Division Particle & Astroparticle Physics

Research: Experiment - Overview


The experimental research projects carried out with participation of this division at MPIK are the reactor neutrino experiment Double Chooz in Chooz in France, the double beta decay experiment GERDA at the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS) in Italy, the XENON Dark Matter search experiments at LNGS as well as researc and development of it's successor DARWIN, the STEREO Experiment exploring the possibility of light ~1eV sterile neutrinos and CONUS which is investigating the coherent neutrino-nucleus scattering.

Major progress has been achieved in all of these experiments during recent years:

Figure 1: CONUS detector without shielding

The CONUS experiment which is operated in collaboration with PreussenElektra GmbH in Brokdorf started Data collection early April 2018. Its aim is to detect and characterize the coherent neutrino-nucleus scattering process up until the end of 2021.

GERDA Detector
Figure 2: GERDA at the LNGS

Construction of the double beta decay experiment GERDA in hall A of LNGS has been completed. Gerda aims at measuring neutrino-less double beta decay or at improving the current limits on the life-time considerably. Observing this decay would be of fundamental importance for neutrino physics and physics beyond the Standard Model in general, because it would prove that Lepton Number is not conserved by nature. It would show that neutrino masses are not generated by the standard Higgs mechanism, which provides charged fermions and quarks with mass. Potential consequences go as far as the cosmological generation of the Baryon Asymmetry of the Universe.

Figure 3: PMTs and acrylic vessels inside of the Double Chooz detector

The neutrino oscillation experiment Double Chooz at the nuclear power station Chooz, France, is finished. It's aim was to measure the smallest lepton mixing angle. The value of this angle has strong influence on the future program of experimental neutrino physics, since it decides if and how we can measure leptonic CP violation and the neutrino mass ordering. While the far detector had been completed since the end of 2010 the near detector was finished in 2015. The combined data of both near and far detectors allowed to improve the experimental results even further. Official data taking was finished at the end of 2017 while it's analysis is still going on.

ILL Reaktor
Figure 4: The ILL nuclear reactorsite the STEREO experiment is located at.

After three years of design and construction the STEREO experiment has started data taking. Its goal is to study the observed reactor antineutrino anomaly with respect to the possible existence of light sterile i.e. non interacting neutrinos. Currently the experiment is in Phase II. STEREO aims for more than 300 days of reactor_on data before the end of 2019

XENON Detector
Figure 5: Detector of the XENON1T project

The division participates also in the XENON Dark Matter search project. The early XENON100 detector started data taking already in 2010 and obtained very important results. In 2017 the first Data from the up-scaled XENON1t detector was published. Currently XENON1T continues data taking. In parallel the XENONnT project, an even further up-scaled version of the detector, is beeing planned and realized. The XENON project makes very important measurements, since they cover a large part of the theoretically expected parameter space for WIMPs, the favoured Dark Matter candidates.

Low-Level Lab
Figure 6: Low-level-Lab. at the MPIK

The arts of low-background physics, which were developed in past and on-going experiments are unique. The relevant techniques are further improved and new methods are being developed for on-going and future experiments.


Last modified: Wed 9. September 2020 at 14:52:31 , Impressum , Datenschutzhinweis