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Educator Resource: Field Trip

Needle in a Haystack

Do you have what it takes to detect an ultra-rare signal? Discover how scientists are utilizing background reduction and background rejection in their quest to detect neutrinoless double beta decay.
Level
High School
Time required
~1 hour

What does it take to detect a radioactive decay event with a half-life greater than 1.3x1021 years? Find out with this engineering design challenge based on the Majorana Demonstrator housed a mile below the surface of the earth at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. Once the full-scale experiment is deployed, background signals are expected to be as low as 1 count/tonne-year.