Liquid Xenon Detector technology for astroparticle physics and medical imaging
Searching for Dark Matter with Liquid Xenon Detectors
Shedding light on the nature of dark matter is among the main priorities of particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology today. Worldwide, more than a dozen direct detection experiments are prepared to observe rare signals induced by dark matter candidates in ultra-sensitive, low-background detectors. One of the leading technologies today are dual-phase Liquid Xenon Time Projection Chambers. This project is centered around the direct search for different dark matter candidates with the currently running XENONnT experiment and the study of future perspectives with the next generation Liquid Xenon detectors within the XLZD collaboration. For this latter, R&D and performance studies aiming at optimizing the design of this future liquid xenon observatory will be carried on in collaboration with industrial partners.
Shedding light on the nature of neutrinos with Liquid Xenon Detectors
In the past few decades neutrinos have provided some of the most relevant discoveries in particle and astroparticle physics: measurements of their properties gave strong indications that this particle plays a central part in the evolution of our matter-dominated universe. A crucial piece of this puzzle is to establish experimentally if neutrinos, contrary to all other fermions particles, is its own antiparticle (Majorana particle) through measurements of very rare nuclear decays. With this project we aim at investigating the nature of neutrinos probing neutrinoless double beta decay (0ν2β) in 136Xe and 134Xe with data delivered by the current running XENONnT experiment and the projection studies on the sensitivity of next generation Liquid Xenon detectors like nEXO and DARWIN. In this perspective, part of the program will be carried on in collaboration with industrial partners in order to study, build and characterize a prototype system for recovery and storage of the xenon for future larger scale experiments.
Medical imaging with Liquid Xenon Detectors
Cameras used in nuclear medical imagery should be able to reinforce the quality of the images used in order to better understand the functioning of each patient: they enable precise, three-dimensional localization of the position of certain radioactive drugs through a geometric triangulation mechanism, providing a new means of medical imaging, named “three-photon imaging”. At present, a Compton telescope named XEMIS2 is being installed at Nantes University Hospital to investigate the contribution of high-energy g-rays detection for functional nuclear medical imaging on small animals. The first images of XEMIS2 are expected in 2023: the telescope comprising 200 kg of liquid xenon, will surround the small animal and allows the detection of g-rays over a very large geometric acceptance.
XEMIS2 has been optimized to reconstruct the position of the different interactions produced by the same g-ray in order to be able to determine its trajectory by reconstructing the so-called Compton sequence of interactions. Moreover, the importance of the recombination process of the primary charges present at the level of each interaction could also make it possible to better identify the Compton interactions of the photoelectric interactions. We propose to study in detail this subject by using XEMIS2 data. The prospects of such detection for other types of research would also be developed. Part of this work will be carried on in collaboration with industrial partners.
Astrophysics, Technology, Medical physics, Applied science