April in January – DUNE at the APS

DUNE sent two collaborators and one likely future collaborator to the oddly named April APS meeting held in Washington, D.C. in January. Here is a round-up from them.

Elizabeth Worcester
A CPV sensitivity plot available from the Approved Plots site.

Long-baseline neutrino oscillation in DUNE

Elizabeth Worcester, Brookhaven (talk)

I showed the long-baseline oscillation sensitivity for DUNE in one of the neutrino sessions, presenting DUNE sensitivity to CP violation, neutrino mass ordering, and neutrino oscillation parameters. I also described the inputs and assumptions that go into calculation of those sensitivities.

The long-baseline physics working group recently updated all the sensitivity plots to focus on the optimized beam design, to include the latest information about existing measurements of neutrino oscillation parameters, and to improve the visual appeal and clarity of the plots. The new figures were just approved at the January collaboration meeting, so I gave them their public debut.

These plots are all available on the Approved Plots page (site requires authentication; see related article Sharing DUNE plots and graphics).

In addition to all the great scientific talks, the APS April meeting offered a number of history, diversity, and outreach presentations. I attended some fascinating talks on these topics, including one on physicists in Nazi Germany and one on the real people portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures.


Kevin Wood

Proton Decay Searches with DUNE: Seeing the Light

Kevin Wood, University of South Carolina (talk)

In my presentation I highlighted DUNE’s capabilities for proton decay searches. I focused on what we refer to as the golden channel in which a proton decays into a kaon and an antineutrino. At the end I addressed the subtitle, seeing the light, by explaining the importance of the photon detection system and demonstrating the applicability of its design for a proton decay search.

A simple question followed my presentation: what does DUNE offer over large water Čerenkov detectors? My answer: This golden channel emits a kaon that is below Čerenkov threshold in water, so DUNE would be much more sensitive to it.

Brendon Bullard

Parallel track reconstruction degeneracy in LArTPCs

Brendon Bullard, senior at Brandeis University (talk)

In my talk I summarized the work that I did with the neutrino group at Brookhaven National Laboratory over the last two summers on parallel track reconstruction degeneracy in Liquid Argon TPCs, with particular attention paid to DUNE’s implemenation of the technology.

We simulated neutrino interactions with argon to determine the rate at which signal and background events would generate particle tracks nearly parallel to the wire-readout plane, given a wire plane configuration like MicroBooNE’s and a configuration in which the wire plane is perpendicular to the neutrino beam. We determined that degenerate signal and irreducible background events would have a significant enough impact on DUNE’s reconstruction efficiency to warrant further studies into a design change for the TPC wire readout.

During my presentation, an audience member pointed out that this study does not take into account various technical challenges that would need to be overcome in order to implement such a design change. Indeed, we did not simulate a detector geometry; we simply wished to evaluate the effect of parallel track degeneracy on DUNE’s expected reconstruction efficiency. More work on this lies ahead!.