Department of Physics
Disque Hall - Room 816
3141 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2875
The Department of Physics at Drexel is a close-knit, supportive community. Students have the opportunity to work side-by-side with their professors, and even to get published as an undergraduate.
The Joseph R. Lynch Observatory houses the largest telescope in Philadelphia. And it's just one of the many research facilities and laboratories available to Drexel physics students.
Virtually every course integrates classroom theory with hands-on computer simulations and technology. This approach gives the students ability to solve real-world problems using state-of-the-art techniques.
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Monday, March 10, 2014
2:00 PM-3:00 PM
Disque Hall 919, S. 32nd Street and Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
How to Measure a Process Much Longer than the Age of the Universe; or is Neutrino its Own Antiparticle?
Andrey Elagin, PhD, University of Chicago An intriguing and fundamental question about the neutrino is whether it is its own antiparticle, a Majorana particle. If the neutrino is a Majorana particle, this would have profound implications to particle physics and cosmology. In this talk I will explain how we can address this question by searching for the neutrinoless double beta decay, a rare nuclear process that can only occur if neutrino is a Majorana particle. The observation of this process, which has a life time many orders of magnitude longer than the age of the universe, is an extremely complicated task. I will review experimental challenges and discuss a new idea of using fast photo-detectors to improve the sensitivity to neutrinoless double beta decay in a kilo-ton scale liquid scintillator detector. Photo-detectors with a time resolution of 1/10000 of a microsecond are needed to discriminate between the signal and background events. The Large-Area Picosecond Photo-Detector Collaboration (LAPPD) is currently developing a large-area, modular photo-detector system composed of thin, planar, glass-body modules, each with two 8.8” micro-channel plates capable of the time resolution of a few millionth of a microsecond. I will discuss the performance of the LAPPD detector prototype and potential applications of the LAPPDs in the neutrino physics and beyond.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
2:30 PM-3:30 PM
Russell Neilson, PhD, postdoctoral associate, University of ChicagoAstrophysical and cosmological observations have now measured with some precision the fraction of dark matter in the universe. However, the particle nature of dark matter remains unknown, and is the subject of an intense world-wide effort to observe interactions of dark matter particles in laboratory experiments. The PICO collaboration, formed by the recent merger of the PICASSO and COUPP collaborations, uses bubble chambers filled with various refrigerants to search for nuclear recoils from WIMP dark matter particles. The bubble chambers are operated in a moderately superheated state providing superb rejection of the dominant gamma background at better than the 10-10 level. Two target fluids have been used until now, CF3I, with sensitivity to both spin-dependent (SD) and spin-independent (SI) interactions, and C3F8, with improved sensitivity to SD interactions and low-mass WIMPs. The first bubble chamber filled with CF3I, COUPP-4kg, has completed two physics runs deep underground at SNOLAB in Canada, demonstrating rejection of alpha-decay backgrounds by acoustic discrimination and providing competitive limits on SD interactions. Two new bubble chambers are now operating at SNOLAB, COUPP-60kg filled with CF3I and PICO-2L filled with 2 liters of C3F8. The next generation in the PICO campaign, PICO-250L, is currently being designed.
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