Spheres sprouting in the lab… (with Jacob & Mike as the gardeners)

Dark Matter-Day-2017-logo

NEWS-G & the Dark Matter Day

On October 31, 2017, the world celebrated the historic hunt for dark matter. Global, regional, and local events were planned on and around that date by institutions and individuals looking to engage the public in discussions about what we already know about dark matter and the many present as well as planned experiments seeking to solve its mysteries.

At Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada

The first international Dark Matter Day organized by CPARCCanadian Particle Astrophysics Research Center – (in collaboration with the Dunlap Institute – University of Toronto) and hosted by Queen’s University was held on October 23rd. The event included public talks featuring several astronomers and physicists who perform cutting-edge research on the subject of dark matter. Before and after the talks, interactive displays were delivered to the public by various dark matter research groups at Queen’s, including three NEWS-G members. Sean Crawford and Jacob Morrison exhibited a NEWS-G detector made of glass along with a live display of data acquisition from a functioning detector, while Daniel Durnford was in charge of presenting a poster summarizing the NEWS-G experiment. The event was a success, with over 200 people learning a bit more about dark matter!

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On the 31st of October, CPARC provided a unique opportunity for 31 students (from grades 10-12) to discover the mysterious subject of dark matter. These students received an introduction to the topic from faculty and students working on dark matter search experiments at Queen’s University. Hadiya Ma, one of our undergraduate summer researchers, gave a presentation on her experience with the NEWS-G team and her adventure in studying physics at the university level, aiming to inspire the next generation of physicists!

Dark Matter Day - Hadiya Ma - Presentation

Newest members @ NEWS-G

We recently welcomed some new faces to the Queen’s University team and as new members of the collaboration, they are going to introduce themselves…

Philippe Gros

“I’m a researcher with a long experience with gaseous detectors, and in particular Time Projection Chambers. I started in Lund, Sweden, with the ALICE TPC at LHC, equipped with MultiWire Proportional Chambers (MWPC). I worked for the International Linear Collider (ILC) project in Saga, Japan, on the TPC prototype equipped with Gas Electron Multipliers (GEMs). Finally, in Palaiseau, France, I used the HARPO TPC, equipped with Micromegas, to measure the polarisation of a gamma ray beam. As a Research Scientist at NEWS-G, I will oversee the operations of the test facility at Queen’s University, as well as the installation, operation and scientific exploitation of the experiment at SNOLAB.” Philippe Gros, Research Scientist

Carolyne Neron“As the new Project Manager for NEWS-G, my main role is to provide assistance to the team in the planning, estimating and execution of the experiment at SNOLAB. I coordinate with work package leaders to provide inputs to project schedule and cost, and assist in technical specifications and documentation for the experiment. I also provide inspection and construction management services.” – Carolyne Neron, Project Manager

Marie Vidal


“I am a PHD student under the supervision of Ryan Martin and Gilles Gerbier. My thesis is about the coherent neutrino scattering. I will mostly work on simulations and designing of the experiment using the NEWS-G SPCs to look for low energy neutrinos from nuclear reactors.”  Marie Vidal, PhD candidate


Jacob Morrison

“My name is Jacob Morrison and I am working with the NEWS-G research group for the coming year as a junior research engineer.  My main focus will be streamlining the electronics and data analysis software incorporated in the group’s spherical gaseous detectors with the hopes of combining it all into one compact device and applying this device to a translucent spherical gaseous detector for outreach purposes.  I recently graduated with a Bachelors of Applied Science in Engineering Physics from Queen’s University and have already worked with the NEWS-G research group for approximately a year, both as a summer student and in conjunction with my senior thesis.”Jacob Morrison, Engineer

NEWS-G @ Rencontres du Vietnam & TAUP

13th Rencontres du Vietnam – Exploring the dark Universe – July 23-29, 2017 – Quy Nhon, Vietnam

The Rencontres du Vietnam on Exploring the Dark Universe will review the current status of the field of Dark Matter research. The conference will see around 100 participants congregate to discuss subjects including:

  • Direct and indirect dark matter search experiments
  • BSM physics and DM candidates
  • Astrophysics and  Cosmology
  • DM searches at the LHC
  • Future detectors

The new International Center of Interdisciplinary Science Education (ICISE) has been constructed in Quy Nhon, Central Vietnam, and inaugurated in August 2013.

Two members of the Collaboration will be attending the conference with the following presentations:

  • Gas detectors for Dark Matter Detection – Daniel Santos (LPSC, Grenoble, France)
  • NEWS-G results and project at SNOLAB – Gilles Gerbier (Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada)

Further information

TAUP 2017 – 15th International Conference on Topics in Astroparticle and Underground Physics – July 24-28, 2017 – Sudbury, ON, Canada

The purpose of the TAUP conference is to bring together theorists and experimentalists working in Astroparticle Physics to review and discuss the status and prospects of the field. TAUP consists of invited review talks, workshop sessions devoted to specific subjects, and poster sessions.

TAUP 2017 LogoTopics covered by the conference are:

  • Cosmology and particle physics
  • Dark matter and dark energy
  • Neutrino physics and astrophysics
  • Gravitational waves
  • High-energy astrophysics and cosmic rays

Pierre Gorel, our collaborator from SNOLAB, member of the TAUP 2017 Organizing Committee, will also participle in presenting 2 sessions about Dark Matter, scheduled as follows:

  • Tuesday, 25th July : Dark Matter 4
  • Thursday, 27th July: Dark Matter 7

Further information

Firsts Results from the NEWS-G direct dark matter search experiment at the LSM

The NEWS-G experiment reports the first results from the search for low-mass WIMPs with SEDINE, a 60cm diameter Spherical Proportional Counter (SPC) prototype operated at the Modane Underground Laboratory (LSM). Competitive constraints were obtained on the spin-independent WIMP-nucleon interaction cross section in the GeV mass range and the most stringent limit ever reported worldwide was set for WIMP masses below 0.6 GeV. Not only do these results confirm the high potential of the novel detection technique of SPCs for light dark matter searches, they are extremely promising for the next phase of the experiment at SNOLAB.

The manuscript is available on the Arxiv (arXiv:1706.04934) and has been submitted to the Astroparticle Physics Journal. (edit: The paper has been published in January 2018.)


NEWS-G @ CAP Congress 2017: May 29 – June 2, 2017

The CAP (Canadian Association of Physicists) Congress is an event whose goal is to showcase and celebrate the achievements of physicists in Canada and abroad.


Queen’s University

This year, the 1 week event hosted by Queen’s University (Kingston, ON, Canada) gathered 650 participants and featured Nobel Prize winner Arthur B. McDonald (Queen’s University).

NEWS-G took the opportunity of this event to report the first results from the search of low-mass WIMPs with SEDINE, a SPC prototype operated at the LSM (Laboratoire Souterrain de Modane). Five NEWS-G members from Queen’s University gave talks covering a wide range of topics such as recent sensor developments, calibration strategies and status of the next phase of the experiment at SNOLAB.

  • “Status of NEWS-G experiment”
    – Gilles Gerbier
  • “Quenching measurements for a spherical detector at COMIMAC”
    – Philippe Di Stefano
  • “Firsts results on the search for low-mass WIMPs with the NEWS-G experiment”
    – Quentin Arnaud
  • “Sensor optimization and gas quality analysis for spherical gas detector operation”
    Alexis Brossard
  • “Calibration schemes for Spherical Gas Detectors”
    – Daniel Durnford

Congratulations to Daniel Durnford (Queen’s University) who was among the “Division Oral Finalists” and got the 2nd place in the Particle Physics Division (PPD) for his talk on calibration strategies for the NEWS-G experiment @ SNOLAB.

Next year, the CAP Congress will take place in Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia (June 11-15, 2018).