Sanford Underground Research Facility, Lux Zeplin, Cleanroom & Laboratories, SD

Lead , South Dakota
Lux-Zeplin was a pure research project.  LEO A DALY worked with SURF and Lawrence Berkley Laboratories to provide lab space for a particle detector 1 mile underground. Many challenges were encountered while working on Nobel prize type work. Chemical quantities beyond any code recognized amounts, equipment that could not be insured – priceless, radon free air for a class 1000 cleanroom, etc. This project challenged the team.  Throughout the process the LEO A DALY team continued to find solutions to problems which had not be addressed before in science. LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), a second-generation dark matter experiment, is a collaboration between 220 scientists and engineers from 38 universities and institutions in the U.S., U.K., Portugal, Russia, and Korea. The level of coordination and flexibility required in a tight underground space, with parameters constantly evolving, and with extraordinarily stringent safety and cleanliness requirements, made this one of the most challenging and exciting projects LEO A DALY has successfully completed. To get LZ assembled, moved underground, and working, the team designed two highly specialized controlled environments – one above-ground for the unit’s assembly, and one below ground in a lab that ultimately houses the experiment. On the surface, the design includes a cleanroom that pressurizes, dehumidifies and cools air before sending it through activated charcoal, which removes radon. Below ground, the team designed renovations to an existing two-story lab space with the upper-level housing computer racks and control systems, and the lower-level housing the detector itself. Renovated clean rooms, radon-removal system, back-up power, xenon storage and a new hoist system are all part of the design supporting this groundbreaking experiment.


South Dakota Science & Technology Authority

At a glance

One-mile underground cleanroom 9,700 SF


Class 1000 cleanroom Deep earth physics laboratory Houses five operational LBCs Laboratory workflow planning, programming, & design


Architectural design

Laboratory Planning

Mechanical engineering

Electrical engineering

Plumbing engineering