Investigations of the Migdal effect in elements relevant to dark matter searches using the MIGDAL experiment at the NILE/ISIS facility at RAL
28 Nov 2023







Supervisors: Dr. Pawel Majewski (RAL/PPD) + Prof. ​Henrique Araujo (Imperial College London)​​

The MIGDAL collaboration was established in 2019 and consists of over 35 physicists and engineers across 14 institutions in the UK, Finland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the USA.  It aims to detect the Migdal effect unambiguously under the most favourable conditions. The prediction of this effect dates to the work in 1939 by a Russian physicist, A. Migdal. He noticed that quantum mechanics predicts that if a particle gives a sudden jolt to the nucleus of an atom, there is a small probability that the atom will emit a high-energy electron. Although this happens only rarely, many of the most sensitive dark matter detectors find it easier to detect electrons rather than a recoiling atomic nucleus, so the Migdal effect helps in the search for dark matter particles with a mass between the electron and proton masses, which are predicted by many particle-physics theories of dark matter.

The experiment aims to observe and then characterise the atomic Migdal effect using an Optical Time Projection Chamber operating with low-pressure CF4 gas mixed with noble gases and other elements relevant to dark matter searches. MIGDAL's first successful science run with a high-yield DD neutron generator was performed in the summer of 2023.​

The successful PhD student will be participating in the running of the MIGDAL experiment hosted at the ISIS Neutron & Muon Source at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and analysing the data potentially leading to the first observations of the Migdal effect in new elements relevant to dark matter searches.

You can find out more information on how to apply​ here.

For more details, contact Pawel Majewski ( ​) or Henrique Araujo (

Contact: Tomalin, Ian (STFC,RAL,PPD)