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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of South Dakota Main Campus
  • Wenqin Xu
  • (605) 677-7221
Award Date:12/02/2019
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 207,462
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 207,462
  • FY 2020=$207,462
Start Date:12/01/2019
End Date:11/30/2021
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.083
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:RII Track-4: Operating High Purity Germanium Detectors in Liquid Scintillator
Federal Award ID Number:1929097
DUNS ID:929930808
Parent DUNS ID:929538999
Program:EPSCoR Research Infrastructure
Program Officer:
  • J.D. Swanson
  • (703) 292-2898

Awardee Location

Street:414 E CLARK ST
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Los Alamos National Laboratory
City:Los Alamos
County:Los Alamos
Cong. District:03

Abstract at Time of Award

Neutrinos are subatomic particles abundantly produced in Nature. It has been challenging to investigate the intrinsic properties of the ghostly neutrinos, because they can pass through instruments and materials with barely any interactions. Thanks to advancements of technology as well as long-term commitment of the science community, recent breakthroughs have revealed critical yet unexpected properties of neutrinos, such as the fact that neutrinos have non-zero masses. New knowledge on neutrinos can probe fundamental symmetries in Nature and could shed light on the key mystery of matter-over-antimatter excess in the universe. Extrasolar neutrinos are also one of the messengers carrying information about the universe that can lead us to a more complete picture of the universe. This proposal aims at developing techniques that could facilitate experiments to deepen our understanding of neutrinos, including probing the origin of non-zero neutrino masses. It will also advance the collaboration between the University of South Dakota (USD) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in new directions. The transformative new expertise gained by the USD group will enhance the group's research capability in Underground Science and Engineering, one of the high value research areas and assets aligned with target industry sectors for South Dakota. The PI at USD plans to visit LANL to develop active veto techniques employing liquid argon (LAr), intended for the proposed Large Enriched Germanium Experiment for Neutrinoless double-beta Decay (LEGEND) project. Both the home and host groups are LEGEND collaborators. The LEGEND collaboration aims to develop a phased, Ge-76 based neutrinoless double-beta decay (NLDBD) experimental program with discovery potential at a half-life beyond 10e28 years. LEGEND will operate up to one tonne of high-purity germanium detectors inside a large volume of LAr. The LAr shield serves as an active veto that is powerful in eliminating a wide range of backgrounds for NLDBD. Specifically, the PI and trainees will collaborate with LANL researchers to convert an existing cryostat at LANL into a LAr test stand with purification capability and light collection instrumentation. We will directly immerse and operate high-purity germanium detectors inside liquid argon. Through this collaborative research between USD and LANL, we can evaluate the overall performance of the integrated system and improve our understanding of the background rejection performance of a LAr active veto. In addition to advancing the preparation for the LEGEND project, this Research Fellowship will arm the PI with expertise on liquid scintillator technologies and enable the PI to sustain his career in experimental neutrino physics in the long-term. A combination of hardware infrastructure and technical expertise at LANL is essential to carry out the proposed activities. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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