Particle Physics and Particle Astrophysics

Knowledge Exchange Activity

The group has a strong history of KE activity including many PIPSS, strong links with local and national industry, government bodies, MOD, Home Office, RCs other than STFC and the EU FP6/7 programmes. Of note, in 2006 the University awarded us a rare HEFCE/EU business research fellowship to promote our spinout of detector activity into the security industry. Our integration of hardware and software work crossing accelerator physics and particle astrophysics, including responsibility at the UK's Boulby deep underground laboratory, provides excellent KE potential, building on core skills, particularly in detector hardware. Other in-house infrastructure, including a unique neutron beam facility, have also been promoted for KE use by industry. Some examples follow:

Boulby and particle astrophysics spin-out

We have spearheaded moves to spread knowledge, and hence the user-base, of the Boulby Underground Facility, away from dark matter experiments, successfully helping turn it into the UK's site for Underground Science. This included: instigation/organisation of the BUS2006 conference on Underground Science; leadership in the FP6 ILIAS networking EU deep labs; development of stronger cooperation with mine company CPL; development of new non-STFC projects. BUS attracted bioscience, geo-science, environmental science and industrial interest including spinout of new project SKY (environmental science - Danish RC/EPSRC funded) and ELENA (nuclear astrophysics). ILIAS produced new geophysics/low background experiments and spread our expertise in lab safety, background techniques and management across Europe. CPL cooperation has allowed design of a new large multi-science detector facility with award of FP7 funds LAGUNA. Joint EU lobbying with CPL aided Boulby expansion plans with RDAs and geophysics groups, awarded £1M for a new deep geophysics lab.

Security and crime detection network and detectors - HMO/EPSRC

Using our expertise in low background detectors, particularly neutrons, from dark matter work, we have spun this into the homeland security area. EPSRC, HMO, HEFCE and industry projects have been successful, including with CORUS Ltd. sponsorship of a student; a large EPSRC contract to develop new neutron portal detectors; an HMO contract for latter; a 2 year HEFCE business fellowship award producing links with >20 companies; new interdisciplinary partnership with departments of Law, Computing, Electronic Engineering and Control Engineering, with Leverhulme application; new security projects with EEV Ltd.

Neutrino physics and neutrino astrophysics spin-out

More KE has been possible here from our novel neutrino detector work including: spinout from MICE/UKNF work on diamond-like carbon films for bearings to TecVac Ltd. and our Tribology department; from dark matter work, a PIPSS with Electron Tubes Ltd. successfully producing a new PMT with integral metal flange for cryogenic liquids; from T2K/future JPARC a strong partnership with Technodyne Ltd. (world leader in LPG technology) with joint FP7 funding and a patent (pending) for a new cryogenic pump technology.

Economic Impact

We believe our KE activity has clear economic and social impact. For instance, support for CPL has aided their future (4000 jobs); success with the security/portal project should reduce costs in this £100Ms industry by 25%; Liquid Argon and ACORNE work has aided the UK's LPG industry (Technodyne) and our national defence (MOD).

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