XENON1T, located at Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, is a dark matter search experiment using 3.5 ton ultra-pure liquid xenon. It’s equipped with the cutting-edge two-phase xenon technology which has the capability to reject significantly the background while maintaining a large-mass target for dark matter detection. More than 13o physicists from 22 institutions around the world are currently working on XENON1T. The detector is the world’s largest dark matter detector, continuously taking dark matter search data now. The UCSD group is working on the calibration, data analysis and simulation for the experiment, and developing hardware components towards an upgrade called XENONnT.
The DARWIN Observatory is the next generation large liquid xenon (50 tonnes) experiment to probe WIMP-parameter space three orders of magnitude lower than the current experimental bounds. It will be a multi-purpose detector to also search for axions and axion-like particles, to observe neutrinos from the Sun and supernovae and to search for rare nuclear decay processes to measure the absolute mass of neutrinos. The experiment is currently in R&D phase towards a technical design, followed by the construction. The first physics runs will start in 2024 and will be operated for at least 10 years.
LBECA, stands for Low Background Electron Counting Apparatus, is an R&D project aiming to understand and reduce the few electron background in a dedicated two-phase xenon detector. The successful reduction of the few electron background will improve the detector’s sensitivity to light dark matter with mass below 1 GeV. Supported by Department of Energy, the current LBECA collaborators include researchers from Purdue University, Stony Brook University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and University of California San Diego.
SanDiX (San Diego Xenon Facility) is our local liquid xenon detector development facility. It serves as a platform to train undergraduate researchers and to perform R&D studies for the next generation experiments. Current active projects being conducted on SanDiX include investigation of light and electron emissions from different types of electrodes, development of a hermetically sealed liquid xenon time projection chamber, measurement of liquid xenon’s response to low energy beta decay and Compton-scattered electrons, etc..
- University of California San Diego
- National Science Foundation
- Department of Energy, Office of Science
- Abeloe Graduate Fellowship