Experimental Nuclear and Particle Physics
Faculty : Marie Boer; Jonathan Link; Camillo Mariani;Thomas O'Donnell; Leo Piilonen; Mark Pitt; Bruce Vogelaar
Emeriti Faculty: Marvin Blecher; John Ficenec; David Jenkins
Professor Boer's speciality is experimental Hadronic Physics, a sub-field of medium/high energy nuclear physics. Her interest is to understand the internal structure and properties of the nucleon from its elementary building blocks, the quarks and gluons. Some reactions leading to new multidimensional pictures of the proton in terms of quarks spatial and momentum distributions are very promising. The group is collaborating with Jefferson Lab (Newport News, VA) where several experiments are ongoing. The group participates in these experiments and is also developing new physics ideas and interpretations.
Prof. Boer home page coming soon!
Professor Mariani studies experimental particle physics and in particular his research interest focus on neutrino. Professor Mariani and his group are involved in various accelerator neutrino experiments, long baseline (DUNE at Fermilab and SURF) and short baseline (MicroBooNE and SBND at Fermilab), in non-proliferation experiment (SOLID and CHANDLER) and in electron scattering experiments at JLAB in Virginia. One of the focus of the group is the study of neutrino interactions in matter from a theoretical and experimental point of view. We study properties of neutrinos, how many neutrino species exists (is there a sterile neutrino?) and if neutrinos are responsible for the difference between matter and anti-matter in the universe.
Prof. O'Donnell's group explores the properties of neutrinos and their implications. These electrically neutral and almost massless particles, by their sheer numbers and unique properties play a deep role in the story of the Universe. Their tiny but definitively non-zero masses are still a mystery and one that may have huge implications --- perhaps neutrinos catalyzed rare lepton-number-violating processes and thus seeded the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the extreme environment of the early universe.
Professor Piilonen studies experimental elementary particle physics through the behaviour of heavy quarks (beauty and charm) and leptons (taus) as they interact and decay. Piilonen and his research group pursue these investigations in the Belle and Belle II experiments at the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) in Tsukuba, Japan. We study the differences in behaviour of matter and antimatter - so-called CP-symmetry violation - and the search for new forces and particles such as dark matter.
Professor Pitt studies experimental nuclear physics with a focus on using parity-violating electron scattering to probe for physics beyond the Standard Model. These studies are pursued at the CEBAF electron accelerator at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia. The recently completed Qweak experiment measured the proton's weak charge, while the upcoming MOLLER experiment will measure the electron's weak charge and be a sensitive probe of possible new physics.
Professor Vogelaar's group works on the design, calibration, and operation of the large Borexino experiment measuring the complete spectroscopy of solar neutrinos (currently culminating in observation of CNO neutrinos) - so proving all primary energy drivers of stellar evolution. The group is now developing the next generation of micro-neutrino detectors in an incarnation called 'NuLat', to search for sterile neutrinos and monitor nuclear power reactors. The group is also an active member of the DarkSide experiment, hosted in Italy, utilizing a large liquid-argon time-projection chamber to search for dark-matter in the universe. In parallel, the group is working to address global warming by advancing a program, called GEM*STAR, to integrate accelerators and reactors in a new configuration, overlooked by DOE, that promises to offer base-load capable green energy which is non-proliferating, reduces nuclear waste, and improves safety and cost.