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UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy

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Prof Ruben Saakyan

Prof Ruben Saakyan

Professor of Physics

Dept of Physics & Astronomy

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Mar 2000

Research summary

I am a Professor of Experimental Particle Physics in the High Energy Physics (HEP) Group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCL, and  was head of the HEP Group in 2016-2020.

My expertise and interests lie in the area of neutrino physics and in developing instrumentation for applications in fundamental physics as well as outside academia (e.g. in medicine). On my arrival at UCL in 2000 I worked on the MINOS neutrino oscillation experiment. Later on my attention switched to neutrinoless double-beta decay, a rare hypothesised nuclear process that can shed light on the nature of the neutrino mass. I led the UK involvement in the NEMO-3 experiment and was international spokesperson of its successor, SuperNEMO, between 2009 and 2017. A radiation detection technology based on advanced organic scintillators that I developed for SuperNEMO has found applications in proton cancer therapy. My team has also developed new advanced methods for detecting  ultra-low level traces of radioactive backgrounds, notably radon. These methods are now applied in experiments searching for dark matter in the universe as well as in neutrino physics. 

 In 2017 I initiated the UCL and UK involvement in the LEGEND neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment which starts data taking in 2021 and has one of the best discovering powers in the field in the search for this elusive but critically important process. 

Measuring the absolute neutrino mass continues to be one of the key outstanding challenges in particle physics and it is critical to our understanding of the origin of matter and the early evolution of the universe. With this in mind I led a team of researchers that recently (2021) secured a grant for a project that will develop novel quantum technologies to measure the neutrino mass. 

Education

University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Certificate in Learning and Teaching in HE Part 1 |
Moscow State Engineering and Physics Institute
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 1993
Publications