Shallow Underground Laboratory
PNNL's Shallow Underground Laboratory houses some of the world's most sensitive radiation detection systems and supports ultra-low-background research and development for environmental, national security and fundamental physics. The facility contains research to support international treaty verification to prevent and counter of acts of terrorism as well as the search for dark matter in the universe.
The nearly 6,600-square-foot facility is among the most modern laboratory spaces in the Department of Energy complex dedicated to low-background detector system development and production. Through advances in materials storage, purity and fabrication, PNNL scientists build highly sensitive radiation detectors to meet international security and basic research challenges. Some of these detectors are used locally to analyze samples, while others are developed specifically for use at deeper underground locations. The Shallow Underground Laboratory is located 39 feet (12 meters) under grade level and has berm of 22.67 feet (6.9 meters) above grade, giving the laboratory a total overburden of more than 42.5 feet (12.9 meters). This depth shields against radioactive backgrounds induced by cosmic rays, the most difficult sources to shield against on the Earth's surface. A cleanroom air filtration system and positive pressure relative to the outside protects the facility from the radioactivity found in dust.
Electrochemical Purification Lab
PNNL scientists developed an electrochemical method for purifying copper, a key material that makes. . .
Assembly Lab for
After the ultra-pure copper is machined into the needed shape, it is taken to the Assembly Laboratory. . .
Ultra-Sensitive Measurements Lab
The Ultra-Sensitive Measurements Lab is the only room in the Shallow Underground Lab where measurements are made on samples. . .