The world as a neutrino telescope

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Supervisor – Dr Pat Scottpat.scott@uq.edu.au

Dark matter interacts extremely weakly with regular matter, but it does still interact enough to scatter off nuclei occasionally in many models. The Sun sits in bath of dark matter particles, with many of them passing through it every day. Some dark matter particles scatter off a nucleus in the Sun, and lose enough energy to become gravitationally bound to it. They then return on bound orbits, scatter again and again, losing more energy and sinking down to the core of the Sun. They then annihilate with each other, producing a shower of energetic particles. Those particles include neutrinos, which travel straight through the Sun, and can be detected here on Earth using neutrino telescopes such as IceCube, Super-Kamiokande and ANTARES.

The first part of the project is to combine the results of these three neutrino telescopes, to produce one of the strongest probes of interactions between dark matter and nuclei to date. The second part is to determine the projected sensitivity of the next generation of neutrino telescopes (KM3NeT, IceCube Gen2/Pingu, Hyper-Kamiokande), in order to build an analysis framework that will allow all three experiments to combine their results, and collaborators involved in the GAMBIT project to combine the results with those from all other experiments.

Starting point: arxiv:1601.00653

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of astroparticle physics or adjacent fields (particle physics, astrophysics, general relativity, mathematical physics, computational physics, etc) and the potential for scholastic success.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 2, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Apply now