The successful design, construction and operation of the KM3NeT detector requires the development of new solutions in several key technology areas. The KM3NeT needs have, in some cases, been the driving force behind industrial innovation, as in the case of better, lower cost photomultipliers. In other cases, KM3NeT has profited from existing solutions, usually by enlarging their scope, implementing at the same time, appropriate modifications and variations. Last, but not least, innovative solutions have been developed to address issues for which commercially available products did not exist.
For an adequate exposure and interaction of KM3NeT with the leaders of technological advancement worldwide a two-way flow of information, innovation and know-how between KM3NeT and the rest of the world were needed. In this respect, in the context of the KM3NeT-INFRADEV project, several communication methods were implemented: (i) continuous observation of technological advancement in the fields of interest of KM3NeT; (ii) presentation of technological solutions developed and adopted/modified by KM3NeT to the relevant industrial fora; and (iii) exploitation of KM3NeT developed solutions for specific problems, including environment related issues.
A panel were setup with the mandate to liaise with the various KM3NeT labs and working groups, gathering problems, requests and specific issues related to hardware, software and operational methodologies. Each member of the panel was responsible for specific technological areas of interest to KM3NeT, including deep sea technology and operations, low power electronics, communication technologies, optical measurements, computing and data sciences, etc. The panel, with the help of an external consultant, followed the technological advancements by observing relevant publications, exhibitions and announcements. In this way, a network of relevant interested parties among the industrial sector and KM3NeT was built, ensuring a sustainable flow of information from the technology advancement leader towards KM3NeT.
Sharing technology information
The information acquired with this procedure were made available and accessible to the whole Collaboration by storing it in the KM3NeT web portal. In addition, the panel observed the technology trends related to adopted technological solutions so as to identify possible incompatibilities of new developments with the chosen ones. In this way, corrective measures could be taken to avoid having obsolete technologies in hand.
Outreach material for industry
In the context of exposing KM3NeT to the outside world, material appropriate for technology/industrial exhibitions was developed. The promotional material presents the scientific goals, the technological challenges, the adopted solutions, the synergies with industry and other agencies, the prospects and the future of KM3NeT. Participation in these exhibitions resulted in an increased visibility of KM3NeT, and has helped establish it as a significant driver for technological advancement in key areas.
Business plan for a service on the measurement of water optical properties
Over the years, KM3NeT has developed several novel procedures and tools to perform specific tasks for which off-the-shelf solutions were not available. Some of them were then mature enough to be useful to institutions outside the Collaboration. One such example is the methodology and tools to measure the transmission properties of water. A custom-made device (LAMS) has been developed and used to measure the optical properties of water in the KM3NeT sites. Such a device could be useful to institutions or agencies interested in marine, environmental and oceanographic issues. Therefore, a product-service focused on the measurement of water optical properties on demand was designed for the existing measurement system, coupled with the data collection and analysis methodology and know-how provided by KM3NeT. This service, once ready to be deployed as requested anywhere in Europe, required a business plan and promotional material, that were prepared under the KM3NeT-INFRADEV project.
Another example of potential benefit for our experiment and the technology and scientific community was the development of the White Rabbit protocol and the technology associated. This was important in order to ensure the proper time calibration in large scientific infrastructures, such as KM3NeT, CERN, CTA, SKA and GSI, with high time accuracy – sub-nanosecond – needs. The implementation of new functionalities in this protocol, such as the broadcast configuration, or the improvement in the capabilities of the hardware, in particular the increase in the data transmission rate, participated in enlarging list of solutions for large infrastructures and reducing the costs.
Some details about innovation and technology transfer being confidential, not all deliverables were made public. However, public results of this work package, along with dissemination material, were published under the following deliverables and can be consulted in the Project outputs section:
- D9.1 – KM3NeT Technology Exhibition material
- D9.2 – KM3NeT Report on the Technology Panel Activities
- D9.4 – Report on the improvement of the WR Switch with increased transmission rate aimed at 10 Gbps
- D9.5 – Report on the Water Properties Measurement service
- D9.6 – Final Report on the Panel activities
- D9.7 – Report on the participation of KM3NeT in a Technology Exhibition
- D9.8 – Final Report on the Water Properties Measurement service
KM3NeT-INFRADEV was supported by the European Commission Framework Programme Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation action under grant agreement n. 739560.