PAN 323 (office), 624-4806
villaa @ physics.umn.edu • curriculum vitae
Direct detection dark matter research. Working with the SuperCDMS collaboration with the cryogenic germanium detectors deployed at the Soudan Underground Laboratory. These provide sensitive measurements of nuclear recoils which could result from dark matter WIMP interactions. Observing WIMP interactions or setting limits on them gives important feedback to the beyond-standard-model physics that is possible.
Backgrounds for underground science. Working with the AARM collaboration studies of cosmogenic neutron production in deep undground laboratories. These neutrons represent dangerous backgrounds for both direct detection dark matter experiments and neutrinoless double beta decay experiments. The neutron production from cosmic muons is a process that is studied in detail and is somewhat poorly understood for high energy muons. This work constrains these processes through detailed simulations and comparisons to data where possible. There are also ongoing efforts to obtain data to constrain these simulations. To this end, work is also ongoing with the Soudan-II muon veto to obtain this type of valuable data.