Neutrinoless double beta decay experiments address the most fundamental questions of lepton number violation and the asymmetry between the matter and anti-matter in the universe. If observed it will establish the Majorana nature of the neutrino (the only fundamental particle of matter that is identical to its anti-particle) and will allow the absolute neutrino mass to be measured. The UCL HEP group is involved in two experiments, SuperNEMO and LEGEND, which employ very different technologies. SuperNEMO is capable of reconstructing the full topology of the decay and making important constraints on nuclear physics models that are necessary to extract the lepton-violating new physics parameters. LEGEND will use state-of-the-art enriched germanium semiconductor detectors immersed in liquid argon. Due to its superior energy resolution, intrinsic purity and technological advances in detector readout LEGEND has the potential to reach a zero background regime in search for neutrinoless double beta decay and hence has a unique discovery potential.
The SuperNEMO Demonstrator module will start taking data in 2020 and LEGEND-200 (the first phase of the experiment) will commence data taking in 2021. The PhD work would therefore be focused on data analysis and detector modelling. The student will participate in calibration and experimental activities in the host laboratories (LSM — Modane Underground Laboratory, France, in case of SuperNEMO; LNGS — Gran Sasso Underground Laboratory, Italy, in case of LEGEND). A 6 month placement in the host laboratory is also possible. In addition, the student will be involved in developing cutting edge low background technologies (radon emanation measurements, mass-spectrometry). Such technologies find applications not only in the field of double beta decay and dark matter searches but also in environmental studies and nuclear forensics.
For more details please contact r.saakyan at ucl.ac.uk