NPL News

EXO-200 Phase-II Results Announced

The new neutrinoless double beta decay search results from EXO-200 was announced at the TAUP meeting after one year of Phase-II operation.   In Phase-II, the detector energy resolution at the decay energy region is improved to 1.23%.    External radon background between the cryostat and lead shield has been suppressed with radon free air.   In addition, new analysis techniques for discriminating the gamma background has been implemented.    Incorporating both hardware and software upgrades, the combined sensitivity for Phase-I and Phase-II data improved 2-fold to 3.7 x 10^25 years.   No statistically significant signal was observed, leading to a lower limit on the 0νββ half-life of 1.8 x 10^25 yr at the 90% confidence level.   The UIUC group led the front end electronics upgrade for Phase-II and contributed substantially to the analysis.  Graduate student Shaolei Li studied the wire gain calibration and checked the grid correction for Phase-II.   Graduate student Matthew Coon presented the new results at the 2017 Meeting of APD Division of Particle & Fields.  
Author: NPL
Published on 8/7/2017

Young Scholars Program: local youth get hands-on with leading-edge research

The most intriguing and relevant science happens at the highest levels of scientific pursuit—at major research universities and laboratories, far above and beyond typical high-school science curriculum. But this summer, 12 rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors—eight from Centennial and four from Central High School, both in Champaign—had the rare opportunity to partake in cutting-edge scientific research at a leading research institution.   The six-week summer-research Young Scholars Program (YSP) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was initiated by members of the Nuclear Physics Laboratory (NPL) group, who soon joined forces with other faculty members in the Department of Physics and with faculty members of the POETS Engineering Research Center.
Published on 8/4/2017

Young Scholars Program

A Poster Symposium concluded the inaugural Young Scholars program for high school students from underrepresented groups. The program, led by NPL, was sponsored by us together with the Department of Physics and the POETS Engineering Research Center of the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering.  About 60 people joined the 12 Young Scholars as they presented their work in a poster session held on Jul. 28 in the Loomis lobby.  The projects ranged from biophysics, to high energy physics to nanomaterials.  At the awards ceremony following the poster presentations, mentor Joseph Bryant, an undergrad in Prof. Perdekamp’s group was given the outstanding mentor award based on input from the students.
Author: NPL
Published on 8/3/2017

Semi-annual nEDM review

On Tue. Jul. 14 the neutron EDM experiment presented its responses to a request to revisit plans for the upcoming subsystem integration phase of the experiment.  With some re-engineering, we were able to show an expected cost savings of about $4M in the roughly $25M remaining expenditures required to bring the experiment into operation.  The technical changes involve a significant simplification in the mounting and shielding required for the helium-3 services system that is the Illinois responsibility.  The review committee responded positively to the changes that they agreed both reduced costs and improved the experiment.  The next review will be in December and will assess progress for the entire Critical Component Demonstration phase of the experiment that concludes this calendar year.
Author: NPL
Published on 7/18/2017

phYSics Young Scholars program to begin summer of 2017

The phYSics Young Scholars program will welcome 10 rising junior and senior high school students from the local area to examine, explore and consider exciting careers in scientific research. The 6 week summer program will give hands on experience to help students better fathom how we ask and answer questions in science. Young Scholars will be embedded in cutting-edge research laboratories at the Physics Department within the College of Engineering. They will be introduced to a variety of live experiments and scientific research as well as the ability to gain an understanding of science and its local and global impact. Young Scholars will have opportunities to build relationships with college students, professors, and other high school students. Visit the phYSics Young Scholars page for more information.
Author: NPL
Published on 5/25/2017

COMPASS publishes first hint of sign change in Drell-Yan Sivers function

The COMPASS collaboration at CERN submitted their 2015 measurement for publication in Physical Review Letters. The Sivers amplitude from the 2015 COMPASS spin-dependent Drell-Yan data provides the first hint of a sign change of the Sivers function measured in Drell-Yan (DY) as compared to measured in Semi-Inclusive Deep-Inelastic scattering (SIDIS). This sign change is a fundamental prediction of Quantum Chromo Dynamics, or QCD, the underlying theory of the strong interaction between quarks in the proton. The sign change is a milestone of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee (NSAC). The Sivers function is one of the proton's Transverse-Momentum Dependent parton distributions (TMDs) and describes the correlation between the transverse spin of the parent proton and the transverse momentum of the probed quark. COMPASS has previously measured the Sivers amplitude in SIDIS and is therefore in the unique situation to conclude on the sign change without involving uncertainties related to TMD evolution.
The UIUC COMPASS group has significantly contributed to the success of the measurement in terms of instrumentation, coordination and data analysis. The Illinois authors are: Vincent Andrieux, Ihn-Jea Choi, Francesca Giordano, Robert Heitz, Jaakko Koivuniemi, Yakov Kulinich, Alain Magnon, Naomi Makins, Marco Meyer, Jen-Chieh Peng, Matthias Grosse Perdekamp, and Caroline Riedl. The arXiv version of the paper is available here: A second COMPASS run of spin-dependent DY in 2018 will enhance the statistical significance of the measurement.
Author: NPL
Published on 4/24/2017

sPHENIX 2016 Test Beam Paper submitted

The sPHENIX combined calorimeter test beam paper from the 2016 Fermilab test has been submitted to the IEEE Transaction of Nuclear Science.  The electromagnetic calorimeter was built half at the NPL and half at Tungsten Heavy Powder with finishing work done at the NPL.  The Illinois group also led the analysis of the electromagnetic calorimeter performance.  Facilities at the MRL were used by to characterize the properties of the tungsten powder used in the calorimeter.  The Illinois contribution (over 20% of the authors) was the largest of any institution except for Brookhaven’s.  The Illinois authors are: Virginia Bailey, John Blackburn, Michael Higdon, Simon Li, Vera Loggins, Mike Phipps, Anne Sickles, Peter Sobel, and Eric Thorsland.  The tested calorimeters were found to meet the sPHENIX physics requirements.  The paper is available here:
Author: NPL
Published on 4/6/2017

Yang selected for NSF CAREER Award

Assistant Professor Liang Yang of the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been selected for a 2017 NSF CAREER Award. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award of the National Science Foundation is conferred annually in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars by integrating outstanding research with excellent education. Receipt of this honor also reflects great promise for a lifetime of leadership within recipients’ respective fields.
Author: NPL
Published on 3/16/2017

4th year of CCD funding approved for nEDM project

On Mar. 15 we received word from NSF that the final year of funding for the Critical Component Demonstration phase of the neutron electric dipole moment experiment (nEDM) is approved for release.  The Illinois group (Beck, Peng, Williamson, Koivuniemi, Thorsland, Blackburn, Sobel, Rao, Sharma) is responsible for the so-called helium-3 services subsystem of the experiment.  These funds will allow us to complete the dilution refrigerator, under construction at NPL, and used to cool the subsystem, as well as to make progress on components of both its injection and purification assemblies.  The NSF also re-stated its commitment to provide $5.8M for the Large Subsystem Integration activities to follow the CCD phase of the experiment and to be shared between Illinois and Caltech.
Author: NPL
Published on 3/16/2017

Testing cryogenic electronics for nEXO

As a next-generation tonne scale double beta decay experiment,  nEXO requires new development in detector technology.   One key area is the development of low noise front-end electronics that can operate directly in liquid xenon (~170 K).   In collaboration with the Brookhaven National Lab,  students Shaolei Li and Xuanying Li are testing the performance of prototype boards built with custom ASICs.   In the coming weeks,  they will develop codes to readout all channels of the board and analyze the noise correlation between different channels.  The board will later be used in liquid xenon test setups by the collaboration.
Published on 2/21/2017