Particle signatures in the ProtoDUNE liquid argon time projection chamber

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Physics


Neutrinos are very intriguing particles and have revealed unexpected properties. The discovery of neutrino oscillation, demonstrating that neutrinos have a non-zero mass, has challenged the well-established Standard Model of Particle Physics. Furthermore, neutrinos may hold the key to many other great question of physics such as why is the Universe dominated by matter (over anti-matter). This long-lasting important question of Physics could be answered if neutrinos and anti-neutrinos behave differently and this is the main goal of the next generation of neutrino experiments. The main project for the next generation of neutrino experiments is the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). This very-large scale experiment, neutrino detector of up to 40 kiloton of liquid argon, is currently being designed and optimised by the largest neutrino collaboration ever seen (over 800 people worldwide). DUNE will use a brand-new, much more powerful, neutrino beam from the Fermilab National Laboratory in the US and will send neutrinos 1300km away to four 10kt liquid argon detectors located deep underground in a mine in South Dakota. DUNE is an unprecedented experiment that will address several great questions of the field such as the imbalance between matter and anti-matter in the Universe, the ordering of the neutrino masses and information on potential underlying symmetries beyond the Standard Model. However, before we can build the unprecedentedly large-scale liquid argon detector for DUNE, some intermediate scale detectors have to demonstrate that it can be achieved and this is why the DUNE collaboration will construct a DUNE prototype (protoDUNE). The ProtoDUNE liquid argon time projection chamber will be constructed from 2017 to 2018 at CERN and will be located in a particle beam, offering a unique dataset to study the interactions of individual particles in liquid argon detectors. This project will allow the student to participate in the construction of the detector at CERN, as well as contribute to the data acquisition effort on-going in the Oxford neutrino group. In addition the student would help develop the reconstruction and analysis software for protoDUNE in the goal of performing the full data analysis with selected particles from beam and cosmic rays. In particular, the student would focus on electron reconstruction in liquid argon, complementary to other analyses in the Oxford group and of great relevance for DUNE. Indeed, the DUNE experiment will analyse, as its prime goal, electron neutrinos and the study of electrons in the detector will be crucial, to the success of the experiment. Since protoDUNE and DUNE are both part of the STFC Particle Physics strategic plan, this work is in perfect alignment with the UK priorities. In addition, liquid argon detectors are used in many different experiments (MicroBooNE, SBND, protoDUNE and DUNE) and many other fields of particle physics, such as Dark Matter searches and Neutrinoless double-beta decay experiments, use similar detector technologies. The skills that the student will learn will be directly transferable to these current and future projects. Finally, computing and hardware techniques developed for the project will also be highly relevant to the industries doing pattern recognition software development or medical instrument development.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/N504233/1 30/09/2015 30/03/2021
1793415 Studentship ST/N504233/1 30/09/2016 30/03/2020 Aidan Reynolds