Adrian Lee, Professor

Closed (1) Research in Cosmology Instrumentation

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

Observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation reveal a wealth of information about the universe. Current observations have revealed the curvature of space, density of baryons and matter, the age of the universe, and many other cosmological measurements.

The next generation of CMB experiments may be able to cast new light on the origin and fate of the universe. Measurements of the CMB polarization may provide information on inflation (a popular theory wherein the universe expands faster than the speed of light for a
fraction of a second after its birth) by observing the imprint of inflationary gravity waves. Surveys capable of seeing the CMB signature of galaxy clusters will provide measurements of the (mysterious) dark energy equation of state-- providing information about the fate of the universe.

A team of physicists at UC Berkeley and LBNL are developing experiments based on a new generation of large format (kilopixel) millimeter-wave imaging arrays. Several research tasks
associated with this instrumentation development activity are appropriate for undergraduate researchers. These include (1) work with detector testing including optical and electronic work, (2) software algorithm development and coding, and (3) construction of electronics used to instrument the large arrays.

Qualifications: Applicants should be in their second year, third, or fourth year of a physics or engineering program. Experience computer programming, an ability with hands-on hardware work, and analog and/or digital electronics are desirable. Expect to work at on campus a minimum of 9 hours/week, with some additional time spent reading background material.

Weekly Hours: 9-12 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: Leconte Hall

Related website: http://bolo.berkeley.edu/polarbear/

Closed (2) Research in Cosmic Microwave Background at LBNL

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is a unique window to fundamental physics. It can be used to probe primordial gravitational waves, which are a distinct sign that the early universe has experienced an exponentially rapid expansion at its age of ~10^-32 seconds. The CMB photons also probe the properties of "dark" contents of universe: neutrinos, dark energy, dark matter, and dark radiation.

Akito Kusaka's group at LBNL (http://www-astro.lbl.gov/akito/) has an opportunity for a student to participate in research on CMB observation and its instrumentation. Possible research topics include: participation in the Simons Array experiment (one of the most sensitive CMB observatories under construction) through instrument development and data analysis, analyses combining CMB data and other cosmological probes such as optical surveys, and development of new technologies for next generation CMB experiments. The research activities involve sub-K cryogenics, superconducting detector technologies, electronics, programming, numerical algorithm development, and supercomputation using LBNL/NERSC system.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Akito Kusaka

Qualifications: Applicants should be in physics or engineering program. It is desirable for applicants to have experience in computer programing, hardware and machining works, and/or digital/analog electronics works. The expectation is for a student to work more than 9 hours a week at the site, although there may be exceptions depending on specific projects.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Off-Campus Research Site: LBNL, building 50 (Physics Division)

Related website: http://www-astro.lbl.gov/akito/

Closed (3) Instrumentation Development for next generation Cosmic Microwave Background experiment at LBNL

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

Precision measurement of Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) have been a spectacular success. Measurement of CMB spectrum that beautifully matched to a black body spectrum confirmed the big bang model of the universe. Measurement of small temperature fluctuations within CMB allowed us to learn about geometry of universe, existence of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, and much more. Great successes lead to fascinating questions with deep implications for physics. Why is the spatial curvature of universe flat? Why do non-causally connected regions emit radiation with black body temperatures differing by only 0.01%? The Inflation theory provides an elegant explanation for these questions by hypothesizing that the universe underwent an era of rapid expansion in its first instants.

Scientists from around the world are working together to build experiments to look for a signature from the era of rapid expansion in CMB. There is opportunities at Aritoki Suzuki's group at LBNL to participate in development of next generation instrumentation for current and future CMB experiments. Our group specializes in development of superconducting millimeter wave detectors, readout electronics and millimeter wave optics.

1) Development of cryogenic test setup - student will learn how to design, assemble and use cryogenic apparatus. Cryogenics is a key technology for many fields in physics.

2) Design of superconducting detectors to meet requirement of next generation experiment - Student will explore different detector designs to optimize its performance using 3D EM simulator. Once promising design is identified, we will fabricate proto-type detector. We will then characterize and compare its performance to a simulation. Student will learn microwave engineering, basics of super conductivity and micro-fabrication.

3) Participate in design and test of readout electronics - Student will design high frequency (1 MHz ~ 100 MHz) superconducting electronics for next generation readout. Student will learn how to design, build and test high frequency electronics in cryogenic environment.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Aritoki Suzuki

Qualifications: Sophomore to senior class level is a requirement. Student should want to pursue a physics, engineering physics, or engineering major. Desirable if student has taken Physics 7B and Physics 110 (A/B), but not required. Hands on experience with tools are also desirable.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

Off-Campus Research Site: LBNL, building 50 (Physics Division)

Related website: http://bolo.berkeley.edu/polarbear/
Related website: https://simonsobservatory.org/