Paolo Privitera

Professor

Ph.D., Physics, Karlsruhe, Germany, 1993
 
Contact Information
Phone: (773) 702-2983
Location: ERC 473
Email: priviterkicp.uchicago.edu
WWW: Web Site
 
Research
Fluorescence detector Telescopes consist of a mirror array and phototube camera.
The origin of Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECRs, >1019 eV) is a fascinating long-lasting mystery of particle astrophysics. What physical mechanism can produce or accelerate particles to energies 10 billion times higher than the man-made LHC beam? Whether the answer is to be found in the most extreme objects of the universe (e.g. Active Galactic Nuclei powered by blackholes) or in exotic new fundamental particle physics (e.g. cosmological strings), our view of the energy frontier in particle astrophysics will be challenged. To detect these rare particles, the Pierre Auger Observatory covers 3000 km2 in the province of Mendoza, Argentina - the largest cosmic ray detector ever built. Privitera has given major contributions to the design, construction and data analysis of the Fluorescence Detector, which measures the fluorescence light from the nitrogen molecules excited by the cosmic ray shower particles along their path in the atmosphere. Privitera also led the AIRFLY experiment to the most accurate measurement of the nitrogen fluorescence yield and its pressure, temperature and humidity dependence. Currently, Privitera’s group is pushing next generation UHECRs detectors, by exploring the potential of microwave emission from the cosmic ray shower, and developing a compact Fluorescence Detector. In addition, the group is preparing for a major upgrade of the Auger Observatory, which will include a giant array of scintillator detectors.

The nature of Dark Matter - five times more common in the universe than ordinary matter according to astrophysical and cosmological evidence – is still eluding our understanding. A compelling hypothesis invokes yet unknown Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) as a major component of Dark Matter. Privitera is searching for WIMPs with the DAMIC (Dark Matter In CCDs) experiment at the SNOLAB underground laboratory in Sudbury, Canada. DAMIC employs mm-thick CCDs of unprecedented low energy threshold (few tens of eV) to detect nuclear recoils from low mass WIMPs. Privitera’s group plays a major role in the experiment, now undergoing installation of a 100 g detector which will probe a large, so far unconstrained range of WIMP masses and interaction cross- sections. Privitera is also performing measurements of the nuclear recoil ionization efficiency in silicon down to sub-keV energy, essential for a proper interpretation of WIMP limits.

As an experimental particle physicist, Privitera worked for the DELPHI experiment at the LEP e+ e- collider (CERN, Geneva), with main contributions in the measurement of the properties of the Z and W bosons, in the physics of the τ lepton and of the b quark.

Selected talks:
  • "Tuning the radio to ultra-high energy cosmic rays", Astroparticle Physics Colloquium, University of Paris VII, June 1, 2011
  • "Tuning the radio to ultra-high energy cosmic rays", Physics Colloquium, Colorado School of Mines, Apr. 5, 2011
  • Tuning the radio to ultra-high energy cosmic rays”, Physics Colloquium, University of Chicago, Jan. 13, 2011
  • "Cosmic Rays at the Energy Frontier", Aspen Winter Conference on Particle Physics, Aspen, Colorado, US, Feb. 13-18, 2011
  • "Microwave Detection of Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays", International Symposium on the Recent Progress of Ultra-high Energy Cosmic Ray.Observation, Nagoya, Japan, Dec. 10-12, 2010
  • "Measurement of air fluorescence yield by AIRFLY", International Symposium on the Recent Progress of Ultra-high Energy Cosmic Ray Observation, Nagoya, Japan, Dec. 10-12, 2010
  • "The MIDAS experiment: MIcrowave Detection of Air Showers", CRIS 2010, Catania, Italy, Sept. 15-18, 2010
  • "Recent results from the Pierre Auger Observatory", XVI International Symposium on Very High Energy Cosmic Ray Interactions (ISVHECRI 2010), Fermilab, Batavia, IL, US, June 28- July 2, 2010


Ongoing Scientific Projects:
 
Talks, Lectures, & Workshops

 
KICP Publications
2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008


Latest Journal Publications
  1. "Evidence for a mixed mass composition at the 'ankle' in the cosmic-ray spectrum", Physics Letters B, Volume 762, p. 288-295 (Nov 2016)
  2. "First direct detection constraints on eV-scale hidden-photon dark matter with DAMIC at SNOLAB", arXiv:1611.03066 (Nov 2016)
  3. "Multi-resolution anisotropy studies of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays detected at the Pierre Auger Observatory", arXiv:1611.06812 (Nov 2016)
  4. "Testing Hadronic Interactions at Ultrahigh Energies with Air Showers Measured by the Pierre Auger Observatory", arXiv:1610.08509 (Oct 2016)
  5. "Search for ultrarelativistic magnetic monopoles with the Pierre Auger observatory", Physical Review D, Volume 94, Issue 8, id.082002 (Oct 2016)
  6. "Measurement of the low-energy quenching factor in germanium using an $^{88}$Y/Be photoneutron source", arXiv:1608.03588 (Aug 2016)
  7. "Ultrahigh-energy neutrino follow-up of Gravitational Wave events GW150914 and GW151226 with the Pierre Auger Observatory", arXiv:1608.07378 (Aug 2016)
  8. "Can transition radiation explain the ANITA event 3985267?", arXiv:1606.07059 (Jun 2016)
  9. "The Pierre Auger Observatory Upgrade - Preliminary Design Report", arXiv:1604.03637 (Apr 2016)
  10. "Azimuthal asymmetry in the risetime of the surface detector signals of the Pierre Auger Observatory", arXiv:1604.00978 (Apr 2016)
  11. "Detection of ultra-high energy cosmic ray showers with a single-pixel fluorescence telescope", Astroparticle Physics, Volume 74, p. 64-72 (Feb 2016)
  12. "Transition radiation at radio frequencies from ultrahigh-energy neutrino-induced showers", Physical Review D, Volume 93, Issue 4, id.043010 (Feb 2016)
  13. "The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, the Pierre Auger Observatory and the Telescope Array: Joint Contribution to the 34th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC 2015)", arXiv:1511.02109 (Nov 2015)
  14. "Pierre Auger Observatory and Telescope Array: Joint Contributions to the 34th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC 2015)", arXiv:1511.02103 (Nov 2015)
  15. "The DAMIC dark matter experiment", arXiv:1510.02126 (Oct 2015)
  16. "Status of the DAMIC direct dark matter search experiment", arXiv:1510.00044 (Sep 2015)
  17. "The Pierre Auger Observatory: Contributions to the 34th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC 2015)", arXiv:1509.03732 (Sep 2015)
  18. "Energy Estimation of Cosmic Rays with the Engineering Radio Array of the Pierre Auger Observatory", arXiv:1508.04267 (Aug 2015)
  19. "Erratum: Muons in air showers at the Pierre Auger Observatory: Measurement of atmospheric production depth [Phys. Rev. D 90, 012012 (2014)]", Physical Review D, Volume 92, Issue 1, id.019903 (Jul 2015)
  20. "Searches for Anisotropies in the Arrival Directions of the Highest Energy Cosmic Rays Detected by the Pierre Auger Observatory", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 804, Issue 1, article id. 15, 18 pp. (2015) (May 2015)

Latest Conference Proceedings
  1. "Measurement of radioactive contamination in the CCD’s of the DAMIC experiment", Journal of Physics: Conference Series, Volume 718, Issue 4, article id. 042057 (2016) (May 2016)
  2. "First results from the microwave air yield beam experiment (MAYBE): Measurement of GHz radiation for ultra-high energy cosmic ray detection", UHECR 2012 - International Symposium on Future Directions in UHECR Physics, CERN, Geneva, Edited by K.-H. Kampert; M. Fukushima; R. Engel; B. Pattison; EPJ Web of Conferences, Volume 53, id.08008 (Jun 2013)
  3. "The Air Microwave Yield (AMY) experiment to measure the GHz emission from air shower plasmas", UHECR 2012 - International Symposium on Future Directions in UHECR Physics, CERN, Geneva, Edited by K.-H. Kampert; M. Fukushima; R. Engel; B. Pattison; EPJ Web of Conferences, Volume 53, id.08011 (Jun 2013)
  4. "The AMY experiment to measure GHz radiation for Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Ray detection", Journal of Physics: Conference Series, Volume 409, Issue 1, article id. 012082 (2013) (Feb 2013)
  5. "The Microwave Air Yield Beam Experiment (MAYBE): measurement of GHz radiation for Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays detection", American Physical Society, APS April Meeting 2012, March 31-Apr 3, 2012, abstract #W7.007 (Mar 2012)
  6. "Precise Measurement of the Absolute Fluorescence Yield", INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON THE RECENT PROGRESS OF ULTRA-HIGH ENERGY COSMIC RAY OBSERVATION. AIP Conference Proceedings, Volume 1367, pp. 29-33 (2011) (Sep 2011)
  7. "The MIDAS experiment: A prototype for the microwave emission of Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays", Nuclear Physics B Proceedings Supplements, Volume 215, Issue 1, p. 63-65 (Jun 2011)
  8. "Precise measurement of the absolute yield of fluorescence photons in atmospheric gases", Nuclear Physics B Proceedings Supplements, Volume 212, p. 356-361 (Mar 2011)
  9. "Microwave detection of air showers with the MIDAS experiment", Nuclear Physics B Proceedings Supplements, Volume 212, p. 329-335 (Mar 2011)
  10. "Precise measurement of the absolute yield of fluorescence photons in atmospheric gases", Nuclear Physics B Proceedings Supplements, Volume 212, p. 356-361 (Mar 2011)

 
Visitors
Past Visitors:
  1. Antoine Letessier-Selvon, LPNHE (2015)
  2. Mariangela Settimo, LPNHE, Paris (2015)
  3. Douglas Bergman, University of Utah (2014)
  4. Toshihiro Fujii, Institute for Cosmic Ray Research, University of Tokyo (2014)
  5. Megan Eckart, NASA/GSFC (2013)
  6. Edivaldo Santos, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (2012)
  7. Brenda Dingus, Los Alamos National Laboratory (2010)
  8. Ralph Engel, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (2010)
  9. Matthew Richardson (2010)
  10. Miguel Mostafa, Colorado State University (2009)
  11. Michael Unger, Karlsruher Institut fur Technologie (2008)