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Nuclear recoils: little things that go bump in the dark

Some forms of radiation and in particular electrically-neutral elementary particles, often interact with matter through a subtle, peculiar mechanism very similar to the opening of a game of pool: they strike a nucleus, which recoils and in turn creates a microscopic ruckus of secondary nuclear recoils nearby. The energies involved can be at the limits of detectability for modern radiation sensors. The practical use of this mechanism of interaction goes back to the discovery of the neutron. Many recent technologies have concentrated on nuclear recoil detection, driven by an interest in exploiting these tiny cataclysms in areas at the forefront of particle physics: the search for dark matter and the miniaturization of (typically huge) neutrino detectors. I will review this subject, looking at its past and foreseeable future.
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The 2021 Welsh Lectures in Physics The 2021 Welsh Lectures in Physics

Departmental Events  Public Talk
Event series  Departmental EventsWelsh Lectures