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Neutrino and Dark Matter Physics

The KATRIN main spectrometer in transit thought a town.

Neutrinos are the most abundant type of particles in the Universe. Neutrinos are electrically neutral and have tiny mass. Neutrinos rarely interact with any material, which makes experimental study of neutrino extremely challenging.

Neutrinos were long thought be massless particles. In fact, in the original form of the Standard Model of Particle Physics, neutrinos had no mass. However, in the late 90's, physicists observed neutrino oscillation, a quantum mechanical effect which would not occur unless neutrinos have mass. Despite the tininess, the neutrino mass has far-reaching implications. For example, the neutrino mass implies that neutrinos played a decisive role in the formation of the Universe. It potentially blurs the distinction between matter and antimatter, which might account for the apparent absence of antimatter. Neutrino physics has been rapidly developing over the last decade since the discovery of neutrino mass. It exerts substantial impact in many areas of physics, including not only nuclear and particle physics but also astrophysics and cosmology.

One of the outstanding questions that currently exists in cosmology is that we know very little about what makes up the universe. Dark matter accounts for about 1/4 of the total matter in the universe, yet its nature and properties are still a mystery. Direct detection of dark matter has yet to be observed.

- Web description provided by Tai Sakuma

 The Neutrino and Dark Matter Group

 The Conrad Research Group



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