Supervisors: John Lipp (RAL) + Jocelyn Monroe (Oxford University)
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. The 50 tonne DarkSide-20k detector is under construction at the LNGS laboratory, in Gran Sasso, Italy, and will reach more than an order of magnitude increase in the sensitivity over current searches for dark matter particles with masses at the TeV scale. As experiments become increasingly sensitive in search of dark matter, ultra-low backgrounds are required, at levels never before achieved. DarkSide-20k has developed novel silicon photosensor technology and readout that will allow the identification of signal and background events whilst also minimising their own radioactive footprint, a key requirement to minimise backgrounds to the dark matter search.
This studentship project is to work on development of the silicon photosensors used in the dark matter search, including testing, installation, data acquisition, simulation and data analysis. The DarkSide-UK groups are building 25% of the photosensors for DarkSide-20k, and the PhD student will contribute to characterising and calibrating the photosensor hardware, and developing analysis tools to search for dark matter interaction signatures in DarkSide-20k data. The project will explore signatures of dark matter interactions in the silicon of the sensor system, with the goal of developing a dark matter search analysis with flexibility to search for signals including exotic dark matter candidates beyond the WIMP dark matter hypothesis.
For more details please contact John Lipp (John.Lipp@stfc.ac.uk)