Littlejohn Group Homepage
Experimental Neutrino Physics at IIT

Bryce Littlejohn

Assistant Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology

blittlej (at) iit dot edu

The Littlejohn group's research at Illinois Institute of Technology is dedicated to detecting and studying neutrinos, light neutral Standard Model particles with some very remarkable properties. Neutrinos are produced in massive quantities by burning and exploding stars, and on Earth by nuclear reactors and particle accelerators, among other things. They travel the universe at nearly the speed of light, changing flavor and passing directly through most of the matter they encounter. By detecting neutrinos and measuring their properties, physicists can learn a great deal about the Standard Model as well as the objects and processes that created them.

Some of our work has focused on measurement of reactor antineutrinos created at a nuclear generating station near Shenzhen, China. This effort, the Daya Bay Expermiment, has measured the neutrino flavor oscillation parameter θ13 to world-leading precision, an accomplishment recognized with the 2015 Breakthrough Prize, as well as with Science magazine's designation as one of the top scientific breakthroughs of 2012. In addition, we have also precisely measured the absolute spectrum and flux of the reactor antineutrinos, which has raised new questions about the pathways for neutrino production in a nuclear reactor core.

The group's work has also focused on investigating the existence of sterile neutrinos, hypothesized particles even more elusive than their Standard Model neutrino relatives. The group is working on the MicroBooNE and SBND experiments, which use liquid argon time projection chamber technology to capture impressively precise 2D and 3D snapshots of accelerator neutrino interactions and stringently test existing hints for the existence of sterile neutrinos. In addition, the group is leading development efforts for the PROSPECT experiment, a ton-scale scintillating segmented detector to be deployed at the HFIR research reactor, which would probe sterile neutrino hints from a completely different experimental angle while also shedding more light on the reactor neutrino production issues raised by Daya Bay.

See the links above for more information about the group and its past accomplishments and current research efforts in neutrino physics.