Astronomers have long been in pursuit of neutrinos, sometimes referred to as "ghost particles." Neutrinos can provide insights into astronomical events taking place deep in the heart of galaxies, for example supernovae. To detect these invisible and almost massless particles, huge detectors are operated, such as IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica with a volume of one cubic kilometer or the Super-Kamiokande detector in Japan with 50,000 tons of highly pure water. In the RES-NOVA project, Dr. Luca Pattavina and his colleagues at the Gran Sasso Underground Laboratory (LNGS) in Italy are working on a new type of detector that is significantly smaller. The main component of the new detector material is archaeological lead operated as a low-temperature detector at milli-Kelvin temperatures. Due to its age of more than 2000 years, this lead has very low natural radioactivity and therefore produces hardly any disturbing background noise during the measurements. The goal of the project is to build a demonstrator that can be used to measure neutrinos produced by the next supernova.
ORIGINS' Seed Money initiative bears fruit
Thanks to initial funding from the ORIGINS Cluster's Seed Money Program, Pattavina and his colleagues were able to develop this novel detector. The Seed Money Program is designed to provide ORIGINS Cluster scientists with the seed money to realize new ideas. In this way, innovative research and development projects in all areas of the ORIGINS Excellence Cluster can be identified and supported.
Dr. Luca Pattavina is a scientist at the Chair of Experimental Astroparticle Physics at the Physics Department of the TUM School of Natural Sciences and a member of the ORIGINS Cluster. He also works as a scientist at the Italian Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS). The project is a collaboration between TUM and LNGS, and the ERC grant was submitted by LNGS.
Dr. Luca Pattavina
TUM School of Natural Sciences / ORIGINS Cluster