The following photos show a place that you might think serves as a supervillain’s lair at first glance. As a matter of fact, there are no dark schemes being plotted here—only dark matter physics.
Unfortunately, unless you’re a particle physicist living and working in Canada, you wouldn’t normally have the chance to visit the world’s second-deepest underground lab facility, known as SNOLAB. But thankfully, a photographer recently documented the scene nearly a mile underground.
Here’s how the lab describes itself:
SNOLAB is a world-class science facility located deep underground in the operational Vale Creighton nickel mine, near Sudbury, Ontario in Canada. The combination of great depth and cleanliness that SNOLAB affords allows extremely rare interactions and weak processes to be studied. The science program at SNOLAB is currently focused on sub-atomic physics, largely neutrino and dark matter physics…
At 2km, SNOLAB is the deepest clean room facility in the world.
This is quite a humble introduction. The lab doesn’t mention the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics that was awarded to Takaaki Kajita and SNO’s own Arthur B. McDonald for discovering that neutrinos can change from one type to another. The lab also claimed the 2016 Breakthrough Prize for its neutrino discovery.
Regardless, SNOLAB has hardly settled. After the original Sudbury Neutrino Observatory experiment ended, the facilities were expanded into a permanent underground laboratory, featuring a class-2000 cleanroom, with very low levels of dust and background radiation. This makes the lab perfect for experiments requiring high sensitivities and extremely low counting rates and could one day help these real-life sci-fi heroes detect dark matter. It also looks pretty badass.
The SNOLAB Utility Area
Detector device for the HALO experiment
Installing the MiniCLEAN dark matter experiment
Installing the DEAP-3600 dark matter detector
The beautiful SNO+ chamber
Photo Credit: SNOLAB