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3D Precision Mapping Enables Neutrino Beam

Project puts Exact Metrology and Fermilab on the 3D map

Published: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 16:48

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois, is the United States’ premier high-energy particle accelerator facility. Fermilab collaborates with scientists from around the world to perform pioneering research and operate particle accelerators, in addition to experimenting with and developing technologies for science in support of U.S. industry.

In 2014, Fermilab contracted Exact Metrology to work on a project known by its location as “Main Injector Ring Section MI-10.” Horst Friedsam, head of the Alignment and Metrology Department at Fermilab, led the week-long project with Exact Metrology, which involved 3D mapping of existing equipment to yield data to support the placement and installation of an additional beam transport line.

Exact Metrology performed the scanning in section 10 of the main injector accelerator, which is situated in a tunnel about 10 m below ground, with a circumference of approximately two miles. The main injector accelerates a proton particle beam, which arrives from the 8 Giga-electron-Volts (GeV) booster, to 120 GeV and subsequently blasts it into a stationary target to generate the world’s highest intensity neutrino beams.

Recently, Fermilab has been working on the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), a project meant to provide a neutrino beam to the Homestake Mine in South Dakota. This project features access to research facilities two miles below ground, which is ideal for neutrino experiments requiring shielding from cosmic ray events. To deliver a neutrino blast to the DUNE collector, a new beam transport line that fits within the existing beam line infrastructure was required.


Aerial view of DUNE site in North Dakota

Accomplishing this task required 3D point-cloud collection, full CAD modeling, and photo overlays of a large section of the currently installed main injector equipment. The data collected was crucial for the design of new beam elements and to visualize potential interference with existing components.

Fermilab’s Alignment and Metrology Department maintain a high-precision control network throughout the laboratory complex. For the scanning process, a Leica ScanStation P20 ultra-high-speed 3D scanner was used in conjunction with special laser scanner targets, modified to fit within the existing control network points. Exact Metrology’s Leica ScanStation P20 was chosen for its combination of high accuracy and low scan noise, plus its industry-leading environmental specifications. (Its IP-54 enclosure is ideal for harsh industrial environments.)

The software chosen to aid the process was Leica Cyclone, producing equipment modeling and TruView—a web-enabled panoramic point viewer allowing the user to view, pan, zoom, measure, and mark up point-cloud data over the web. Additionally, RSL300 laser scanner target markers from Berntsen International Inc. were mounted concentric to 1.5-in. radius steel half spheres interfacing with Exact Metrology’s laser tracker nests. The coordinates of the control network, determined at the millimeter level, were provided to Exact Metrology to globally register all scans relative to Fermilab’s system. Thus, the end product provides information for all scanned objects in the common coordinate system used for the entire Fermilab site.


Scanning instruments in place for on-site testing by Exact Metrology


Scan points called out on image produced by Exact Metrology equipment

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About The Authors

Steve Young’s picture

Steve Young

Steve Young, along with Dean Solberg, has co-owned Exact Metrology since 2000. The company sells high-end metrology equipment brands, as well as its testing services, from locations in Milwaukee and Cincinnati. Young is a mechanical engineering graduate from Purdue University. He spent six years at Honda before joining Exact Metrology in 1995.  

Dean Solberg’s picture

Dean Solberg

Dean  Solberg, along with Steve Young, has co-owned Exact Metrology since 2000. The company sells high-end metrology equipment brands, as well as its testing services, from locations in Milwaukee and Cincinnati. Solberg was the former sales manager at Yamazen, a distributor of Mitutoyo and Leitz coordinate measuring machines (CMMs). He attended Northern Illinois University.