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World-renowned laboratory receives critical funding

SNOLAB has received $22.5 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for the successful operation and maintenance of SNOLAB facilities.

“Canada has historically been a global leader in deep underground science, and these funds will allow us to capitalize on, and broaden, this historical position,” says Queen’s University professor Nigel Smith (Physics), Director, SNOLAB.

SNOLAB is a particle astrophysics laboratory located two kilometres below the earth’s surface in the Vale Creighton Mine in Sudbury, Ontario. International scientists regularly visit the leading-edge laboratory in search of dark matter left from the Big Bang in a bid to uncover the origins of the Universe.

 “Success in this recent competition is important recognition of the fundamental scientific work that is occurring at SNOLAB,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research).  “It clearly demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to developing and maintaining this world-leading research infrastructure.”

The SNOLAB facility is an expansion of the highly-successful Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) experiment. The facility is operated by the SNOLAB Institute whose member institutions are Queen’s University, Carleton University, Laurentian University, University of Alberta and Université de Montréal.

SNOLAB has greater depth and cleanliness than any other international laboratory, which limits local radioactivity. Consequently, of any lab in the world, it has the lowest background noise from cosmic rays making it possible to measure rare processes that would be otherwise unobservable.

A number of international collaborations will search for dark matter particles left from the Big Bang, and also for a rare radioactive process called “neutrino-less double beta decay” that could help explain the development of matter in the early universe.

The five-year funding is from CFI’s Major Science Initiative Fund.