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2008 REU and a summer student @ LNGS, Italy

In the summer of 2008 three undergraduate students, Gina Buffaloe (St.Mary's University), Andrew R. Massari (University of Norte Dame), and Jason Brodsky (Harvard University), joined the XENON collaboration and worked for various topics during the 2008 summer. Gina and Andrew were part of the Summer Research Program for Undergraduates at the Nevis Labs and Jason was a undergraduate student continuing his research with XENON last year. But since XENON100 was commissioning at LNGS in Italy, all of the summer undergraduate students did their researches at LNGS. Each of them had small projects contributed to XENON project.

Gina worked on analyzing data from the Germanium detector this summer. Her aim was to measure the radioactivity contribution from selected PMT Bases. To have a clear idea of the exact radioactivities of the various detector materials is quite important to obtain accurate background level, as in all rare searches, in the direct detection of dark matter background plays a key role and largely determines the sensitivity of the experiment.

At the respective links, one may find Gina's presentation and paper on her summer research.

Andrew approached the Xenon project with PMT Gain Calibration. Precise and recurring calibration of the over 200 Photo-Multiplier Tubes is necessary to ensure accurate background rejection capabilities. He studied both initial calibration in a blackbox as well as regular maintenance calibration.

At the respective links one may find Andrew's paper on his PMT Gain Calibration.

Jason worked on the XENON project's new testing detector, XeBella. XeBella contains all the dual-phase detector technology of Xenon100 in a smaller package, making it easy to use for calibration and testing. He learned and used the GEANT4 simulation package to code a simulated copy of XeBella, allowing us to determine how the many components of the real detector will affect our testing. Jason also got hands on with the detector, learning how all the apparatus fits together and building the stand seen in the photo to fit our needs. After helping with the assembly of the detector, he assisted with early tests of the cooling system. Working with a detector in its early stages was a great way to learn how physicists combine the goals of an experiment with its practical requirements to turn their ideas into functioning experiments.

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Document last modified on: 17 February 2011.

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