Stavros Katsanevas RIP (1953-2022)

We have all been deeply saddened by the death of Stavros Katsanevas last Sunday, 27 November 2022.

Personally, Stavros was an exceptionally nice and positively thinking person, very bright and open-minded, with a very wide spectrum of interests, not only in particle astrophysics, but also in science in general, and beyond, in art, society, philosophy, and even theology. He was a visionary for the field, tirelessly driven by passion for research, until the end.

AstroCeNT/NCAC PAS hosted LIDINE 2022

On 21-23 September the LIDINE 2022 conference (Light Detection in Noble Elements) was held in Warsaw. This year it was organized by Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center (NCAC) and, in particular, by AstroCeNT.
The objective of the LIDINE conference series is to promote discussion between members of the particle and nuclear physics community about detector technologies based on noble elements and their applications such as: dark matter searches, experiments measuring neutrino oscillations, solar and supernova neutrinos, coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering, neutrinoless double-beta decay, neutron EDM, and medical physics.

An annual meeting of the International Scientific Committee was held at AstroCeNT

This summer AstroCeNT is celebrating its fourth anniversary. To sum up our achievements, on 23 June an annual meeting of the International Scientific Committee was held.

While most ISC members participated remotely via zoom, we had the pleasure to host at AstroCeNT Prof. Antoine Kouchner, Director of APC (Paris, France), Prof. Sotiris Loucatos, former Deputy Director of APC, as well as Prof. Rafał Moderski, Director for Science of NCAC PAS.  Two representatives of the Foundation for Polish Science, Kinga Słomińska and Dr Karolina Pakos-Żebrucka, also joined the ISC via zoom.

Minister Rzymkowski visits AstroCeNT

On the 1st of June 2022 AstroCeNT was visited by Dr Tomasz Rzymkowski, Vice Minister of Education and Science. The purpose of the visit of our distinguished guests was twofold: to learn more about the field of particle astrophysics, including the research done at AstroCeNT, and to meet with an initiative group to build in Poland an underground laboratory.

The Vice Minister showed much interest in the initiative and encouraged the group to produce a report with more information about possible sites and about the role that the Polish underground laboratory could play in Polish science and economy, both locally and an international level.

Seismic Sensors group activity

The seismic sensors group (led by Prof. Tomasz Bulik) activities revolve mainly around the gravitational waves theme of the Astrocent project. A detection of gravitational waves in 2015 was a great achievement and led to the opening of gravitational wave astronomy. The advancement of this new branch of particle astrophysics hinges on development and improvement of detectors. The quality of the data is related to monitoring and compensating for a variety of sources of noise. The seismic noise, apart from shaking the test masses in the interferometers, is also a source of the Newtonian – or gravity gradient – noise. This type of noise is due to fluctuations of the local gravity by seismic or sound waves in the medium surrounding the detector.

Ultrapure SiPMs and Associated Readout Electronics group activity

One key physics goal is to use dedicated systems of SiPMs to look for the elusive dark matter in the Universe. In order to achieve extreme sensitivity of detectors, its components themselves must not generate any background that could potentially obscure the signal from dark matter. Another important physics goal is the search for so-called Majorana neutrinos. A similar detection technology enables us to look for this potential feature of neutrinos, which could shed lights on the reasons for why our Universe is mostly made up of matter and not antimatter.

AstroCeNT team participation in ARIA project

On 21-29 November, Dr Masayuki Wada, Dr Masato Kimura, and Dr Azam Zabihi visited the Italian island of Sardinia. Their scientific trip was connected with the ARIA project.

ARIA is a scientific laboratory for distillation of Argon-40, an isotope fundamental for use the medium in dark matter detectors. The project is realized thanks to the collaboration between INFN, National Institute of Nuclear Physics and Regione Sardegna.

Cooperation with INFN on the DarkSide-20k experiment

On 2 October 2021 our colleague Dr Marek Walczak (research group 1) returned from a scientific trip to the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) in Genoa, Italy. He spent three intensive weeks there working on testing the veto Photo Detector Modules and developing software for analyzing data from the tested setups. All this time he collaborated with other INFN scientists from Gemma Testera’s group: Bianca Bottino, Alessio Caminata, Simone Copello and Stefano Davini.