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Prof. Marie-Cécile Piro

University of Alberta
Date of Live Presentation: tba
Location: tba


Shedding light on Dark matter with the PICO experiment


Astronomical and cosmological observations strongly suggest that most of the matter in the Universe is non-luminous and made of an unknown substance called dark matter (DM). Even if its direct detection escaped to the scientific community in our time, DM is a fundamental concept that could explain how our Universe formed and helps to restore the mismatch between what we observed and what we predicted. Over the last decade, dark matter detection techniques have been improving pushing the sensitivity to unprecedented levels. The PICO collaboration is one of the leading experiments in direct dark matter searches using the bubble chamber technique. Installed at 2km underground the PICO experiment is currently being assembled and installed for the starting the exciting race of the dark matter search in March 2019. After giving an introduction of the evidences of dark matter and describing the diverse experimental techniques, the PICO experiment will be presented. The current and future stage of the collaboration in the context of the global dark matter search will also be discussed.

Short bio

Dr. Piro received her PhD in 2012 in experimental particle physics at Université de Montréal with the PICASSO collaboration working with superheated liquid detectors installed at SNOLAB underground laboratory. She continued her quest of dark matter aa postdoctoral associate in France within the EDELWEISS group working with High Purity Germanium (HPGe) bolometer searching for dark matter. Her work was between two institutions renowned for their expertise in solid-state physics and cryogenics. She moved in US to work as a research associate with the XENON1T experiment and spent two year in Gran Sasso in Italy for the complete commissioning of the detector. She was the expert on-site of the purification system for the experiment. Dr. Piro is now a faculty member at University of Alberta since 2017 and she continue her search for dark matter with the PICO, DEAP and NEWS-G experiments as a leader in gas purification to reduce the background level of the detectors and data analysis to understand the behave of the detectors. Combining technologies for developing new detectors and extract the interesting signals in order to solve the mysteries of the Universe is her main interest.

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