The Center for Particle Physics at Royal Holloway is offering a PhD opportunity on the LZ experiment for direct detection of dark matter. The nature of dark matter is one of the most fundamental open questions in physics, and the LZ experiment is at the forefront of technology designed to pursue this question. The experiment will instrument 7 tonnes of liquid xenon, with the ability to measure particle interactions of <2 keV, in a detector with extremely low rates of radioactive backgrounds. This enables the experiment to measure dark matter interaction cross sections with two orders of magnitude increase in sensitivity over current experiments for dark matter particle masses below the TeV scale.
The success of the LZ experiment depends on a careful understanding of the response of the detector. The PhD student project is to work on simulating, building, and operating the radioactive source calibration system for the detector; preparing a calibration program for the sources; and analyzing calibration data to monitor the detector’s resolution and ability to exclude backgrounds that may decrease the dark matter measurement sensitivity. These activities will build a broad range of skills, including advanced simulation techniques, operation and automation of hardware, statistical data analysis, and presentation of results.