Neutrino Physics



DUNE Experiment
The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) at the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) is a next generation neutrino experiment planning to build a very large scale 40 kt LAr detector to provide unprecedented sensitivity to study neutrinos. The very large detector will be located at the Stanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) at a baseline of 1300 km from the Fermilab neutrino beam. DUNE proposes an immense scientific program and will answer many of the great questions of neutrino physics.

Origin of Matter

Could neutrinos be the reason that the universe is made of matter rather than antimatter? By exploring the phenomenon of neutrino oscillations, DUNE seeks to revolutionize our understanding of neutrinos and their role in the universe.

Unification of Forces

With the world’s largest cryogenic particle detector located deep underground, DUNE can search for signs of proton decay. This could reveal a relation between the stability of matter and the Grand Unification of forces, moving us closer to realizing Einstein’s dream.

Black Hole Formation

DUNE’s observation of thousands of neutrinos from a core-collapse supernova in the Milky Way would allow us to peer inside a newly-formed neutron star and potentially witness the birth of a black hole.
Mainz contributions to DUNE

The Mainz group is contributing to the near detectors of the DUNE complex, which are essential to understand the properties of the neutrino beam and how neutrinos interact with argon.

The process of a neutrino or anti-neutrino interacting with matter can be described by the neutrino exchanging a W- or Z-boson a neutron or proton within the argon nucleus. To understand this process it is not only important to understand the energy/momentum distribution of the argon nucleons, but also on how the particle produced inside the nucleus interact when traversing the nuclear medium of the argon nucleus.

This process will be studied by filling a TPC, a tracking chamber, with argon gas at 10 bar pressure. All, even very low energy charged particles, will leave a curved track in the TPC. Neutral particles like photons and neutrons will be measured with a calorimeter surrounding the TPC. This calorimeter will need to be able to measure the direction and energy of low and high energy photons as well as measuring the velocity of neutrons via their time of flight from the interaction vertex.

We are developing the design, detector technology and electronics for this calorimeter.

DUNE Near Detector

DUNE Near Detector (ND-GAr)

Please have a look here for Bachelor, Master and PhD theses in the ETAP group.

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Prof Alfons Weber

I hold a joint professorship at the University of Mainz and Fermilab and am a visiting professor at the University of Oxford. My main research interest is in neutrino physics, but I am also active in developing electronics and novel detectors.

Fun facts:


I started my career in physics doing a diploma thesis in phenomenology, looking into novel way of detecting relict neutrinos from the big bang, or solar and accelerator neutrinos. After this more theoretical start at the RWTH-Aachen, I switched to experimental physics and did my Ph.D. and first post-doc at the L3 experiment at the LEP collider at CERN. I searched for new particles (but didn't find any) and made precision measurements of the W-boson mass.

I returned to neutrino, when I came to Oxford in 1999. I started to lead the Oxford MINOSgroup, who looks into the phenomenon of neutrino oscillations at Fermilab. We made a precision measurements using muon neutrinos from the NuMI beam line. More information can be found at the Fermilab MINOS page.

Later I joint the T2K experiment in Japan, which looks for electron neutrino appearance in a muon neutrino beam. We were awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for the measurement of neutrino oscillations and even found the first indication that neutrinos and anti-neutrinos don't oscillate in the same way. This process may eventually hold the key to understand why there is more matter than anti-matter in the universe. We need a new generation of experiments to really unlock the secret of the neutrino.

The DUNE Experiment is exact this. This very long baseline neutrino oscillation experiment is located in a neutrino beam that goes from Fermilab for 1300 km to the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF). The DUNE far detector will consist of 70,000 tons of liquid argon and will have an unprecedented sensitivity to measure neutrino oscillation. Its main aim is not only to study the matter anti-matter asymmetry, but to look for neutrino from supernova explosions or for the decay of the proton. I was the UK PI of the project and also leading a team to design the near detector, which is an essential component of the experiment to study the neutrino beam composition and the details of the neutrino interactions. I am the chair of the Institute Board of the International DUNE Collaboration.

I have also developed a novel detector for neutrino and neutron detection. These activities lead to the creation of the SoLid experiment, which searches for sterile neutrinos at the research reactor BR2 in Mol, Belgium.


I was serving on the STFC Science Board that provides advice to STFC Council and the executive on all aspects of STFC's science and technology programme.

I was on the Executive Committee of the MINOS and NOvA Experiments and was the chair of the institutional board and a member of the Executive Committee of the LAGUNA-LBNO design study. I am now the chair of DUNE's Institute board.

I am a member of the LHCC advising the CERN management on the LHC experiments concentrating on CMS and the WLCG. I also serve on the HyperK PAC advicing the University of Tokio and KEK in Japan on the progress of the HyperK Experiment.

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IceCube researchers trace the origin of a neutrino from the depths of the cosmos

Elementary particles originate from three billion light-years distant galaxy / black hole as particle accelerator

original press release

Multimessenger astrophysics has been crowned with success: a research team has for the first time located a cosmic source of high-energy neutrinos. The trigger for the search was a single high-energy neutrino, which had been detected on 22 September 2017 in the ice of Antarctica by the neutrino telescope IceCube. Earth and space telescopes subsequently determined the origin of this elementary particle. It lies in a galaxy three billion light-years distant in the constellation Orion, in which a gigantic black hole naturally accelerates particles. Scientists from 16 astronomical observatories participated in the campaign worldwide. Among the researchers are also Prof. Dr. Sebastian Böser and Prof. Dr. Lutz Köpke from the Institute of Physics of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), which belongs since 1999 to the IceCube consortium. The results of this joint search were recently published in the journal Science.
(Image Martin Wolf, IceCube/NSF, 2017)