Professor Neil Spooner
Professor of Particle Physics and Astrophysics
- Room: E23
- Phone: +44 (0)114 22 24422
- Fax: +44 (0)114 272 8079
|Recent Grants, Awards and International Leadership||
Leadership in multi-group, international programmes and of the Sheffield Particle Physics group:
2000-2016: PI for 5 Sheffield Particle Physics, STFC rolling grants and consolidated grants for ATLAS, T2K, MICE, DUNE, Hyper-K and dark matter experiments - responsible for 13 academics and 65 total staff (e.g. 2015 CG is £3.8M) total accumulated >£25M.
1999-2012: PI for (and founder of) the Boulby Underground Facility Palmer Laboratory with 1500 m2 underground space at 1.1 km dept (e.g. JIF award, 2000-2005, £3.1M)
|Recent Teaching and Inspiring Young Researchers, Recent Public Outreach||
2013: Invited talk, British Association for Advancement of Science " Dark Matter" (audience 200)
2012: Invited talk, Cheltenham Science Festival "Hunting for Dark Matter" (audience 600)
2011: Chair EU outreach film on underground science
2010: Presentation with European Vice President, VIPs and at the Boulby Laboratory LAGUNA day
2009: Author, Boulby Underground Laboratory Brochure; chair of Palmer Lab naming ceremony
2004-2008: Chair, joint European Deep Laboratories outreach programme in FP7 ILIAS (€300K)
2005-2007: Major Outreach Award (PPARC) with U. Durham - schools material on Boulby (£100K)
TV work: e.g. for BBC TV “Steven Hawking’s Universe”, “Horizon", Channel 4 TV "The Universe"
Radio: e.g. for national BBC Radio 4 “Science Now”, “Today Programme”, "Cosmic Quest"
Media: e.g. for Sunday Times, Financial Times, Sunday Telegraph, Telegraph and local press
Politicians: talks to three UK science ministers, UK chief scientist and deputy prime minister (2014)
|Recent Spin out, Industry and Interdisciplinary Activity, Community Service||2012-2016: Co-PI, instigator – Carbon Sequestration DECC programme (DECC award ~£1.5M)
2012-2016: PI Business Fellowship ISP (STFC/University ~ £300K)
2011-2015: PI “Deep Carbon” muon tomography to monitor deep CO2 storage, £200K award
2012-2015: PI Project NIFT neutron imaging for security (Leverhulme Trust ~£0.1M)
2008-2010: PI deep underground geo-engineering (AAE Ltd., CPL), £100K EU/AAE Ltd. award 2006-2011: PI neutron portal detectors for nuclear security (Corus Ltd.), PhD student
2007-2001: Neutron security detectors (UK Home Office) awarded us ~£250K; anti-terrorism detectors (EPSRC) awarded £900K for neutron security imaging project
2007-2009: PI, Chair of University’s interdisciplinary business network on Crime and Security Detectors awarded two year University Business Research Fellow post (£100K)
|International Leadership, Research Recognition, Organisation of International Conferences||
|International Scientific Refereeing and Editorials Boards Examples Recent Examples||
|Recent selected papers||1. First Search for a Dark Matter Annual Modulation Signal with NaI(Tl) in the Southern Hemisphere by DM-Ice17. E. Barbosa de Souza, J. Cherwinka….N.J.C. Sooner et al., accepted in Phys. Lett. B. (2016) arXiv:1602.05939.
2. Muon-induced background to proton decay with large underground liquid argon TPC detectors. J. Klinger, V.A. Kudryavtsev, M. Richardson and N.J.C. Spooner. Phys.Lett. B746 (2015) 44-47.
3. Cryogenic Gaseous PMT for Position Reconstruction of Liquid Argon Scintillation Light. B. Lopez Paredes, C.D.R. Azevedo… N.J.C. Spooner et al., JINST 10 (2015) 07017.
4. First Background-free limit from a directional dark matter experiment. J.B.R Battat…N.J.C. Spooner et al., Phys. Dark Univ. 9/10 (2014) 1-7.
5. The Mass-hierarchy and CP-violation discovery reach of the LBNO long-baseline neutrino experiment. S.K. Agarwalla et al., JHEP 1405 (2014) 094.
6. Long-term study of backgrounds in the DRIFT-II directional dark matter experiment. E. Daw…N.J.C. Spooner et al., JINST 9 (2014) 07021.
7. Monitoring subsurface CO2 emplacement and security of storage using muon tomography. V.A. Kudryavtsev, N.J.C. Spooner, J. Gluyas, M. Coleman, Int. J. Greenhouse Gas Control 11 (2012) 21.
8. A search for the dark matter annual modulation in South Pole ice. J. Cherwinka….N.J.C. Spooner et al., Astropart. Phys. 35 (2012) 749.
9. Dark matter limits from the DRIFTIId experiment at Boulby. E. Daw… N.J.C. Spooner et al., Astropart. Phys. 35 (2011) 100.
10. Simulations of head-tail directionality for dark matter. N.J.C. Spooner et al., Astropart. Phys. 34 (2010) 284.
11. The case for a directional dark matter detector. S. Ahlen…. N.J.C. Spooner et al., Int. J. Mod. Phys. A25 (2010) 51.
12. Optical readout tracking detector concept using secondary scintillation from liquid argon. P.K. Lightfoot… N.J.C. Spooner, JINST 4:P04002 (2009).
|Summary of Research Activity and Achievements||Dark Matter: I was a pioneer of dark matter direct detection techniques, the first to demonstrate simultaneous detection of phonons and ionisation in silicon at mK temperatures and the first to seriously explore nuclear recoil direction sensitive techniques. This has developed into the DRIFT experiment and the new CYGNUS global consortium that I chair. I led the NAIAD dark matter experiment that was an early world-leader in the field. I was founder of the UK’s Boulby Underground Laboratory and PI of the first major investment there, the Palmer Lab. Current research activity focuses on long-standing efforts in Particle Astrophysics towards discovery of WIMP dark matter by direct search experiments, in particular through the DRIFT-CYGNUS directional programme and use of Boulby and other deep underground facilities. This includes, directional data analysis, R&D on gas TPCs, low background efforts on radon and surface contamination, design and operation of large directional WIMP search devices. Efforts are also underway with the DM-ICE scintillator-based annual modulation at the South Pole using trail detectors built by us.
Neutrino Physics: I was a UK pioneer in liquid argon technology for neutrino detection and have lead group efforts on liquid argon detectors for long baseline neutrino physics, DUNE, SBND, ArgonCUBE. Key work is on development of GEM readout technology and work on cosmic background simulations, also relevant to proton decay and astrophysical neutrinos.
Detector Technology spin-out: I lead a group activity in developing particle physics technology for societal benefit. This includes large projects on muon tomography for carbon sequestration, work on muon propagation simulations and cosmic ray induced backgrounds. Also nuclear security application using neutron imaging technology and developments for medical PET/SPECT.
Underground Physics and Low Background: As original founder of the Boulby underground site I am active developing low background underground physics. Notable is new work on radon mitigation and ultra-sensitive detection. I am director of the spin-out company Durridge Ltd. spun-out from this.