APPLICATION DEADLINE: Wednesday, February 8th, 2023


Brief description:

The Experimental Particle Astrophysics Group at Queen’s University has openings for undergraduate summer
researchers in summer 2023. The group is actively involved in the design, construction, and operation of nextgeneration
experiments that seek to answer fundamental questions in particle physics and astrophysics, including
searches for dark matter particles, studies of neutrinos and neutrino properties, and investigations into advanced
detector technologies. Much of our experimental work takes place at SNOLAB, the world-leading particle
astrophysics laboratory located 6800’ underground in Vale’s Creighton mine, near Sudbury (see
Some of the summer research activities could take place at SNOLAB.

The following experiments anticipate hiring one or more students this summer. Please send a cover letter, a cv,
and a copy of a recent transcript by e-mail (using subject line “Queen’s Summer Student 2023 Application: NAME
OF STUDENT”) to the contact for each of the experiments you are interested in. Successful candidates will have
strong academic records in Physics, Engineering Physics, Chemistry, or a related discipline and will have some
relevant experience demonstrating potential for research. Students eligible for NSERC USRA or other fellowship
support are strongly encouraged to apply.

DEAP and DarkSide are large-scale liquid argon experiments that use the unique properties of liquid argon
scintillation to search for extremely rare dark matter interactions. DEAP is based at SNOLAB and has already
acquired 3 years’ worth of data. DarkSide is a next-generation experiment, and will be the first direct dark matter
experiment to fully instrument the detector with novel quantum sensors called Silicon Photomultipliers (SiPMs).
Opportunities available to students include analysis of DEAP data as well as assistance with data-taking, and
simulating and testing the data acquisition system for DarkSide in conjunction with colleagues at TRIUMF. There is
also the opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience, using a small cryostat facility in our lab at Queen’s
to measure various properties of different detector materials used by DEAP and DarkSide.
Contact: Fred Schuckman (

NEWS-G has developed novel spherical gas detectors that are exceptionally sensitive to low energy interactions. A
large volume spherical detector has been built and is currently being installed underground at SNOLAB to search
for low-mass dark matter particles and other rare low energy interactions. Prototype detectors are currently being
built and tested at the Queen's NEWS-G lab. Summer positions are available to assist with the data taking at SNOLAB
and Queen's, with the dark matter search and calibration data analysis, and with the development and testing of
novel detector technologies.
Contact: Guillaume Giroux (

PICO searches for dark matter using bubble chambers. In these detectors, the superheated liquid undergoes phase
transitions when recoiling nuclei from WIMP interactions deposit energy in the fluid. These phase transitions are
detected using sensitive piezo-electric transducers and video cameras. PICO-40L is the current phase of the
experiment and is currently being commissioned underground at SNOLAB. The next phase of the experiment, PICO-
500, is currently in the design stage. Potential summer positions include assisting with the detector operation, dark
matter search and calibration data analysis, and design and testing of PICO-500 components.
Contact: Tony Noble (

LiquidO is a new particle detection technique which uses an “opaque” liquid scintillator to confine light near the
points of energy deposition (by particle interactions). The light gets collected by wavelength-shifting fibres and
detected by silicon photomultipliers. A small testbench detector is being constructed to study/optimize the
properties of this detector.
Contact: Mark Chen (

SNO+ will study fundamental properties of neutrinos using a 780 tonne liquid scintillator target. The experiment is
currently operating at SNOLAB. Potential summer research activities include data analysis, assisting in the
preparation of calibration systems and calibration sources, participating in the development of tellurium process
systems and procedures, and operating the detector during data taking.
Contact: Alex Wright (

HELIX (High Energy Light Isotope eXperiment) is a balloon experiment designed to measure cosmic ray light
isotopes, especially the beryllium isotopes, at an altitude of ~40 km. As the Beryllium-10 isotopes are known to
decay with a half-life of 5 million years, comparing the flux of this isotope with a stable isotope of Beryllium-9 can
provide essential information to understand the lifetime of cosmic rays within our Galaxy. HELIX is a magnet
spectrometer with a 1 Tesla superconducting magnet and particle detectors measuring the timing, position, and
charge of cosmic rays as they pass through the detector (using time-of-flight, a drift chamber, and a ring imaging
Cherenkov counter). HELIX aims to have a scientific flight at Kiruna, Sweden or Antarctica in 2023-2024. Potential
summer positions include assisting the detector performance checks, a thermal design for the near-space or space
payload, R&D studies for the future detector components for the next HELIX flight, and propagation of cosmic ray
simulation. The thermal design work and detector supporting system modularization may connect to a MITAC
application with the space industry, StarSpec.
Contact: Nahee Park (

SBC (the Scintillating Bubble Chamber) searches for dark matter using a bubble chamber with a scintillating active
fluid. Currently commissioning a test chamber at Fermilab, the dark matter detector will be installed at SNOLAB.
This summer we are looking for several students to work on different areas of the project. The first is work on the
molecular dynamics based simulation of interactions in the detector, and the second is the thermodynamic
simulation of the SNOLAB chamber. Students interested in a more “hands on” project could be involved with the
installation, commissioning, and analysis of data from a test stand at Queen’s.
Contact: Ken Clark (