Wright Lab graduate student Ako Jamil has been awarded honorable mention for the competitive Graduate Instrumentation Research Award (GIRA) for his project “Development of a Low Radioactive Large Area SiPM Array for Ton-scale 0νββ” (advisor David Moore).
According to the GIRA website, “The GIRA program aims to encourage and facilitate greater involvement of physics graduate students in significant instrumentation development, to boost recognition of instrumentation work as a vital part of PhD training, to foster growth of future HEP instrumentation experts in the US, and to strengthen university-lab ties on instrumentation development. GIRA has been established by the Coordination Panel for Advanced Detectors (CPAD), a standing committee of The Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society.”
According to Jamil, nEXO is a future ton-scale double-beta decay experiment that will incorporate silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) as light sensors. SiPMs have emerged as a competitive alternative to traditional photomultiplier tubes (PMTs), which are still used in many experiments today. One of the key motivations for moving to SiPMs in nEXO is the huge reduction in radioactive background by at least a factor of 1000 compared to PMTs. Instrumenting 4.5 m^2 of SiPMs inside a liquid xenon chamber poses significant challenges related to engineering carrier structures, such as mounting and electrically connecting dozens of SiPMs to the carrier, and, at the same time meeting many requirements, including scalability (to determine the channel size for optimal physics results), radio-purity and chemical purity.