About me

View of San Donostia-San Sebastián from Monte Igueldo View of Donostia-San Sebastián from Monte Igueldo.

I am a particle physicist currently working at the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC) as “La Caixa” Junior Leader.

I am a member of the NEXT collaboration, whose goal is to detect a rare kind of radioactive decay called neutrinoless double beta decay, which has never been observed before. The observation of such a process would prove that neutrinos are Majorana particles. This, in turn, would provide an experimental evidence for some theories which are able to explain why the universe is predominantly made of matter and not of antimatter.

I also work on the DUNE experiment, the next-generation largest neutrino experiment currently under construction at Fermilab and at the Sanford Underground Research Laboratory.

Originally from a small town in Apulia, Italy, I moved to Rome where I obtained a Bachelor and a Master in Physics at Sapienza – University of Rome.

During my master thesis I developed the prototype of the electromagnetic calorimeter for the Mu2e experiment, whose goal is to search for the conversion of muon into electron. The observation of a such a process would open a portal into the physics beyond the Standard Model and help understanding why particles in the same category, or family, decay from heavy to lighter, more stable mass states. After the thesis I won a fellowship at the Frascati National Laboratories of the INFN, to continue working on the Mu2e experiment.

I obtained a PhD in Particle Physics in 2019 at the University of Oxford, with a thesis on the search for a low-energy excess of electron neutrinos in the MicroBooNE experiment.

Before joining the DIPC I was a Chamberlain Fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, working on the Mu2e and DUNE experiments.

I enjoy traveling, reading, and eating good Italian food!

Research

NEXT

Picture of the NEXT-White detector

The NEXT experiment is an international collaboration that searches for the neutrinoless double-beta decay at the Canfranc Underground Laboratory (LSC) in Canfranc, Huesca (Spain), under mount Tobazo.

NEXT stands for Neutrino Experiment with a Xenon TPC. The detection concept consists of a Time Projection Chamber filled with high-pressure gaseous Xenon (HPXe-TPC), which exploits the electroluminescence process for the detection of the signal. The detector provides separated-function capabilities for calorimetry and tracking.

The observation of the neutrinoless double-beta decay would prove that neutrinos are their own antiparticles, making them the only Majorana particle in the Standard Model. This property, in turn, would provide an experimental evidence for some theories which are able to explain why the universe is predominantly made of matter and not of antimatter.

DUNE

Schematic representation of the DUNE experiment

The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) is a leading-edge, international experiment for neutrino science and proton decay studies. Discoveries over the past half-century have put neutrinos, the most abundant matter particles in the universe, in the spotlight for further research into several fundamental questions about the nature of matter and the evolution of the universe — questions that DUNE will seek to answer.

DUNE will consist of two neutrino detectors placed in the world’s most intense neutrino beam. One detector will record particle interactions near the source of the beam, at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. A second, much larger, detector will be installed more than a kilometer underground at the Sanford Underground Research Laboratory in Lead, South Dakota — 1,300 kilometers downstream of the source. These detectors will enable scientists to search for new subatomic phenomena and potentially transform our understanding of neutrinos and their role in the universe.

I am working on the prototype of one of the detectors, which employes a 3D pixelated charge readout to detect neutrino interactions.

Mu2e

Schematic representation of the Mu2e detector

The goal of the Mu2e experiment is to search for the conversion of a muon into an electron. Muons are charged leptons like electrons, but around 200 times heavier and with a mean lifetime of 2.2 μs, which is relatively long if compared with other sub-atomic particles.

First discovered in 1936 while studying cosmic rays, muons can be thought as heavy electrons, since they are not subject to the strong nuclear force. The eventual observation of the conversion of a muon into an electron would be a clear signature of physics beyond the Standard Model.

The Mu2e experiment, currently under development at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, will search for the conversion of a muon into an electron by using an artificial, high-intensity proton beam. It is expected to start acquire data in 2025.

MicroBooNE

Event display of a neutrino interaction candidate in the MicroBooNE detector.

Neutrinos are very lightweight particles (their mass is much lower than that of the other known elementary particles) which interact only via the weak subatomic force and gravity. Thus, neutrinos typically pass through normal matter without impediment and they are then very difficult to detect.

During my PhD I worked on the MicroBooNE experiment, a liquid argon time-projection chamber (LArTPC) designed for short-baseline neutrino physics. My research is focused on the appearance of electron neutrinos in the detector. LArTPCs provide extremely detailed pictures of the particles produced in a neutrino interaction and they make possible a broad range of physics measurements.

MicroBooNE was the biggest LArTPC currently active in the world and provided very high-resolution images of the neutrino interactions. The experiment first started collecting neutrino data in October 2015. MicroBooNE has measured low energy neutrino cross sections and investigated the low energy excess events observed by the MiniBooNE experiment.

Resume

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List of publications

Room 2.0.07
Donostia International Physics Center
Donostia–San Sebastián, 20018
Spain

I am a particle physicist currently working at the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC) as “La Caixa” Junior Leader. My research is focused on the study of neutrinos. I am member of the NEXT and DUNE scientific collaborations.

Research experience

Berkeley Lab logo
Donostia International Physics Center
Donostia-San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Spain
9/2022 — pres.
"La Caixa" Junior Leader
  • Run coordinator of the NEXT100 experiment.
  • R&D of wavelength shifting fibers and photodetectors for the NEXT-HD detector.
  • Positron emission tomography with cryogenic CsI crystals.
Berkeley Lab logo
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Berkeley, CA, United States
9/2019 — 9/2022
Owen Chamberlain Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Development of the Mu2e experiment and study of charged lepton flavor violation.
  • DUNE LArTPC near detector prototyping and simulation framework development.
Harvard University logo
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA, United States
Postdoctoral Fellow
4/2019 — 8/2019
Research Fellow
9/2017 — 3/2019
  • Analysis of low-energy electron neutrino-like events in the MicroBooNE experiment.
INFN logo
2/2015 — 9/2015
Postgraduate Fellow
  • Technology choice for the electromagnetic calorimeter of the Mu2e experiment.
Fermilab logo
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Batavia, IL, United States
7/2013 — 9/2013
Summer intern
  • Simulation of electronic pile-up in the calorimeter of the Mu2e experiment.

Education

University of Oxford logo
University of Oxford PhD, Particle Physics
2015 — 2019

Advisor: Prof. Roxanne Guenette, Prof. Alfons Weber
Thesis: Search for a low-energy excess of electron neutrinos in MicroBooNE

Sapienza logo
Sapienza University of Rome Master, Physics
2012 — 2015

Advisors: Prof. Cesare Bini, Dott. Stefano Miscetti
Thesis: Study of requirements and performances of the electromagnetic calorimeter for the Mu2e experiment

Sapienza logo
Sapienza University of Rome Bachelor, Physics
2009 — 2012

Advisor: Prof. Paolo Mataloni
Thesis: Integrated optical circuits for quantum computing

Teaching

Presentation & talks

Invited talks

Conference talks

  • PSMR2024, Cryogenic CsI as a potential PET material , Elba, Italy, May 2024
  • L International Meeting on Fundamental Physics and XV CPAN days, Searching for neutrinoless double beta decay with the NEXT experiment , Santander, Spain, October 2023
  • LIDINE 2023, Towards a fiber barrel detector for next-generation high-pressure gaseous xenon TPCs, Madrid, Spain, September 2023
  • XeSAT 2023, Searching for neutrinoless double beta decay with NEXT, Nantes Université, France, June 2023
  • Neutrino 2022, Demonstration of a novel, ton-scale, single-phase LArTPC with pixelated readout (poster), Seoul, South Korea (remote), May 2022
  • ROOT Users Workshop, Mu2e Analysis Models, May 2022
  • HEP Software Foundation Frameworks Working Group, Mu2e and its Framework Usage, May 2022
  • APS April 2022, Demonstration of a novel, ton-scale, single-phase LArTPC with pixelated readout, New York, United States, April 2022
  • APS April Meeting 2021, Highly-parallelized simulation of a 3D pixelated charge readout for liquid argon time projection chambers, April 2021
  • PHYSTAT-nu 2019, Status of the MicroBooNE low-energy excess and evaluation of the systematic uncertainties (poster), CERN, Switzerland, January 2019
  • Neutrino 2018, Electron-neutrino reconstruction and selection in the MicroBooNE LArTPC using the Pandora pattern recognition (poster), Heidelberg, Germany, June 2018
  • MASS2018, MicroBooNE status and recent results, Odense, Denmark, May 2018
  • APS DPF 2017, Cosmic-ray reconstruction efficiency and detector performances in the MicroBooNE experiment, Fermilab, United States, July 2017
  • WIN 2017, Detector performance and cosmic-ray reconstruction efficiency in MicroBooNE, University of California Irvine, United States, June 2017
  • NNN 2016, Cosmic-ray reconstruction efficiency with the MicroBooNE detector, IHEP, Beijing, November 2016
  • NuPhys 2015, The Muon Counter System of the MicroBooNE experiment, Queen Mary University, London, December 2015
  • IFAE 2015, Characterization of the prototype for the Mu2e electromagnetic calorimeter, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy, Apr. 2015
  • SIF National Congress, The electromagnetic calorimeter of the Mu2e experiment, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy, Sept. 2014

Professional activities

Awards

Outreach & Community