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Research @ PFC
BICEP2/The Keck Array/BICEP3
BICEP2, The Keck Array, and BICEP3 all use a similar observation strategy, integrating relentlessly on the 2% of the sky that is the cleanest of Galactic foregrounds from the South Pole, an exceptionally clear, dry, and stable millimeter-wave observation site. This suite of experiments utilizes cold, on-axis refracting optics for a compact design that minimizes systematics, and antenna-coupled Transition Edge Sensors (TES). BICEP2 observed from 2010-2012 with 512 detectors at 150 GHz, The Keck Array is currently observing with 2560 detectors at 150 and 100 GHz, and BICEP3 will begin observations in 2015 with 2560 detectors at 100 GHz.
We are part of a multi-institution collaboration with 11 collaborating institutions.Learn more >>
Coherent Germanium Neutrino Technology, CoGeNT
CoGeNT site at PNNL
The COUPP and Picasso collaborations have merged their efforts and become the PICO collaboration.
Local COUPP Website (introduction to COUPP)
COUPP site at FNAL
Dark Energy Survey, DES
According to Einstein's theory of General Relativity, gravity should lead to a slowing of the cosmic expansion. Yet, in 1998, two teams of astronomers studying distant supernovae made the remarkable discovery that the expansion of the universe is speeding up. To explain cosmic acceleration, cosmologists are faced with two possibilities: either 70% of the universe exists in an exotic form, now called dark energy, that exhibits a gravitational force opposite to the attractive gravity of ordinary matter, or General Relativity must be replaced by a new theory of gravity on cosmic scales.
DES is designed to probe the origin of the accelerating universe and help uncover the nature of dark energy by measuring the 14-billion-year history of cosmic expansion with high precision. More than 400 scientists from over 25 institutions in the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia are working on the project. The collaboration built and is using an extremely sensitive 570-Megapixel digital camera, DECam, mounted on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, high in the Chilean Andes, to carry out the project.
Over five years (2013-2018), the DES collaboration is using 525 nights of observation to carry out a deep, wide-area survey to record information from 300 million galaxies that are billions of light-years from Earth. The survey is imaging 5000 square degrees of the southern sky, with 3400 sq-degrees overlapping the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich CMB surveys conducted by SPT, in five optical filters to obtain detailed information about each galaxy. A fraction of the survey time is used to observe smaller patches of sky roughly once a week to discover and study thousands of supernovae and other astrophysical transients.Learn more >>
Dark Matter in CCDs, DAMIC
South Pole Telescope, SPT
Virtually visit the South Pole Telescope and the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, which is operated by the National Science foundation via panoramic in Google Street View format.
The initial goal of the SPT was to explore the nature of dark energy, an unexplained phenomenon responsible for the observed acceleration in the expansion of the universe. The SPT will search for massive clusters of galaxies by looking for spectral distortions in the cosmic microwave background. Dark energy inhibits the growth of galaxy clusters, so studying the population of clusters through cosmic time will constrain models of dark energy.
With the installation of the polarization sensitive SPTpol detector, SPT began a program of searching for B-mode polarization in the CMB. During the 2016-17 austral summer, SPT's focal plane has once again been updated with the SPT-3G instrument which will significantly increase its sensitivity as it searches for B-modes in the microwave sky.
This research is a collaboration among nine U.S. and Canadian institutions.Learn more >>
The XENON dark matter experiment is installed underground at the Laboratory Nazionali del Gran Sasso of INFN, Italy. It is operated as a dual phase (liquid/gas) time projection chamber to search for interactions of dark matter particles.
The XENON experiment is a collaboration of 120 scientists, representing 24 different nationalities, and 21 institutions across the world. About 60 graduate students are working in the collaboration to make this experiment the most sensitive search for dark matter ever performed.Learn more >>