project . 2019 - 2025 . On going

NU-CLEUS

Exploring coherent neutrino-nucleus scattering with gram-scale cryogenic calorimeters
Open Access mandate for Publications
European Commission
Funder: European CommissionProject code: 804228 Call for proposal: ERC-2018-STG
Funded under: H2020 | ERC | ERC-STG Overall Budget: 1,642,500 EURFunder Contribution: 1,642,500 EUR
Status: On going
01 Apr 2019 (Started) 31 Mar 2025 (Ending)
Open Access mandate
Research data: No
Description

ν-cleus will be a new multi-purpose table-top experiment aimed at the first exploration of coherent neutrino-nucleus scattering (CNNS) at a nuclear power reactor. Our novel detector technology will achieve an unprecedentedly high sensitivity to new physics within and beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics, with an enormous discovery potential. The new method is not only complementary to competing approaches, but superior in terms of performance, cost and size. The ultra-low threshold character of my experiment will allow a determination of the Weinberg angle at MeV-scale momentum transfers and the first direct search for eV-scale sterile neutrinos via CNNS. We will significantly improve the sensitivity for a neutrino magnetic dipole moment, unravel anomalies in the reactor antineutrino spectrum and test new models for exotic neutral currents. My research on gram-scale cryogenic calorimeters (gramCCs) has resulted in a recent breakthrough: we achieved the world-best energy threshold for nuclear-recoils of 19.7eV, one order of magnitude lower than for previous detectors. I propose to operate gramCCs within a fiducial-volume cryogenic detector. This completely new detector concept is suited for an above-ground operation of excellent performance while backgrounds are significantly suppressed. Located at a nuclear power reactor ν-cleus will achieve a signal-to-background ratio of ~10^3 - a unique situation in neutrino physics. This will enable a rapid discovery of CNNS within a few weeks. ν-cleus will have enormous impact on modern physics and future technologies. It will be a prototype for next-generation, high-precision solar neutrino experiments and guarantees a technological spin-off for reactor safeguards and non-proliferation measures. With this ERC grant I will set up a high-class research team with world-leading expertise in cryogenic detectors and low-background techniques, which will ensure Europe’s role as a pioneer in this new field.

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