The Helium and Lead Observatory (HALO) is a dedicated supernova neutrino detector that is presently under construction underground at SNOLAB in the Creighton Mine in Sudbury Ontario Canada. HALO is a long term, low cost, high livetime, and low maintenance, dedicated supernova detector.
A core-collapse supernova is powered by the energy liberated in the gravitational collapse of the core of a massive star. The core is transformed to a hot proto-neutron star that rapidly cools, by the emission of neutrinos, in some tens of seconds. In fact, about 99% of the energy is released in the form of ~ 10 MeV neutrinos. Direct measurement of the time evolution of the luminosity, flavour partition, and average neutrino energy are our best experimental window into the challenging field of supernova dynamics which would lead to an improved understanding of supernovae and of fundamental neutrino properties.
The HALO detector takes advantage of the low cost, high neutrino cross-section and low neutron absorption cross-section of lead. Neutrino interactions in lead expel neutrons from the lead nuclei making a burst of detected neutrons the signature for the detection of a supernova.
The concept for HALO is a volume of lead instrumented with neutron detectors. While other supernova detectors are primarily sensitive to electron antineutrinos HALO is sensitive to electron neutrinos through the charged current interaction and to all flavours through the neutral current interaction. These complementary sensitivities ensure that supernova data from HALO will be vital to unravelling the supernova neutrino signal and extracting physics from the next galactic supernova.
T.C. Shantz, Design and Construction of the Helium and Lead Observatory, M.Sc. Thesis, Laurentian University, 2010.
IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium, M. Schumaker, 11/2010, Knoxville TN, Contributed talk: "HALO: the Helium and Lead Observatory."
Canadian Association of Physicists Congress, T. C. Shantz, 06/2010, Toronto ON. Contributed talk: “Status of the Helium and Lead Observatory”
JIGSAW10 Workshop, S. Yen, 02/2010, Mumbai India, Invited talk: "Constraining Neutrino Mass Hierarchy and Theta13 with Supernova Neutrino Data."
JIGSAW10 Workshop, C.J.Virtue, 02/2010, Mumbai India, Invited talk: "Supernova Detection at SNOLAB."