Derrek Coleman

Improving the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) Dark Matter Detector

The Large Underground Xenon, or LUX, collaboration has spent the last few years constructing a dual-phase liquid xenon detector which is sensitive enough to detect weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), the primary candidate for dark matter. The detector is finally running and has been taking data since February of this year. With the first round of data in hand, I will analyze LUXs current level of performance. I will look for unexpected drops in its photo-detection rates and other signs that previously unaccounted for factors are limiting the detectors efficiency. The ultimate goal is to determine whether the detector is running as well as it needs to before the second round of data is taken. If it isnt, I will make recommendations for methods of measuring and investigating the factors I have studied.

Message to Sponsor

As my first immersive research experience, my work with Prof. Jacobsen will provide that vital glimpse into the real-world, hands-on experience with physics that I've been waiting for. By the end of the summer I will not only have gained a wide range of research skills, I will have a more realistic picture of what the day-to-day life of a researcher looks like. Armed with this information, I will make my next step (whether that's graduate school, industry, or something else) with greater confidence and security.
  • Major: Physics
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
  • Mentor: Rose Hills