Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory (SUPL)
The Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory (SUPL) will be the first underground physics laboratory in the Southern Hemisphere. It will be constructed 1,025m vertically deep in the unique underground environment of the operating Stawell Gold Mine.
The primary experiment planned for SUPL, the SABRE (Sodium-iodide with Active Background REjection) detector, will make a significant contribution to the international efforts to detect dark matter, one of the key mysteries of modern physics and astronomy.
SUPL has gained considerable interest from universities and scientific organisations within Australia and internationally.
The SUPL facility is poised to join an international network of over fifteen underground physics laboratories, all constructed to allow very sensitive experiments, such as the search for dark matter, to be shielded from cosmic and other radiation. Importantly, SUPL will be the first such laboratory in the Southern Hemisphere, which is a key advantage for astronomical experiments.
The goal of the SUPL project is to produce a national ultra-low radiation background facility which can be configured to host a wide range of physics and biology experiments over a lifetime well in excess of the present five year operating plan.
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has emerged as a key partner. Discussions are continuing regarding the incorporation of ANSTO experiments and ongoing involvement in SUPL.
Physical works commenced in April 2016 with the drilling of a 50m long core at the site of SUPL. The laboratory is scheduled to be constructed in 2017.