Despite the huge challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, SuperNEMO collaborators have been putting in huge efforts to get the SuperNEMO Demonstrator up and running at the LSM. It was a real joy to see a great result - our very first double-beta-decay candidate detected!

Our first double-beta-decay candidate

The event display above shows the tracks created when two electrons pass through our detector, generating signals in some of our 2034 tracker cells (the small red circles in the image). The larger red boxes indicate where our optical modules detected the electrons and measured their energy.

The signature seen here is typical of a double-beta decay from our source foil, located in the image in the horizontal gap between the two half-trackers. Seeing a double-beta event is a real test of all the parts of the Demonstrator Module: the source foil (producing the decays we need to study); the tracker (tracking the electrons’ path); calorimeters (detecting and measuring the energy of the electrons) and the data-acquisition and trigger electronics (recording these signals, and linking the tracker signals to the appropriate signals from the calorimeters). It is a testament to the hard work of many diverse collaborators over many years, and we are all very proud and thankful to everyone who has contributed.

There is still plenty of work to do, but this event shows that the SuperNEMO concept is working, and we are well on the way to a fully-functioning detector, and all the exciting physics that will open up. The coming months will be filled with commissioning and analysis work, and we can’t wait to get on with it! What a time to be working on SuperNEMO!

Congratulations, everyone!