Congratulations to Dr. David Woodward in being elected the new Analysis Coordinator for the LUX Dark Matter Experiment!
LUX has completed its science run and was disassembled in 2017. Although its primary mission has been completed (by setting world-leading constraints on Dark Matter cross-section at the time), it has left a rich dataset still being actively mined for new physics.
With the end of operations, the Analysis Coordinator is one of the most important roles in the experiment, as the experiment is now entirely focused on analysis. Starting on May 2018, he will responsible for leading all analysis efforts, including the organization of meetings, assignment and management of analysis tasks, hosting analysis workshops, reporting results to the collaboration, leading the writing and publication of papers, and ensuring the achievement of the collaboration’s scientific goals!
Drs. Tim Wendler and David Woodward from our group at Penn State went to the American Physical Society (APS) April Meeting in Columbus, Ohio, to talk about Project 8 and LUX/LZ!
Tim gave a concise introduction of the Project 8 Neutrino Mass Measurement Experiment, and an overview of the work he has been doing in developing the next phase of the experiment, in which we increase the detector size by orders of magnitude, in order to demonstrate that our experiment works in large scales and can achieve the necessary the stats to measure the neutrino mass. His work focus on the central question for determining the future of Project 8: can we detect the radiation emitted by a single electron in a large volume? He has been running simulations of the electron fields, antenna array designs and electronics to answer that!
David presented a talk in the APS mini-symposium on “Low Radioactivity Background Techniques in Underground Experiments”. He gave an overview of the external backgrounds found in the Davis Laboratory at SURF (Sanford Underground Research Facility), home of the LUX and LZ dark matter experiments. His talk focused on the muon-induced neutron backgrounds, which feature a model of the Earth surface above the underground lab (rather than a flat surface approximation), leading to unprecedented detailed simulations of the muon flux; and on gammas emitted by the surrounding cavern walls. For this latter one, the excellent shielding the detector has (a 300-tonnes water tank!) actually presents a problem in determining the expected background in the detector – we get too few interactions to actually build a model! To solve this, he created a new technique of calculating the flux in increasingly smaller concentric shells, then starting a new simulations with the flux at each of these shells, thus amplifying the number of particles reaching the detector, and thus obtaining a good model of the gamma background in the detector! His results show that these external background are sub-dominant by orders of magnitude and will not hinder the search for dark matter!
Penn State’s Dr. Tim Wendler is at the Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) this week, attending the Collaboration Meeting of Project 8, a experiment that aims to measure the neutrino mass using novel cyclotron radiation detection techniques. He is working with our colleagues in Project 8 in understanding our detector and data, and planning the next stages of the experiment!
Our group has been assigned two labs at Penn State, and the second one is finally ready! Right across our first lab in Davey 012, the new lab in Davey 019 has a much larger footprint (>90 m²), and features a cleanroom (~15 m², with fume hood), 1-tonne crane, and a pit for deploying a cryostat cooled with a thermosyphon cryogenic system. The first lab will be dedicated to the development of electronics and the Project 8 neutrino mass experiment, while the second lab will be dedicated to cryogenics and other hardware for the LZ dark matter detection experiment.
Dr. David Woodward has joined the Dark Matter and Neutrino Mass group at Penn State on December 1st, 2017. David was already a member of the LUX/LZ collaboration, working on his Ph.D. at the University of Sheffield in the Vitaly Kudryavtsev group. He has been working mainly in backgrounds simulations and data analysis code development, and his Ph.D. thesis title is “Simulations of cosmic muons and background radiations for muon tomography and underground experiments”. David will continue working on the LUX and LZ dark matter experiments here at Penn State, and will lead the design, construction and operation of test systems for the commissioning of LZ. Welcome to Penn State, David!
Today was the last day of the Project 8 Collaboration Meeting and Workshop, hosted by Prof. Luiz de Viveiros at Penn State. The collaboration meeting brought >20 physicists from several institutions in the Project 8 collaboration for a week-long event here at Penn State, in which we discussed the status of the experiment and plans for the future. We hope that all our guests enjoyed their time at Penn State!
The LUX/LZ and LIGO groups at Penn State team up to celebrate Dark Matter Day! Physics students and postdocs host an information booth to explore the science of dark matter and the experiments looking for it!
DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK! darkmatterday.com
(Thank you to Emily Grace, Ryan Magee, Jacob McLaughlin, Nick Fassino and Corey Herr for preparing the booth and teaching the students about dark matter!)
We will be hosting a small Dark Matter Day event at the HUB on October 31st, 2017! We will have an information booth at the lobby, to explore the science of dark matter and the experiments looking for it!
We will be hosting the Fall 2017 Collaboration Meeting for the Project 8 Experiment here at Penn State! The meeting will take place on October 30th – November 1st, followed by an analysis workshop on November 2nd-3rd.
Prof. Luiz de Viveiros is out on Fermilab for the LZ Technical Collaboration Meeting! The meeting is focused on technical reviews of the various subsystems for the LZ Dark Matter experiment, to make sure everything is on track for an early 2020 start date!