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|Project Organization: Secondary Beam WG, Project Team, Technical WG, Commissioning WG|
The CNGS (CERN Neutrinos to Gran Sasso) project aims at investigating the 'oscillation' of neutrinos. The project is motivated by the results obtained at the Superkamiokande detector in Japan and supported by other experiments, observing neutrinos produced by cosmic rays in the atmosphere. These experiments measure a significant deficit in the flux of deteced muon-type neutrinos.
The features of this 'anomaly' could be explained by the hypothesis of neutrino oscillation, i.e. the conversion of a given neutrino type into another during their travel from the source to the detector (for example, muon-type to tau-type neutrino oscillation). The CNGS facility aims at directly detecting such neutrino oscillations and confirming this fascinating hypothesis with artificially produced neutrinos from an accelerator.
A beam produced at the CERN SPS accelerator will consist of only muon-type neutrinos. Neutrinos interact very rarely with matter, and these particles can therefore pass undisturbed underground to their destination, the Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS) of the INFN in Italy, 730 km from CERN. This laboratory located 120 km to the east of Rome, exists since 1987 and many experiments have been conducted there by international collaborations. LNGS is currently preparing to house huge detectors specially designed to detect the rare tau-neutrinos created by "oscillation" from muon-neutrinos on the way between CERN and LNGS.
The CNGS project's mandate is the construction of the new neutrino beam facility at CERN, not including the work needed for the detectors at LNGS. CNGS has been approved by the CERN Council at its December 1999 meeting. Construction started in September 2000, and first beam is expected in May 2006.