The KATRIN experiment is currently set up and commissioned on the Campus North of the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology. The experiment is since 10 years a collaboration between national and international partners with currently more than 150 scientists, engineers, technicans and students.
KATRIN measures the neutrino mass in a model-independant way via ultrahigh precision measurements of the kinematics of electrons from beta-decay. To detect the subtle effects of a massive neutrino on the kinematics of the beta electrons requires on one hand the provision of a strong gaseous windowless Tritium source with well-known properties and precision control. On the other hand it requires a high resolution spectrometer (MAC-E filter) with large diameter (10 m) to analyze precisely the electron energies from the source. All major components are under construction or already in place and in the commissioning phase.
Like many ultra-precision experiments KATRIN pushes state of the art technologies to its borders. Its wide spectrum of involved physics and engineering, varying for example from molecular physics to nuclear physics, or from cryogenics over vacuum engineering to material science, makes the special touch and fascination of such an experiment.