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Physics and Astronomy Chalk Talk – Jonathan Ouellet

February 12 @ 9:30 am - 11:00 am

UNC-CH Physics and Astronomy Chalk Talk

Jonathan Ouellet, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“Pulling the Signal from the Noise: The Next Generation of 0νββ and Axion Dark Matter Experiments”

Probing the mass nature of the neutrino and understanding the particle nature of dark matter are two of the most experimentally challenging questions in particle physics today. Yet, we may be sitting on the edge of discoveries that could change our understanding of the universe. In the next decade, 0νββ decay experiments will probe decay half lives of order 1026−27 years, requiring ton scale detectors with essentially zero radioactive backgrounds. These background levels have been demonstrated at the 10-100 kg level and scaling that technology up will be the primary focus of the next 5 years. Meanwhile, the axion has reemerged as a strong candidate to explain the dark matter abundance of the universe and at the same time that the development of quantum based technologies has extended the reach of experimental searches into never-before-tested regions of parameter space. ABRACADABRA is an experimental program that plans to leverage these technologies to search for axions with mass < 1µ eV – but will require improving its sensitivity by a daunting 9 orders of magnitude. In this talk, I will discuss some of the challenges of scaling up to the next generation of 0νββ decay searches and the future path of ABRACADABRA.


February 12
9:30 am - 11:00 am


Phillips 277