Single ion detection to find the nature of the neutrino


Type of Project: Experimental

Location: Donostia

Francesc Monrabal

J.J. Gomez-Cadenas

The Majorana or Dirac nature of the neutrino is one of the most important questions still open in particle physics. The only practical way of determining it is by the observation of a neutrinoless double beta decay. Such process, forbidden by the Standard Model, is extremely rare with life-times of at least 10^27 years. The next generation of experiments currently being planned aims to be sensitive to such life-times that imply the observation of few signal events per year in tonne scale detectors with virtually zero background.

The experimental particle physics group at DIPC, leads one of the experiments searching for this process, called NEXT. As part of the R&D towards the next generation detectors, the group is developing a technology to detect the single Barium cation (Ba++) that is produced in the decay. This project, based on the change of fluorescent properties of a chemosensor, implies a multidisciplinary research that combines expertise in different fields like gaseous particle detectors, chemistry, optics and surface materials.

The student will be expected to work in the integration of the optics setup with a small gas chamber offering a multidisciplinary experience.