02 Dec 2020



Dark Matter - R&D for next generation dark matter experiments at the Boulby Underground Laboratory


Co-supervisors: PPD - P. Scovell, University of Sheffield - Prof V. Kudryavtsev, Prof D. Tovey

The search for dark matter is one of the most important and prominent studies is particle and astroparticle physics today. After many years of technology development there are now a number of ultra-high sensitivity detectors operating in ultra-low background environments in world's few deep underground science laboratories, each attempting to make the first direct detection of dark matter particles. Whilst the current world-leading detectors are operating or about to start operations, considerations and preparations for the next generation, more sensitive, dark matter detectors are underway to confirm possible detection or expand into a range of untested theories.

This PhD project will undertake essential research to improve our understanding of limiting radioactive backgrounds for future next-generation dark matter detectors. It will also explore factors relevant to the location of a future detector, in particular whether the UK deep underground science facility at Boulby mine (Boulby Underground Laboratory of UKRI-STFC) in the North East coast of England can be used to host a next generation, large-scale world-leading dark matter detector.

The project will involve research work at both University of Sheffield and at the Boulby Underground Laboratory of the UKRI-STFC. Elements will include the development of essential simulations of background radiation for next generation detectors and methods for understanding and possibly extending the scientific reach of experiments with known backgrounds. The project will also involve measurements of radioactivity of material samples at the Boulby Underground Laboratory, with support of the laboratory team, and radon emanation from critical materials at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory of the UKRI-STFC.

The successful candidate will have a good knowledge of particle physics and excellent programming skills. Knowledge of nuclear physics and particle astrophysics is desirable. It is expected that the successful candidate will spend one year working with the staff at the Boulby Underground Laboratory.

Subject area: Particle physics; Particle astrophysics; Nuclear physics; Radiation

This project is funded by the UKRI-STFC. The scholarship covers student's stipend and fees at a level required from 'home' students. International students will need to have additional funding to cover full fees at the international level.

Contacts: Prof Vitaly Kudryavtsev (v.kudryavtsev@sheffield.ac.uk), Prof. Dan Tovey (d.r.tovey@sheffield.ac.uk), Dr Paul Scovell (paul.scovell@stfc.ac.uk)

Contact: Scovell, Paul (STFC,Boulby Mine,PPD)