The Centre for Particle Physics at Royal Holloway is offering a PhD opportunity to search for dark matter in the DarkSide-20k experiment.
The nature of dark matter is one of the fundamental questions about the universe today, at the forefront of physics research. Direct detection experiments seek to observe interactions of dark matter particles with atomic nuclei. Detector development in this area has pushed the technology of particle detection to low energies and very low background levels.
DarkSide-20k is an international collaboration engaged in a staged program to develop the next generation of liquid argon (LAr) detectors for low-background searches. DarkSide-20k is a 20 tonne detector to be housed at the LNGS laboratory, in Gran Sasso, Italy. The experiment is currently under construction with the plan for commissioning to begin in 2020 and the first physics run to start in 2021. DarkSide-20k will have an order of magnitude increase in the sensitivity over current results to dark matter particles with masses > 100 GeV/c2.
This studentship project is to work on development of the active veto detector sensors, electronics, data acquisition system and simulation. As experiments become more sensitive in search of dark matter, backgrounds need to be understood at levels never before achieved. To do so, world leading photosensor technology and readout are being developed that will allow the identification of signal and background events whilst also minimising their own radioactive footprint, a key requirement to minimise background events.
The PhD student will contribute to the efforts of the veto detector working group, characterising and calibrating the photosensor hardware, developing a veto detector simulation and building analysis tools to analyse veto data. The primary task will be to develop a dark matter search analysis with flexibility to search for signals including exotic dark matter candidates beyond the WIMP dark matter hypothesis.