverns and roadways at Boulby. Since mining
began at Boulby in 1968 over 1000 kms of
tunnels have been excavated and using
remotely controlled ‘heliminers’ around 50 kms
of new tunnels are cut each year. Excavations
currently stretch approximately 5kms south and
8 kms north - beyond the coast and under the
North Sea.
Billi ng ham
StocktonMiddlesbrough
Darlington
Edinburgh
New castle
Belf ast
Dublin
Liverpool
Birmingham
London
Plymouth
The John Barton surface
building
Staithes - near Boulby
Underground Facilities
Background Radiation
The underground research facilities have evolved since dark matter
studies began at Boulby. There are now 3 main research areas, each
approximately 1km from the mine shaft, giving a total floor area of
>1500m2. All of the laboratories have telephone and internet connection
to the outside world and all are fully stocked with the tools and
instrumentation required to run and maintain the experiments they house.
The ambient temperature in the mine is commonly 30˚C or higher - so air
conditioning is used to keep working temperatures to a tolerable working
level.
A deep underground site is essential for Dark Matter detection
experiments as the large amount of overhead material acts as a
shield to highly penetrating ‘cosmic ray’ particles which would
otherwise dominate and obscure results . At 1100m below ground
at Boulby mine the cosmic ray muon flux is a factor of ~106 times
smaller than at sea level - which ranks Boulby alongside just a
handle of world-class underground research sites around the
world.
10-1
Neutron Production (g-1s-1)
-9
Sudbury
Mont Blanc
Frejus
10-7
Gran Sasso
Soudan
Kamioka
Boulby
10-5
10
Dark Matter Studies at Boulby Mine
Muon Flux
Neutron Production
10-3
10-11
10-13
Geology
0
1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000
Depth (mwe)
The Boulby facility has the further advantage that the potash and
rock-salt layer in which caverns and roadways are excavated has
relatively low levels of Uranium & Thorium. These are commonly
occurring elements which result in the production of radioactive
radon gas and the emission of neutron and gamma background
radiation. The reduction or elimination of all sources of
background radiation is an important requirement in all dark
matter detection experiments.
Dark Matter
research areas
The UK Dark Matter Collaboration along with international collaborators are conducting a
range of experiments deep in Boulby mine to try to detect and identify the source of the
missing mass in the universe.
Underground
transportation
ZEPLIN
Three world renowned dark matter experiments
are currently underway at Boulby: NAIAD,
ZEPLIN and DRIFT. The approach of each
experiment is different but the aim is the same: to
verify or refute the existence of WIMPS (weakly
interacting massive particles) - the strongest and
most widely accepted dark matter candidate.
The new JIF area
Redcar
Newton Aycli ffe
Inverness
JIF Facility
NAIAD
ZEPLIN-MAX
DRIFT 1,10
Summary of Backgrounds
Boulby mine is a unique and challenging environment in which to carry out
sensitive dark matter experiments. Success requires careful planning,
design and teamwork. Since dark matter studies began in 1988 there have
been great changes in the working environment in Boulby. Now the facility
ranks amongst the best dark matter and underground science facilities in
the world.
ZEPLIN-II
ZEPLIN-III
DRIFT
All of the research areas consist of wooden framed structures
built within specially excavated caverns in the rock salt. The
largest and most recent area is the >1000m2 ‘JIF area’
supported by the Joint Infrastructure Fund. Recently completed
and waiting to be filled, the JIF area will house the next
generation of dark matter detectors planned by the UK Dark
Matter Collaboration.
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