Office Location: 276 Physics
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Experimental high energy physics
Research Categories: Neutrino Physics
Current projects: Super-Kamiokande, T2K
Research Description: I work on the Super-Kamiokande (SK) and Tokai to Kamioka (T2K) experiments. These collaborations are working to learn more about neutrinos, which are some of the hardest particles to detect in nature. SK is the world's most awesome neutrino detector (determined from original research). It's a 50 kton water Cherenkov detector located in the Kamioka mine near Mozumi, Japan. Its array of 11,146 inner detector PMTs and 1885 outer detector PMTs allow it to detect neutrinos produced in the atmosphere and from other sources while rejecting the numerous backgrounds such as cosmic ray muons. While I am working with SK on atmospheric neutrino studies, I am also involved in the T2K experiment, which is a neutrino beam experiment that uses SK as a far detector. A beam of muon neutrinos are sent from the J-PARC accelerator in Tokai and travel 295 km beneath Japan to SK. We looked for appearance of electron neutrinos due to oscillation in this beam. Our results from analyzing the data from January 2010 through March 2011 are the topic of my dissertation. We made a measurement of the last neutrino mixing angle, and found that our 90% confidence region did not include zero, a first for measurements of this mixing angle. This opens up exciting possibilities for future experiments measuring other properties of neutrinos, and can help guide their design.
Areas of Interest: