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:

Past Scientific Projects: Microwave Detection of Air Showers (MIDAS)
 
Talks, Lectures, & Workshops

 
Currently in Committees
  • Fellowship committee
  • Executive committee

 
KICP Publications
2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008


Latest Journal Publications
  1. "Spectral Calibration of the Fluorescence Telescopes of the Pierre Auger Observatory", arXiv:1709.01537 (Sep 2017)
  2. "The Fluorescence detector Array of Single-pixel Telescopes: Contributions to the 35th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC 2017)", arXiv:1708.01379 (Aug 2017)
  3. "Measurement of low energy ionization signals from Compton scattering in a charge-coupled device dark matter detector", Physical Review D, Volume 96, Issue 4, id.042002 (Aug 2017)
  4. "The Pierre Auger Observatory: Contributions to the 35th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC 2017)", arXiv:1708.06592 (Aug 2017)
  5. "US Cosmic Visions: New Ideas in Dark Matter 2017: Community Report", arXiv:1707.04591 (Jul 2017)
  6. "A measurement of the ionization efficiency of nuclear recoils in silicon", Journal of Instrumentation, Volume 12, Issue 06, pp. P06014 (2017) (Jun 2017)
  7. "Multi-resolution anisotropy studies of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays detected at the Pierre Auger Observatory", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, Issue 06, article id. 026 (2017) (Jun 2017)
  8. "Measurement of low energy ionization signals from Compton scattering in a CCD dark matter detector", arXiv:1706.06053 (Jun 2017)
  9. "First Direct-Detection Constraints on eV-Scale Hidden-Photon Dark Matter with DAMIC at SNOLAB", Physical Review Letters, Volume 118, Issue 14, id.141803 (Apr 2017)
  10. "Search for photons with energies above 1018 eV using the hybrid detector of the Pierre Auger Observatory", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, Issue 04, article id. 009 (2017) (Apr 2017)
  11. "Combined fit of spectrum and composition data as measured by the Pierre Auger Observatory", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, Issue 04, article id. 038 (2017) (Apr 2017)
  12. "A Targeted Search for Point Sources of EeV Photons with the Pierre Auger Observatory", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 837, Issue 2, article id. L25, 7 pp. (2017) (Mar 2017)
  13. "Muon Counting using Silicon Photomultipliers in the AMIGA detector of the Pierre Auger Observatory", arXiv:1703.06193 (Mar 2017)
  14. "Calibration of the Logarithmic-Periodic Dipole Antenna (LPDA) Radio Stations at the Pierre Auger Observatory using an Octocopter", arXiv:1702.01392 (Feb 2017)
  15. "Can transition radiation explain the ANITA event 3985267?", Physical Review D, Volume 95, Issue 4, id.043004 (Feb 2017)
  16. "Ultrahigh-energy neutrino follow-up of gravitational wave events GW150914 and GW151226 with the Pierre Auger Observatory", Physical Review D, Volume 94, Issue 12, id.122007 (Dec 2016)
  17. "Measurement of the low-energy quenching factor in germanium using an 88Y/Be photoneutron source", Physical Review D, Volume 94, Issue 12, id.122003 (Dec 2016)
  18. "Evidence for a mixed mass composition at the 'ankle' in the cosmic-ray spectrum", Physics Letters B, Volume 762, p. 288-295 (Nov 2016)
  19. "Testing Hadronic Interactions at Ultrahigh Energies with Air Showers Measured by the Pierre Auger Observatory", Physical Review Letters, Volume 117, Issue 19, id.192001 (Nov 2016)
  20. "Search for low-mass WIMPs in a 0.6 kg day exposure of the DAMIC experiment at SNOLAB", arXiv:1607.07410 (Jul 2016)

Latest Conference Proceedings
  1. "The FAST Project - A Next Generation UHECR Observatory", RICAP16, 6th Roma International Conference on Astroparticle Physics, Roma, Italy, Edited by Morselli, A.; Capone, A.; Rodriguez Fernandez, G.; EPJ Web of Conferences, Volume 136, id.02015 (Mar 2017)
  2. "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)
  3. "The DAMIC dark matter experiment", Proceedings of the 34th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC2015). 30 July - 6 August, 2015. The Hague, The Netherlands. Online at http://pos.sissa.it/cgi-bin/reader/conf.cgi?confid=236, id.1221 (Jul 2015)
  4. "First results from a prototype for the Fluorescence detector Array of Single-pixel Telescopes", Proceedings of the 34th International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC2015). 30 July - 6 August, 2015. The Hague, The Netherlands. Online at http://pos.sissa.it/cgi-bin/reader/conf.cgi?confid=236, id.323 (Jul 2015)
  5. "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)
  6. "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)
  7. "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)
  8. "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)
  9. "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)
  10. "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)

 
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)