XENON1T and XENONnT dark matter direct detection


  • Call:

    IDPASC Portugal - PHD Programme 2017

  • Academic Year:

    2017 / 2018

  • Domains:

    Experimental Particle Physics | Astroparticle Physics

  • Supervisor:

    José Matias

  • Co-Supervisor:

    Joaquim Santos

  • Institution:

    Universidade de Coimbra

  • Host Institution:

    U. Coimbra and LNGS

  • Abstract:

    Motivated by the striking fact that 85% of the mass in the Universe remains a mystery, the so-called Dark Matter, our team joined the XENON collaboration for Dark Matter direct detection in 2004. XENON ( has consistently led the way for the discovery of Dark Matter in the form of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), since the publication of its first results in 2007. The phased program started with XENON10 (2005-2007) followed by the XENON100 detector (2008-2016) that besides the outstanding record of 8 years non-stop operation of a liquid xenon time projection chamber, has allowed to thoroughly study and understand the detailed physics of its operation paving the way for the future larger scale detectors of the XENON program. With real discovery potential, XENON1T, the only ton-scale detector operating in the world, started taking science data in November 2016. The results from its first 30 days of operation ( confirm it as the most sensitive dark matter search device ever in history. It will reach its ultimate dark matter sensitivity after 2 years of operation. Starting in 2019, XENONnT will have a 3 times larger target that will allow to basically testing the full parameter space for WIMPs with mass > 10 GeV/c2. Our group in Coimbra (Atomic and Nuclear Instrumentation Group) has a more than 4 decades long experience in the development of noble gas filled detectors, including photo sensing innovative solutions, being widely recognized as a world leader in the field. The candidate work will contribute to the operation of XENON1T at the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS) in Italy, including short stays of a few weeks at a time. The work plan will include participation in several remote tasks as well as in the R&D on advanced photo sensors taking place in Coimbra, towards the next phase with the upgrade of XENON1T to XENONnT. The successful candidate will have here an exceptional opportunity of integrating the highly stimulating environment of a cutting-edge world class experiment.