Media

Background

SNOLAB is Canada's leading astroparticle physics research facility located 2 km underground in the Vale Creighton Mine. The project began in 1990 as the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO), designed to solve the Solar Neutrino Problem (the number of solar neutrinos observed was between one third and one half of what theory predicted). In a series of measurements published between 2001 and 2006, SNO conclusively proved that the solar neutrino deficit was caused by neutrinos changing "flavour" from the type produced by the Sun (electron neutrinos) to other types (predominantly muon neutrinos). With the successful completion of its experimental program, the SNO experiment ended data taking in 2006 and decommissioned in 2007. The enormous success of the SNO experiment proved the value of deep underground physics laboratories and the SNO measurement has led to more questions about the nature of neutrinos and the composition of the Universe that can only be answered in experiments sited underground.

In 2002, six Canadian universities (five of which were part of the SNO collaboration) put forward a proposal to the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for the creation of a new international facility dubbed SNOLAB. As an expansion of the existing SNO underground facility, which had space for only one experiment, SNOLAB would be able to house several experiments simultaneously. In June 2002, CFI announced funding for SNOLAB, with additional funds coming from the province of Ontario. SNOLAB is approximately three times larger than the original SNO facility and was designed to host the next generation of astroparticle physics experiments. These new experiments explore the properties of neutrinos, expand our understanding of the Sun's energy production, and search for Dark Matter - the so called "missing mass" in the Universe. The construction for SNOLAB began in 2004. Surface buildings were completed in 2005, underground construction finished in 2011, and SNOLAB officially opened in May 2012. 

The construction of the surface facilities and underground laboratories of SNOLAB was funded by the International Joint Venture program of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) , the Ontario Innovation trust, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund corporation, and FEDNOR. Operating costs have been supported by the Ontario Research Fund’s Research Excellence Program, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), CFI and member institutions. The City of Sudbury continues to support local conferences and SNOLAB outreach initiatives.

SNOLAB is an excellent example of the benefits of university co-operation. The project was jointly proposed by Carleton University, Laurentian University, Queen’s University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Guelph and the Université de Montréal. The current trust agreement includes Carleton University, Laurentian University, Queen’s University, Université de Montréal and University of Alberta. 

Experiments

Media Tours

Media tours of SNOLAB can be arranged. Please contact :

Samantha Kuula
Communications Officer
705-692-7000 x 2222
Samantha.Kuula@snolab.ca
 

Film crews should be aware that there are restrictions on filming at the site:

Wireless equipment is in general not permitted underground due to possible interference with mining activities. This includes wireless microphones typically used with video recording equipment and cell phones. Any wireless equipment must be tested prior to its use. Testing must be arranged in advance. It is strongly recommend that wireless microphones not be used.

Filming in the Vale areas must be approved in advance. Please indicate if such filming is desired and SNOLAB will assist with the approval. As well, contact lenses are not permitted underground. If corrective lenses are required, please wear glasses.