Highlights Archive

Search our archive of all current and past department highlights. The most recent highlights appear first.

Displaying 1-10 of 16 department highlights.
UMass graduation 2018

Graduation 2020

The virtual UMass commencement takes place Friday May 8 at 4:30 pm at https://www.umass.edu/umass2020 with a 20-minute streaming video celebration. Graduates in the College of Natural Sciences can also share videos and images at https://www.cns.umass.edu/news-events/senior-celebration. Instructors in the Physics Department have posted their own personal best wishes at https://www.physics.umass.edu/undergraduate/graduation2020. Please stop by to let us congratulate you.


One half of the EXO-200 inner detector during construction in 2009. Most elements of the time projection chamber (TPC) are visible, including a tensioned central cathode mesh, electric field shaping ring electrodes, and PTFE light reflectors.

Credit: The EXO-200 Collaboration



The EXO-200 experiment searches for neutrinoless double-beta decay in Xenon. If neutrinoless double beta decay were observed, it would prove the existence of "Majorana" neutrinos, particles which are their own antiparticles. The inner detector shown here is being deployed inside its cryostat at an underground site in New Mexico in 2010.

Credit: The EXO-200 Collaboration


View of one of the APD planes of the EXO-200 detector as it was being assembled in 2008. More than 250 silicon avalanche photodiodes are housed in a copper platter and thin cables, kept in place with spring-loaded contacts, fan out the signals. No solder joints nor connectors are used in the entire EXO-200 inner detector.

Credit: The EXO-200 Collaboration


The Borexino thin nylon spherical "inner vessel" (8.5 meters diameter) is surrounded by a second nylon vessel and by ~2,000 photomultiplier tubes. A second, concentrical nylon vessel (11.5 meters diameter) prevents radioactive contamination from reaching the innermost volume of the detector.  Both nylon membranes are 125 micron thick, were assembled as a nested package in a radon-suppressed clean room, and installed inside the detector in 2004.  The nylon vessels are restrained with ultra-high molecular polyethylene ropes.  The water was later displaced by the organic liquid scintillator, a benzene-like transparent liquid that produces flashes of light when neutrinos (and other ionising radiation) interacts with its electrons and nuclei.

Credit: Borexino Collaboration


Inside view of the Borexino stainless steel sphere, prior to nylon vessel installation and fluid filling. The sphere is 13.7 meters in diameter; the picture was taken from the bottom looking upwards.  There are 2212 installed photomultipliers (PMTs) to detect light from neutrino interactions, most of which equipped with aluminium light concentrators to focus their view on the central volume of the detector. The central flange is where the nylon vessels and fluid piping was anchored. Nylon vessel installation was in 2004, final fluid filling in 2007.

Credit: Borexino Collaboration


Inside view of the Borexino stainless steel sphere before nylon vessel installation and fluid filling. The sphere is 13.7 meters in diameter. The curvature and the tightly packed photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) can be seen.  There are 2212 installed PMTs, most of which equipped with aluminium light concentrators to focus their view on the central volume of the detector.  Optical fibers used for PMT timing calibration can be seen.  Nylon vessel installation was in 2004, final fluid filling in 2007.

Credit: Borexino Collaboration


Borexino Solar Neutrino Detector

The Borexino prototype detector (CTF) shown here, a 4-ton spherical scintillator target surrounded by ultra-pure water and 100 photomultiplier tubes, operated between 1994 and 2003. The tubes detect flashes of light from ionizing radiation (including neutrinos) occurring in the scintillating volume. A thin nylon "shroud" prevents radioactive contamination from entering the center-most volume of the detector. The main Borexino experiment has been taking data since 2007.

Credit: Borexino Collaboration

Atlas Installation

Atlas Installation

A view of the ATLAS detector endcap region, during installation.  The disk-shaped structure on the left is a layer of muon detectors dubbed the “big wheel.”  In the middle, in light gray, is the endcap toroid.  The structure to the right is the inner detector.

Atlas cutaway

A Slice of Atlas Detector

A cut-away view of the ATLAS detector.  The magnetic toroid for the muon system, which is a focus of the UMass Atlas team, is displayed in gray.