Particle Astrophysics at the University of Zürich

Group members

Prof. Laura Baudis (homepage)

Laura Baudis arrived at the UZH in August 2007. She is dedicating her research to answer fundamental questions in particle astrophysics and cosmology. Before moving to Zurich, she spent one year as a professor at the RWTH Aachen University, two years as an assistant professor at the University of Florida, and three years at Stanford University.

She is mainly involved in direct searches for particle dark matter with liquid xenon and cryogenic (mK) Ge and Si detectors, and in the search for the neutrinoless double beta decay in 76-Ge. Prior to moving to California, she spent four years at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg. In Heidelberg, she was involved in the Heidelberg-Moscow experiment, which had the goal to measure the neutrino mass by detecting a very rare nuclear decay in 76-Ge, and in the Heidelberg Dark Matter Search experiment.

Her other passions are her two children, Nathan and Naima.

Dr. Alexander Kish (homepage)

Alex is a Research Associate (Oberassistent) in our group. He joined XENON collaboration in January 2007, when he moved to Aachen following his interest in noble gas particle detectors and in dark matter searches, and did his PhD with the XENON100 experiment and succefully defended at the University of Zurich in 2011. Prior to this he had worked at International Sakharov Environmental University and National Academy of Science in Minsk (Belarus), in the fields of nuclear physics, spin chemistry and radioecology.

He is leading working groups of the XENON1T project, currentl responsible for photosensors and detector calibrations (with radioactive and light sources), and is a member of the GERDA collaboration and the DARWIN Consortium. His main reasearch interests are rare-events searches, such as direct and indirect dark matter detection, neutrino physics, photodetection, noble gas technology, Monte Carlo simulations, low-background techniques, and high-purity germanium detectors.


Dr. Michelle Galloway

Michelle received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley with a focus on gamma-ray spectroscopy and imaging for nuclear astrophysics and environmental monitoring applications. Her interest in observing and understanding the invisible matter in the universe prompted her to join the XENON group in 2014. Her favourite activities are hiking, swimming, and playing music.

Dr. Roman Hiller

Roman works in our group since June 2016, shortly after obtaining his Ph.D. at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, where he worked on Tunka-Rex, an experiment for radio detection of cosmic rays. He is broadly interested in astroparticle physics and currently focuses on rare event searches with Germanium detectors in the framework of the GERDA experiment. Outside of physics, he enjoys playing with his daugther, and, if time permits, does a variety of different sports, like football, climbing and skiing.

Dr. Shingo Kazama

Shingo Kazama has joined our XENON group in April 2016 as a JSPS postdoctoral fellow. He studied physics at the University of Tokyo and did his Ph.D thesis in the ATLAS experiment. His main research interests are the direct detection of dark matter and the discovery of supersymmetric particles.

His favorite activities besides physics are chorus and traveling.

Dr. Shayne E. Reichard

Graduate students

Adam Brown

Adam started his PhD with the group in September 2016 as part of the XENON collaboration. He completed his masters degree at the University of Cambridge, during which time he was worked with the NNPDF parton distribution function collaboration. He is particularly interested in rare events physics including neutrino and, of course, direct dark matter experiments. Besides physics he enjoys cycling and hiking and skiing in the Alps.

Chiara Capelli

Chiara Capelli studied Physics at the University of Milano-Bicocca. She performed her Master thesis on direct measurement of neutrino mass, working on microwave multiplexing read-out optimization for Transition Edge Sensors. She joined the XENON dark matter search project as a PhD student in August 2016. Her main interests are dark matter, neutrino, low temperature physics and R&D activities. In her free time she likes watching movies, playing martial arts and travelling.

Michael Miloradovic

Michael started his PhD in December 2015. He completed his Master degree working in the GERDA Collaboration on the Phase II calibration software and on the development of an Emanation Measurement System. The key issues of modern physics such as the neutrino nature, matter antimatter asymmetry, and dark matter are his main interests. Besides physics, he likes music, sports (water polo, tennis, skiing), literature, and teaching.

Rizalina Mingazheva

Rizalina has joined to our group as a PhD student in July, 2015. During her master research she was actively participating in the software development for the OPERA experiment, with the main focus on track reconstruction algorithms in nuclear emulsion. Rizalina has a strong interest in investigation of fundamental laws in particle physics, discovering neutrinoless double beta decay nature. In her spare time she likes to read books, practice yoga, bike, and do rock climbing.

Francesco Piastra

Francesco Piastra joined our XENON group in March 2012 as PhD student. He studied Pysics at the Universita di Roma 2 and got his degree with a thesis within the VIRGO collaboration. At the Universita di Pisa he did his Masters work on the PLASMONX project for laser-plasma electron acceleration. His main interests in physics are direct dark matter searches and the experimental techniques for detection of rare events and very low signals in general. In the free time he likes swimming, reading history books, travelling around, and exploring new cultures and tracking.

Chloe Ransom

Chloe Ransom studied Physics at the University of Oxford and did her Master's project with the SNO+ group there, working on reconstructing optical scattering positions for the calibration system. She joined our group as a PhD student in September 2016, as part of the GERDA experiment and the Elusives ITN project. She is particularly interested in the possible Majorana nature of the neutrino. Her other interests include cooking, knitting and cycling.

Julien Wulf

Julien Wulf studied Physics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) and did his Masters thesis within the KATRIN Collaboration. He joined our group as a PhD student in September 2014, being involved in the XENON project. His main interests in physics are direct dark matter searches, solid state and semiconductor physics, computational physics and the physics of particle detectors. In his free time he likes athletics, board games, traveling around and skiing.

Master/Bachelor Students

Chris Marentini

Yanina Biondi


Andreas James

Former members

Dr. Jesse Angle spent four years in our group as a graduate student of the University of Florida. He graduated on the XENON10 data. His main topics were material screening with our HPGe detector and Monte Carlo predictions of the XENON10 gamma backgrounds and comparison with data.

Dr. Martin Auger has worked as a postdoc on XENON since late 2012 until the beginning of 2014, and made a strong contribution to the design of the XENON1T TPC and R'n'D projects in our lab.

Dr. Sebastian Arrenberg did his Diploma and his PhD in our group, mainly working on the analysis of CDMS data.

Dr. Ali Askin helped to install the Gator low background facility at LNGS and used it to select appropriate materials to build the XENON100 detector for its PhD thesis. He obtained his PhD in our group in late 2010.

Dr. Peter Barrow worked on the PhD thesis in our group in 2012-2016 via the European INVISIBLES project, and worked on design R&D for XENON1T, data analysis for the XENON100 experiment, and an on the experiment dedicated to the study of radioactive decay rates.

Dr. Annika Behrens did the PhD within the XENON experiment in 2008-2013, working on the development of the voltage divider network for the XENON1T PMTs.

Dr. Giovanni Benato worked on a PhD thesis with the GERDA experiment, where he made important contributions in digital signal processing and improvement of the energy resolution of germanium detectors. He is now a postdoc at Berkeley in the CUORE collaboration.

Dario Biasini worked on his Bachelor thesis in our group, performing Monte Carlo simulations for a neutron scattering experiment with the Xurich-II TPC.

Martin Bissok has finished his Diploma thesis at the RWTH Aachen, working on the XENON experiment.He has started a PhD at RWTH Aachen.

Dr. Tobias Bruch was working in our group for almost 5 years, first as a PhD student on CDMS and later as a PostDoc on GERDA and XENON100.

Enzio Crivelli installed a small neutron monitor on top of the XENON100 shield for his Bachelor thesis. He continued research in LCHb group at UZH.

Sandro D'Amato performed bachelor and master thesis projects in our group dedicated to photosensor (PMT and SiPM) studies.

Hrvoje Dujmovic did his Bachelor thesis in our group, performing electric field simulations for small LXe detectors (in particular Xurich I TPC). He is finishing his masters working on the Xurich II project.

Dr. Alfredo Ferella was PostDoc on our group for many years, in which we was mainly based directly at LNGS. He was involved in XENON, GERDA, and DARWIN. Now, he is a research assoaciate in Stockholm, working on XENON1T.

Dr. Domenico Franco was in the group for two years from 2014-2016, working on the XENON dark matter search experiment.

Dr. Francis Froborg did her PhD on the GERDA experiment. She was heavily involved to the design and installation of the GERDA calibration system and in the determination of the background coming from this system. After a break from reasearch and working in a consulting company, she is back in the field of astroparticle physics as a PostDoc at Princeton, working on the DarkSide project.

Christopher Geis spent half a year (2010/11) in our group to do his diploma thesis in physical engineering, working on the low energy response of LXe detectors. He is doing PhD on the XENON1T experiment in the group of Uwe Oberlack in Mainz.

Andrea Gmuer participated in the tests of phototubes for the XENON1T experiment during his bachelor thesis, and for the masters worked on characterization of SiPMs and the design of a double-phase xenon TPC in our lab.

Dr. Kiran Kumar Guthikonda has worked as a post-doc on GERDA experiment between April 2012 and September 2013. After that he is pursuing his research interests in India.

Dr. Marijke Haffke obtained the degree at the University of Zurich in 2010 within XENON project. Her research topics were measurements of the gamma and neutron background in the LNGS undergoround lab, and Monte Carlo studies of the background for the future XENON1T detector.

Constantin Heidegger being enrolled as a student at ETH, did a semester project with us, working on energy reconstruction in the XENON100 detector using charge-light anticorrelation.

Dr. Gaudenz Kessler worked on the PhD thesis within the XENON dark matter search project until 2016, mainly on the analysis of the XENON100 data and cabling for the XENON1T detector.

Dr. Samuel Leclercq spent two years as a postdoc at the University of Florida, where he worked on the CDMS experiment at Soudan.

Dr. Aaron Manalaysay has worked in our group for 8 years, in Florida, Aachen, LNGS and Zurich. He obtaiend his PhD in 2009 within the XENON10 project, and continued working on R&D for liquid xenon based experiments, and as a member of DARWIN consortium. In Fall 2013 he joined the LUX collaboration at UC Davis.

Dr. Teresa Marrodan Undagoitia worked in our group as PostDoc from 2009 to 2012, working on the XENON dark matter experiment. She now has a permanent research position at MPIK Heidelberg.

Dr. Daniel Mayani Paras worked on the PhD thesis in our group in 2012-2016 as part of the INVISIBLES training network. His main contributions were qualification tests and assembly of the PMT arrays for the XENON1T experiment, and analysis of the backgrounds in XENON100.

Michael Miloradovic did the bachelor thesis with our group, and contributed to the testing of avalanche photodiodes (APDs) for liquid xenon applications. For the master thesis, he worked on calibration software for the GERDA Phase II expriment, and on the development of an emanation measurement system.

Dr. Payam Pakarha was born in Qazvin, Iran, and studied physics at the Sharif University of Technology (Tehran) and then at EPFL (Lausanne). He worked in our group for the M.Sc. and Ph.D. theses, on measurements of nuclear recoil interactions in LXe and photosensor calibration system for XENON1T.

Dr. Joerg Orboeck obtained his PhD at the RWTH AAchen in 2003, and spent two and a half years as a postdoc in our groups at UF and RWTH, working on the XENON experiment.

Benedikt Roidl has studied Aerospace engineering in Aachen and Munich and has graduated in spring 2006. In Aachen, he was involved in the XENON experiment. Currently he is at the Concordial University in Montreal.

Dr. Roberto Santorelli was working on XENON100 and Gerda in our group from 2008 until 2010. Afterwards, he moved as a researcher to Ciemat in Madrid (Spain).

Laura van der Schaaf worked with GeMini, a small germanium detector in our lab, during her dimploma thesis.

Stephan Schulte has finished his Diploma thesis at the RWTH Aachen, working on the XENON experiment. After this, H=he did a PhD on the Pierre Auger experiment with a group in Amsterdam.

Prof. Dr. Marc Schumann worked as an Oberassistent in our group from 2009 to 2013. After several years as an assistant professor for Experimental Astroparticle Physics at the Albert Einstein Center for Fundamental Physics at the University of Bern, he moved as a full professor to University of Freiburg-im_Breisgau, and is working on the XENON and DARWIN research projects. (homepage)

Dr. Michal Tarka did his Diploma thesis on CDMS and his PhD on GERDA within our group. He finished in summer 2012 and went to the USA to work on EXO.

Yiea-Funk Te did his Bachelor thesis on measurements of the radiactive gamma background in the Gran Sasso laboratory, in the context of the XENON project.

Dr. Eirini Tziaferi worked on the XENON100 experiment for two years as a postdoc in Aachen and Zürich.

Dr. Manuel Walter finished his PhD on the GERDA experiment in 2015, with contributions on the liquid argon veto intrumentation, measurements of vacuum quality for various materials, and background reduction techniques based on pulse shape discrimination and noise-frequency analysis.

Dr. Yuehuan Wei After obtaining the PhD from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China with the PandaX expeirment, Yuehuan worked for three years in our group, on design of the XENON1T detector, analysis of the XENON100 and XENON1T data, optical Monte Carlo simulations, event vertex reconstruction algorithms, and qualification tests of the PMTs for XENONnT.

last modified 2017.06.12 by AK