Open Positions and Research Topics


  • Post-docs

Positions currently open only for post-docs with pre-established funding.
  • Graduate students

Students (MSc, PhD or other) interested in working on the following or related topics are encouraged to contact us:
  • Data analysis for the SuperCDMS experiment
  • Development of cryogenic detectors with background rejection capabilities
  • Novel applications of cryogenic detectors to materials science
See also astroparticle/SNOLAB graduate openings.
Departmental information on applying to Queen's graduate school.
  • PHYSICS 590 topics

    • Dark Counts of Photomultipliers at Low Temperature
      Photomultipliers (PMs) are very sensitive light detectors.  The performance of PMs at low temperature is of great importance for many particle detectors using noble liquids such as Argon and Xenon.  There is however a surprising disagreement in the literature as to the behavior of PMs down to liquid Helium temperature (4 K): some groups find that the dark count noise decreases, whereas other groups find that it increases.  The student carrying out this project will attempt to resolve this disagreement.  The project will involve a review of the literature, the design and execution of some simple relevant experiments, and the analysis and interpretation of the results.
    • Cryogenic Studies of Wavelength Shifters for Particle Detection
    • Wavelength shifters like TPB (tetraphenyl-butadiene) are used by many rare-event searches to convert UV light emitted by an argon detector to the visible range, where it can be detected by standard photomultipliers.  Though many wavelength shifters have been studied at room temperature, they are less well-known at cryogenic temperatures.  We propose to investigate their scintillation properties (spectrum, light yield and timing) down to the temperature of liquid Helium (4 K), another possible detection medium.  The student will review the literature, then prepare, carry out and analyze experiments using a closed-cycle optical cryostat.
  • PHYSICS 455 topics

    • Design of a System to Reduce the Thermal Noise in Photomultipliers 
    • The student will design a system to reduce the dominant thermal noise in photomultipliers (PMs), a type of photodetector.  The system must be compatible with the high voltage used in PMs, and must have a large numerical aperture.  If a cooling option is chosen, provisions must be made to read out and control the temperature of the device, and care must be taken to avoid condensation.
    • Design and operation of a system to cool and study organic liquid scintillators down to 4 K
      The student will design an interface to allow organic scintillators to be cooled in an existing closed-cycle crostat.  The student will make recommendations on what organic scintillators appear most promising at 4 K, based on bibliography and computer simulations, and will operate the system to carry out experimental measurements.
    • Design and construction of a system to study acoustic emission in small samples
      In close liaison with an MSc project, the student will design a system to measure acoustic emission (AE) coming from brittle fracture in small samples.  The system will involve piezoelectric samples to monitor the AE, and force and displacement sensors to measure the load on the sample.  Programming of a data acquisition system capable of reading streams of data minutes long at nanosecond sampling will also be required.  Finally, the student will participate in measurements.
    • Design of a system to create indentations in samples down to mK temperatures
      This topic will involve designing a system to indent samples, at temperatures down to the millikelvin range.  The system can be piezzoelectric-based, for instance.  It will also measure the force being applied on the sample.