Bryce Littlejohn, Ph.D.
Research & Accomplishments
My research 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 my recent research focuses on measurement of of antineutrinos created by nuclear reactors. At a nuclear generating station near Shenzhen, China, my collaboration, Daya Bay, continues to measure the neutrino flavor oscillation parameter θ13 to world-leading precision. In addition, I am helping lead a development effort to build the PROSPECT detector near at the HFIR research reactor, which would probe the existence of sterile neutrinos, hypothesized particles even more elusive than their Standard Model neutrino relatives. Both of these experiments can also teach us more about what actually happens in the heart of a reactor core during its operation, and how we can accomplish at-a-distance monitoring of nuclear reactor operations.
My work has also focused on constructing the MicroBooNE experiment, which uses liquid argon time projection chamber technology (LArTPC) to detect accelerator neutrinos and stringently test existing hints for the existence of sterile neutrinos. Development and demonstration of LArTPC technology is extremely important to the future of the experimental neutrino physics field.
Experimental neutrino physics, nuclear reactor physics, applied neutrino physics for nuclear non-proliferation.
Spectral Measurement of the Electron Antineutrino Oscillation Amplitude and Frequency at Daya Bay. Daya Bay Collaboration. Phys. Rev. Lett. 112 068103 (2014).
PROSPECT: A Precision Reactor Neutrino and Oscillation Spectrum Experiment at Very Short Baselines. Z. Djurcic, and others. arXiv: 1309.7647 (2013).
Experimental Parameters for a Reactor Antieutrino Experiment at Very Short Baselines. K. M. Heeger, B. R. Littlejohn, H. P. Mumm, and M. Tobin. Phys. Rev. D87 073008 (2013).