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Queen's Particle Astrophysics - Faculty

Mark Boulay

Mark Boulay (home page, contact)

My research interests include: low-energy neutrinos, neutrinoless double-decay and the search for dark matter. I have been very actively involved in analysis and calibration of the SNO experiment for the first two phases, and collaborate on SNO+. My primary focus is on DEAP. We are currently commissioning a prototype dark matter detector with a target of approximately 10 kg of liquid argon to aid in the design of a larger 3500 kg detector.

With the prototype we plan to demonstrate a discrimination of events that are backgrounds to the dark matter search (beta and gamma events) in liquid argon at the level of one in a billion. With this very low background level, the large detector is projected to be sensitive to cross-sections down to 10-46cm2, and will increase the current experimental sensitivity to dark matter particles by a factor of 1000. Commissioning of the large detector underground at SNOLAB is planned for 2009. The DEAP group at Queen's is currently active in cryogenics design and construction, liquid argon purification and scintillation studies, Monte-Carlo simulation, detector calibration and analysis (for DEAP-1) and on the conceptual and engineering design for the 1000 kg detector. We are planning several R&D activities for the large detector, including bonding of a large acrylic sphere in an ultra-clean environment, cold and cryogenic tests of photomultiplier tubes, and techniques for radon mitigation for critical detector components.

Mark Chen

(home page, contact) Mark Chen

My research interests include: neutrino physics, geoneutrinos, dark matter and cosmic rays. Our group is developing the SNO+ detector, a follow-up experiment to SNO in which we will replace heavy water with liquid scintillator. This will enable precision study of the neutrino-matter interaction and the detection of geoneutrinos, which can be used as a probe of the deep Earth. It's possible that we can search for neutrinoless double beta decay using SNO+ loaded with neodymium. I'm a member of the DEAP experiment. An additional project of mine is the attempt to detect ultra high energy cosmic rays hitting the Moon by using the GMRT radio telescope in India to look for weak radio impulses from the lunar surface.

Philippe Di Stefano (not pictured) (home page, contact)

The nature of the dark matter that makes up most of the matter in the Universe remains an enigma after over seventy years. Cryogenic detectors that operate at temperatures barely above absolute zero have some of the best sensititives to the putative weakly-interacting, massive, particles (WIMPs) that could elucidate this mystery. I currently work on the SuperCDMS experiment that aims to deploy 100 kg of such detectors in the SNOLAB underground laboratory near Sudbury. My research interests also include development of low-temperature scintillators and novel applications of cryogenic detectors to materials science. Students (graduate and undergraduate) or postdoc candidates who are motivated by this type of experimental work should not hesitate to contact me to discuss possible projects.

Tony Noble

(home page, contact) Tony Noble

My research interests are focused on aspects of astroparticle physics. I am leading the Queen's effort in the PICASSO Dark Matter search collaboration while winding up activities on the SNO project. Our PICASSO group is responsible for elements of detector design, construction and operation, as well as determining ways to reduce the radioactive backgrounds that otherwise limit our sensitivity. Students participate in hardware, software and physics analysis. I am also actively involved in establishing SNOLAB as the premier international facility for underground astroparticle physics. I am always keen to hear from prospective graduate students.

Wolfgang Rau

Wolfgang Rau (contact)

My research is focused on direct search for dark matter, primarily working with cryogenic detectors being developed for SuperCDMS. I am very interested in understanding the physics of the detectors which is essential for understanding the data as well as for improving the detectors or finding new operational modes. I am also involved in data analysis, Monte Carlo simulations and background reduction. As leader of the Canadian invovlement in SuperCDMS I am pushing forward with the next phase of the experiment to be installed at SNOLAB.

Alex Wright

(home page, contact) Alex Wright

Since arriving back at Queen's in the fall of 2012 as an Institute of Particle Physics Research Scientist, my research effort has focused on SNO+. Most recently, I am working on the water purification system that will provide the ultra-pure water to shield the active scintillator volume, and on the method that will be used to load isotope into the scintillator for the SNO+ neutrinoless double beta decay phase.

Gilles Gerbier

Gilles Gerbier (contact)

My research is primarily focused on the direct detection of dark matter and development of innovative instrumentation. My group is currently developing a 1.4 meter diameter spherical gaseous detector that will be used to search for WIMPs in the GeV to subGeV mass range. The NEWS-SNO project is to be encased in a large water tank placed deep underground at SNOLAB. This research involves design, simulations, physics analysis, and skills to reduce background in detectors and to understand and optimise detector response. R ≈ D is also conducted at Queen's to use these kinds of detectors for radiation (neutron and gamma) measurements. I am also setting up, with my colleagues Wolfgang Rau and Philippe Di Stefano, a new facility in SNOLAB to test cryogenic detectors for the SuperCDMS and EURECA Collaborations. Please feel free to e-mail me. I am always looking for motivated team members, from undergraduates to post doctoral fellows, who are interested in dark matter and are looking for a challenge.



Hugh Evans (contact)

George Ewan (home page, contact)

Hamish Leslie (contact)

Hay-Boon Mak (contact)

Art McDonald

Art McDonald (home page, contact)

Co-Recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics

My research activities are as follows: The completion of the SNO data to provide an independent check of our earlier results and a more precise determination of the neutrino mixing properties. The SNO+ project that is to look in detail at low-energy solar neutrinos for further detailed information about neutrino mixing parameters, as well as neutrinoless double beta decay with 130Te added to liquid scintillator in the SNO detector. The DEAP/CLEAN project with the potential to provide greatly increased sensitivity for Dark Matter detection with liquid noble gas.

Barry Robertson

(contact) Barry Robertson

If you have questions or comments about the content of this website, please contact qusno@sno.phy.queensu.ca.