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Home page > PhD fellowships > Previous Calls > Proposed PhD subjects 2013-2016 > Experimental Neutrino physics

Experimental Neutrino physics

by Yannis Karyotakis - 25 February 2013

Topics : Direct neutrino oscillation appearance search in the multi hadronic tau decay channel with the OPERA detector and search for sterile neutrino withe STEREO
Proponents  : Pablo Del Amo Sanchez - Dominique duchesneau
Address : LAPP - 9 chemin de Bellevue - BP110 - 74941 Annecy-le-Vieux Cedex
Phone : +33 4 50 09 16 67 or 1641 
Contact Email :;


The field of neutrino physics is very active and has given, and continues to produce, important results since the discovery of neutrino flavour oscillations more than a decade ago. These have brought about what now is the accepted theoretical framework: the flavour oscillation formalism. However, several key fundamental questions remain open, such as the real nature of the neutrino, the mass hierarchy of the three existing neutrino states and the existence or not of CP violation in the leptonic sector. In addition to these remaining questions, a few anomalies have been observed experimentally in the neutrino sector which need further studies.
A worldwide experimental effort to address all these exciting subjects is in place following a variety of different approaches. The proposed PhD work plays a role in this program and is embedded in an international context.
The LAPP neutrino group has an experimental research program focused on the study of neutrino oscillation mechanism in present (OPERA) and future neutrino accelerator projects (LAGUNA-LBNO).
The group plays an active role in both detector running and physics analysis activities of the OPERA experiment located at Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy. The goal of the experiment is to prove unambiguously the origin of the muon neutrino disappearance observed in atmospheric and accelerator neutrinos by doing a direct detection of tau neutrinos appearing in a muon neutrino beam from CERN. To achieve this goal, very refined analyses to study tau lepton decay channels need to be realized. OPERA has collected data up to the end of 2012.
The work foreseen for the thesis has two distinct parts.
The first one concerns OPERA physics analysis . It consists of developing a full study of the multi hadronic tau decay channel, and should have a significant impact on the final OPERA result. The candidate will benefit from the complete neutrino data set to address this issue. More specifically, the candidate will have to develop and optimise original algorithms to reconstruct interactions and multiple decay vertices in order to increase the present efficiency. Particular care will have to be put to understand and reduce the background coming from hadron re-interactions and charmed meson events.
The second research topic the candidate will have to address, concerns participation to the development and optimisation of an experiment to search for sterile neutrino using a liquid scintillator detector to be installed near the ILL research reactor in Grenoble. In this context, the successful candidate will participate in the development of the Monte Carlo simulation and event reconstruction of the STEREO liquid scintillator detector in order to optimise a calibration system based on radioactive and light sources and determine the physics potential.
The candidate should have a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in physics and knowledge in the field of elementary particle and neutrino physics.