Vidya (Illinois Math and Science Academy)

Solid (crystalline) Xenon is a great candidate for a detector target material for low energy particles. It has useful properties such as: transparency, ionization drift, self-shielding, and low background. Purification of xenon crystals is also easier than it is for liquid xenon.

Applications for such a detector include assisting in the searches for dark matter, solar axions, and neutrinoless double beta decay. Having solid xenon as a detector would help substantially with each of these searches because of its low background, crystalline properties, and high yield of scintillation light.

Vidya, a QuarkNet intern, worked with Jonghee Yoo this summer. She participated in an experiment to detect dark matter using solid xenon as the detector material. It is a unique project, as not many other scientists have looked into using solid xenon (however, the use of liquid xenon is a bit more widespread).

Vidya's initial job was to write LabVIEW software to collect and analyze data for a single photon calibration of the PMT (photomultiplier tube) being used for the project. You can find her PowerPoint presentation as well as some of her code in the Files section below.

For more information on the solid xenon project, check out these links: