Marie-Cécile Piro

Title: “Why Dark Matter Matters”: Towards the Ultimate Challenges

My research is in particle physics and focuses on addressing the common detection challenges for searches of dark matter (DM) – a crucial element missing in our understanding of the Universe – and provides a unique chance to discover physics beyond the standard model. Experiments aimed at detecting DM interactions utilize detectors with several tons of active mass targets that require an exceptional high-purity environment and a detailed understanding of background signals at extremely low energies. In addition, the coherent scattering of solar neutrinos (CEvNS) will pose an irreducible background creating a solar neutrino floor for all DM experiments. Strategies to ascertain the directionality of detected events will be necessary to discriminate between the neutrino background and potential DM candidates. After giving an overview of the current challenges of direct DM detection, I will present the capability to add the directionality channel in the NEWS-G experiment and superheated liquids detectors to go beyond the neutrino floor.

Marie-Cécile Piro is a French-Italo-Canadian who grew up on a tiny French island in the Caribbean: Guadeloupe. She moved to Montreal for her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Montreal and received her Ph.D. in experimental particle physics in the PICASSO collaboration using superheated liquid detectors for the dark matter search. Marie-Cécile continued her quest for dark matter as a postdoctoral associate in France within the EDELWEISS group working with High Purity Germanium (HPGe) bolometers. She moved to the US to work as a research associate with the XENON1T collaboration and spent two years in the Gran Sasso laboratory in Italy for the entire commissioning of the detector as the expert on-site of the purification system and slow control for the experiment. Since 2017, Marie-Cécile has been an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and Principal Investigator in international collaborations searching for dark matter. Her research program focuses on improving detector technology to add the directionality channel, on micro-physics to understand the detector’s behavior, and to search for new rare physics processes.

Find out more about current research and activities: here