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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY
Doing Business As Name:Syracuse University
PD/PI:
  • Denver W Whittington
  • (315) 443-2807
  • dwwhitti@syr.edu
Award Date:12/13/2019
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 548,797
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 104,286
  • FY 2020=$104,286
Start Date:01/01/2020
End Date:12/31/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.049
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:CAREER: Enhancing Future Liquid Argon Neutrino Experiments With Xenon
Federal Award ID Number:1945050
DUNS ID:002257350
Parent DUNS ID:002257350
Program:HEP-High Energy Physics
Program Officer:
  • James Shank
  • (703) 292-4516
  • jshank@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:OFFICE OF SPONSORED PROGRAMS
City:SYRACUSE
State:NY
ZIP:13244-1200
County:Syracuse
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:24

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Syracuse University
Street:211 Lyman Hall
City:Syracuse
State:NY
ZIP:13244-1270
County:Syracuse
Country:US
Cong. District:24

Abstract at Time of Award

The Standard Model of particle physics was a formative intellectual development of 20th century physics. While the discovery of the Higgs mechanism in 2012 was a crowning achievement for the Standard Model, many mysteries remain, including the role of the elusive neutrino. Neutrinos are elementary particles that rarely interact with ordinary matter. The Standard Model predicts three types of massless neutrinos. However, experimentally, we know that neutrinos do have very small masses, and yet they permeate the universe. Because they have mass, they can change from one type to another. Measuring properties of these changes, and comparing them to theoretical predictions, provides a promising pathway to discover how neutrinos shape our universe. To that end, the neutrino community is embarking on a challenging quest to complete the picture of neutrino physics through the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), which will be a massive, 40,000-ton instrument optimized to detect neutrino interactions about a mile underground at Sanford Lab in South Dakota. This facility, being built during the next 10 years, will observe interactions of neutrinos produced at Fermilab and traveling 800 miles to DUNE. Due to its large volume, the DUNE experiment offers a unique opportunity for a rich astroparticle and exotic physics search program, including observations of low-energy astrophysical neutrinos, e.g. from supernova core-collapse, thus lending itself to multi-messenger astrophysics, and searches for other rare processes, for example proton decay. If observed, these signatures would have profound implications for particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. The rarity of these signals requires continuous, high-resolution readout using electronic and optical techniques and processing of Time Projection Chamber (TPC) data from the entire DUNE detector. The emphasis of this CAREER award is to improve the light collection and optical triggering of DUNE by investigating the co-doping of the Liquid Argon TPCs with very-low concentrations of Xenon, whose introduction into the liquid has the potential to improve significantly the optical performance of the DUNE detectors beyond what is possible with Liquid Argon alone. Xenon’s desirable property of longer fluorescence wavelength combined with a significantly foreshortened time scale of scintillation light emission from the liquid medium holds promise to substantially improve the overall level and uniformity of light collection from the DUNE TPCs as well as reduce the effects of radiological backgrounds. The technique and its development are to be extensively investigated and assessed both in a compact laboratory test facility at Syracuse University as well as in the 700-ton Prototype Liquid Argon TPC at CERN called ProtoDUNE-SP. The results of these systematic studies will inform further DUNE program development and refinement, as well as provide input into simulations of expected performance improvements for the DUNE TPCs. The broader impacts of this program will leverage experience from the frontier particle physics experiment DUNE to provide educational opportunities at the high school level and inspire the next generation toward careers in scientific and technological fields. Activities will focus on developing a neutrino oscillation Masterclass program of lectures, novel hands-on demonstrations, and activities working with simulated neutrino interactions provided by the DUNE collaboration, with evaluation and feedback provided through the Syracuse University School of Education 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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