Research: Neutrino Physics - Dark Matter - Beyond the Standard Model
The division works on current topics in particle and astroparticle
physics with a considerable overlap between experiment and theory.
The focus of the experimental activities is on projects in the field
of neutrino physics and the search for Dark Matter particles. The
broader theoretical activities include phenomenological interpretations
of experimental data and purely theoretical questions in a broad
context of particle and astroparticle physics.
Connecting results from neutrino physics, dark matter search,
other astroparticle physics results and experiments at accelerators
it is possible to obtain direct and indirect information on new
physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. One
direction concerns particle physics motivated candidates for
Dark Matter which emerge in models beyond the Standard Model and
which lead to various phenomenological consequences. Another
direction is neutrino physics including direct and indirect
methods for the extraction of neutrino masses and mixings.
Theoretical explanations of so-far unexplained regularities in
these parameters are, for example, studied within flavour symmetries.
The simulation of three flavour and matter effects for
future neutrino oscillation experiments allows the extraction
of leptonic CP and T violation, which is indirectly connected
to the baryon asymmetry of the Universe. There exist also
various other topics in the direction of (astro)particle physics.
Examples are mechanisms for the explanation of the baryon
asymmetry of the Universe, the electro-weak phase transition,
Boltzmann- and Kadanoff-Baym (Quantum-Boltzmann) equations,
cosmological vacuum energies, lepton flavour violation, etc.
Last but not least, electro-weak
symmetry breaking mechanisms and consequences for the so-called
hierarchy problem are studied. Further details on the theoretical
activities of the division can be found
The experimental activities of the division are focussed on
projects in the field of neutrino physics and dark matter search.
We contribute significantly to the Double Chooz project which is
one of the world-wide leading experiments looking for oscillations
of reactor anti-neutrinos. The measurements constitute a very important test
of three-flavour oscillations and they are a very important step
in the direction of detecting leptonic CP violation.
The division participates also in a significant way in the Gerda
experiment which searches for lepton number violating decays of
76Germanium. This is important, since this would prove the
Majorana nature of neutrinos. This would tell us a lot about the
origin of neutrino masses. From the life-time one obtains
interesting limits or values for neutrino masses.
The participation in the XENON100 and XENON1t projects aims at
the direct detection of WIMP dark matter particles. Liquid
Xenon is one of the most promising technologies which have
an excellent discovery potential for WIMPs in the expected regime.
We are furthermore involved in the Borexino experiment which aims at
the spectroscopy of solar neutrinos and at geo-neutrinos.
Various low level techniques for background identification and
reduction in current and future experiments, as well as for highly
sensitive measurements with various materials are also studied by
the division. For further details on the experimental activities of the
division go here.