PhD project: Direct detection of Dark Matter

Project description

Astronomical evidence strongly suggests that the baryonic matter (the neutrons, protons, electrons etc. of everyday material) contribute only about 5% of the mass of the Universe. The rest is composed of dark energy and dark matter. Direct detection of dark matter would allow this view to be confirmed, and provide a route to new fundamental particle physics. LUX-ZEPLIN, based at the Homestake Mine in South Dakota, is set to become the world's leading project in this highly exciting area. The group has responsibility for several aspects of research, principally including searches for axions, axion-like particles, hidden photons and mirror dark matter. We are also involved with operations, simulations and other support activities. With a view to the next generation of direct dark matter search instruments, we are looking at ways to increase their sensitivity by removing unwanted sources of background radiation, and in particular radon. We manage an XIA UltraLo (tm) installed within the Boulby Underground Laboratory in the north east of England, one of the most sensitive detectors for assessing the presence of radon and its decay products on material surfaces. 

Our group is also a member of the DarkSide-20k experiment which is being constructed at the Laboratori Nazionali di Gran Sasso, near L'Aquila in Italy. DarkSide will employ liquid argon as the target medium and our group is primarily interested in searching for  Dark Matter and using the experiment to search for neutrinos. We are also part of the UK project producing SiPMs for the outer liquid argon veto detector.

We are also highly active in public engagement, using the exciting environment and science themes afforded by Boulby mine and dark matter as an inspiration for influencing children towards STEM careers. We lead the STFC Spark award Remote Sensing in Remote Environments by Remote Schools project ( as well as a number of other activities. 

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