Until recently, neutrinos were believed to be massless. Massless particles travel at the speed of light, and they do not change between the source and the detector. The discovery that neutrinos change flavors as they travel has fundamentally changed our understanding of these particles. The Double CHOOZ project aims to refine our knowledge of neutrino oscillations by observing neutrino fluxes at different distances from a nuclear power plant. The primary advantage of the site is that one of the neutrino detectors has already been built for a previous experiment.
My project this summer was a small part of this undertaking. Since environmental variables like temperatures, humidity, magnetic fields, etc., could affect the workings of the neutrino detector and its associated electronics, we need a way to monitor and record them. My mentor, Dr. Glenn Horton-Smith, has proposed using 1-Wire devices from Dallas Semiconductor for the job. These devices are inexpensive, and one can hook up many 1-Wire devices in parallel on just a power / data line and a ground line. (We are using separate circuits for ground and data to increase speed and reliability.)