The standard model of particle physics accommodates three active flavours of neutrino, which interact with matter via the weak nuclear force. In recent years, a number of experimental observations have hinted at a new type of sterile neutrino, beyond the current standard model. If confirmed, this would be a major discovery and would fundamentally alter our understanding of neutrino physics.
The short-baseline neutrino programme, currently under construction at the Fermi Laboratory in the USA, will conduct a multi-detector search for sterile neutrinos using an accelerator neutrino beam and three large Liquid Argon Time Projection Chambers: SBND, MicroBooNE and ICARUS. The MicroBooNE experiment is already taking data at Fermilab, while SBND and ICARUS will begin operating in the coming year. The use of LAr-TPC detector technology offers the ability to measure neutrino interactions with exquisite spatial and calorimetric resolution, ideal for precision studies of neutrino physics. The Lancaster neutrino group is working on event reconstruction and data analysis for the short-baseline neutrino programme, with a focus on advanced pattern recognition algorithms to fully exploit the high-resolution imaging capabilities of LAr-TPC detectors. The group has also collaborated on the first neutrino physics results from MicroBooNE, and the construction of hardware components for SBND.
The goal of this project is to search for evidence of sterile neutrinos at the Fermilab short-baseline programme. The student will work on the reconstruction and analysis of the data, and will also collaborate on the installation and commissioning of the SBND detector as it comes online. The project offers an excellent opportunity to experience all aspects of a particle physics experiment from detector commissioning through to physics analysis. The student would also have the chance to spend a significant period of time working onsite at the Fermi Laboratory.
Applicants are expected to have the equivalent of a first (1) or upper second (2.1) degree class in Physics or Astrophysics.
The Physics Department is holder of Athena SWAN Silver award and JUNO Championship status and is strongly committed to fostering diversity within its community as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our department.
Closing Date We accept applications at any time, but for full consideration for funding, you should apply by 31st January 2020. Tentative interview dates: 19th and 20th February 2020
Funding for this project is available to citizens of the UK/EU (Residency restrictions apply). Applications from non-EU citizens will be considered, provided the applicant has access to an alternative source of funding.