Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)
Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)


Sudbury Neutrino Observatory neutrino detector

SNOLAB is an internationally-recognized research facility located outside Sudbury, ON in the Vale Creighton Mine. Housing the deepest clean laboratory in the world, this 5000m2 facility has three detector caverns and eleven experiments run by international research teams. The research conducted at SNOLAB focuses primarily on the search for dark matter and neutrino studies, but also conducts experiments in such diverse fields as subsurface microbiology, genomics, low background studies and geochemistry. The facility also houses other infrastructure to support its experiments, including HVAC, electrical power, ultrapure water, compressed air, radiological source control, radio-assay capability, chemistry lab, I.T. and networking, and materials handling and transportation. The laboratory is protected by 2km of granite rock that protects it from the high levels of cosmic radiation that exist at the Earth’s surface. The immense depth of SNOLAB means that the experiments taking place here experience 100 million times less cosmic radiation than they would at the surface.

SNOLAB began as a single experiment in the 1990s. A team of researchers wanted to build a detector that could see all three types (flavours) of neutrinos and answer whether or not neutrinos travelling from the sun were changing flavour when they reached Earth because they had mass. The groundbreaking results from the SNO experiment were published in 2001/2002, proving that solar neutrinos did possess mass. This discovery forever changed the field of particle physics, and earned Dr. Arthur McDonald of Queen’s University and Dr. Takaaki Kajita of the University of Tokyo the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics. The momentum built from this experiment, allowed for an expansion into a facility, now named SNOLAB, to
be a world leader in the field of particle astrophysics. A list of awards is available at:

Currently, the SNOLAB Institute is composed of five partner institutions: Carleton University, Laurentian University, Queen’s University, University of Alberta and Université de Montréal. The funds to support the construction and operations of this space have come from Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Innovation Trust, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, FEDNOR, the Ontario Research Fund’s Research Excellence Program, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Ministry of Research and Innovation. Dr. Nigel Smith, Director (Composed of five partner institutions; eleven experiments currently running.) Located 2km underground in the Vale Creighton Mine in Sudbury, ON

​Funded by CFI –
Major Awards:
 2016 Breakthrough Prize
 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics (Dr. Art McDonald and Dr. Takaaki Kajita)