Studentship for SuperNEMO design study

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


Neutrinos are one of the fundamental particles that make up the universe and they are one of the least understood. They are similar in some ways to electrons but they don't have any electric charge. It was recently found that neutrinos are not massless but have a very small mass. Super-NEMO is one of several planned future experiments to investigate the nature of the neutrino and in particular whether a neutrino is the same as its antiparticle or not.


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Argyriades J (2011) Spectral modeling of scintillator for the NEMO-3 and SuperNEMO detectors in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment

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Argyriades J (2010) Results of the BiPo-1 prototype for radiopurity measurements for the SuperNEMO double beta decay source foils in Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment

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Arnold R (2010) Probing new physics models of neutrinoless double beta decay with SuperNEMO in The European Physical Journal C

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Saakyan R (2013) Two-Neutrino Double-Beta Decay in Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science

Description The most accurate measurement to date of the two-neutrino (2v) double beta decay (DBD) half-life for the isotope of Zr96 was made.
The most stringent limit on the neutrinoless DBD (NDBD) half-life of Zr96 was obtained.
These measurements are important to understand the fundamental properties of neutrinos and the structure of the matter in the universe.
A calorimeter detector was developed for the SuperNEMO DBD experiment with an unprecedented energy resolution. In addition, this detector can now be used outside academia in cancer treatment for quality assurance of proton therapy beams.
Exploitation Route The measurements of Zr96 DBD can be used to inform future DBD experiments using this isotope. As only one of 3 isotopes with a transition energy well above 3 MeV it remains one of the most promising candidates. Precision measurements of the 2v DBD half-life help constrain nuclear models which are needed to extract new physics from NDBD measurements.

Achieving the challenging goals of the calorimeter RnD allowed us to proceed with SuperNEMO, which is now one of the flagship DBD projects.
In addition, the calorimeter inspired the current development of a QA tool for proton cancer therapy.
Sectors Healthcare,Other

Description One of the key outcomes of this award was a development of a high energy resolution, fast calorimeter for the SuperNEMO experiment. The student was in a fact a key developer. This technology is now being used to develop a detector for daily quality assurance of clinical proton beams which are used to treat cancer.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Healthcare
Impact Types Societal,Economic

Description ELJEN 
Organisation Eljen Corporation
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Providing a test bench for scintillator samples manufactured by ELJEN
Collaborator Contribution Manufacturing scinitillator samples of required shapes and composition.
Impact Calorimeter on R&D resulted in SuperNEMO experiment being approved as one of the flagship neutrinoless double beta decay experiments worldwide. Technology developed for SuperNEMO calorimeter can be deployed in proton cancer therapy for quality assurance purposes and potentially in proton CT.
Start Year 2008
Description ENVINET 
Organisation Novalia
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Measurements of energy and time resolution of scintillator samples with different chemical compositions and polymerisation regimes.
Collaborator Contribution Development and manufacturing scintillator samples with different chemical compositions and polymerisation regimes.
Impact Meeting the challenging goal of SuperNEMO calorimeter performance Technology transfer to proton cancer therapy underway
Start Year 2008
Description Hamamatsu 
Organisation PMT Hamamatsu Photonics K.K.
Country Japan 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We carried out a comprehensive characterisation of 8" PMTs and provided the feedback which resulted in significant improvement of the performance of these PMTs
Collaborator Contribution Hamamatsu produced an 8" PMT with unprecedented energy and time resolution characteristics
Impact A new type of an 8" PMT has been developed which offers superior energy and time resolution characteristics. With improved performance it will now find its use in many other cutting edge physics experiments: especially in neutrino physics and applications where a good resolution or a low light level detection is necessary.
Start Year 2006