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Dark Matter and Coherent Scatter: Rare Event Detection in Fundamental and Applied Nuclear Physics

Abstract: Detector requirements related to the search for the evanescent neutrino, and for the possibly non-existent Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP) dark matter candidate, overlap with unmet practical needs in the areas of nuclear nonproliferation, arms control and fissile material security. This commonality derives from the physics involved, which requires detection of infrequent, keV to MeV scale interactions arising from neutral particles - whether WIMPS, neutrinos, gamma-rays or neutrons. The Advanced Detectors Group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory develops and fields advanced detectors for cutting edge dark matter and neutrino physics experiments, and for more prosaic applications such as real time monitoring of the fissile content of operating nuclear reactors. I will discuss design considerations and successful examples of detectors which can operate in this 'dual-use' mode, with a particular focus on a recent area of progress and interest, dual-phase noble liquid emission detectors.
Speaker: Adam Bernstein - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Speaker Bio: Dr. Adam Bernstein leads the Advanced Detectors Group in the Physics Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He works on the development of radiation detectors for applications in nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear arms control, and on detector development for fundamental physics experiments. He received his B.A. in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley, and his Ph.D. in Experimental High Energy Physics from Columbia University. He has pioneered the use of cubic meter scale water and scintillator based detectors as a practical means for non-intrusive real-time measurement of changes in the plutonium content of operating reactors. Bernstein has also developed large-scale liquid scintillator detectors for improved passive and active detection of Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium. He is a member of the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) dark matter search experiment, an international collaboration which will soon directly measure or place the world's most stringent limit on the mass and coupling of a theoretically favored class of dark matter particle, known as the Weakly Interacting Massive Particle or WIMP.
Poster Link: Poster