U.S. Department of Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

People

NPAC Initiative Lead Karl Mueller is a physical chemist in the Physical and Computational Sciences Directorate (PCSD) at PNNL. Under PCSD Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) Lou Terminello, the team is drafting Physics into an integrated PCSD strategy for the Laboratory, where Leadership in Fundamental Nuclear and Particle Physics is an overarching goal.

Dr. Isaac Arnquist - Analytical Chemist

Dr. Isaac Arnquist is an analytical chemist whose research has focused on developing ultrasensitive assay methods for the determination of thorium, uranium, and potassium in ultralow background detector materials.

Dr. Isaac Arnquist
Dr. Isaac Arnquist
Dr. David M. Asner - PNNL Laboratory Fellow

Dr. David Asner is the Chief Scientist for Particle Physics and is leading the nascent PNNL high energy physics effort that is now making contributions to all three frontiers of particle physics - cosmic, intensity and energy - by leveraging the multiple and diverse capabilities of the laboratory. Dr. Asner's experience includes conducting a broad research program on current and future high energy physics experiments at both electron and proton accelerators.

Dr. David Asner
Dr. David M. Asner
Dr. Henning Back - Physicist

Dr. Henning Back is a physicist whose research focuses on the development of underground noble gas sources for use in dark matter detectors.

Henning Back
Dr. Henning Back
Dr. Mary Bliss - Materials Scientist

Dr. Mary Bliss is a materials scientist working in radiation detection technology. She serves as a Chief Scientist for Radiation Imaging and Material Sciences and Radiation Detection and Nuclear Sciences at PNNL. In 2000, she was named the Battelle Pacific Northwest Division Woman of Achievement. Dr. Bliss and her team won an R&D 100 Award and a Federal Laboratory Consortium Technology Transfer Award in 1999 for developing enriched lithium glass fiber neutron detectors. This effort also won an American Chemical Society Regional Innovation Award in 2005. 

Dr. Mary Bliss
Dr. Mary Bliss
Dr. Ray Bunker - Physicist

Ray Bunker is a physicist in the Radiation Detection and Nuclear Science group within the National Security Directorate.

Prior to joining PNNL in September 2015, he was a Research Scientist at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, contributing to both SuperCDMS and LZ. Dr. Bunker was the Analysis Coordinator for the SuperCDMS Collaboration for two years and is currently the chair of the Backgrounds Working Group and the Level-3 manager of the Radon Exclusion subsystem for the SuperCDMS SNOLAB project. He is also a contributing member of the Materials and Assay Working Groups for the LZ and DarkSide-20k projects.

Dr. Ray Bunker
Dr. Ray Bunker
Dr. Eric Church - Physicist

Dr. Eric Church is an experimental particle physicist. His research interests are in the areas of neutrino physics and nucleon decay — both areas that shed light on beyond-Standard-Model physics. His work is primarily on liquid argon time projection chambers (LArTPCs), which give very high event detection fidelity for this area of physics, and on which U.S. particle physics has staked an important part of its future. Dr. Church also contributes to systems at PNNL that detect underground explosions through particular trace isotopes. His work in this area is particularly on software to run the detector systems and perform the analysis on events which may indicate violation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. Dr. Church is the Principle Investigator for LArTPC physics for PNNL’s Nuclear Physics, Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology (NPAC) Initiative.

Dr. Eric Church
Dr. Eric Church
Eric Hoppe - Analytic Chemist

Eric Hoppe is an Analytical Chemist who has focused his nearly 30 years of research developing assays for a variety of materials to define their radiopurity, such as the determination of extremely low levels of contaminants such as uranium and thorium.

Eric Hoppe
Eric Hoppe
Dr. Christopher Jackson - Physicist

Dr. Christopher Jackson is an experimental particle physicist. His research interests are in the areas of direct detection of dark matter and studying the properties of neutrinos. His current main interest is using a single phase liquid argon detector, MiniCLEAN (Cryogenic Low-Energy Astrophysics with Noble liquids), to search for high mass dark matter. He is the analysis coordinator for MiniCLEAN, a 500 kg target experiment located at SNOLAB (Canada), aiming to demonstrate background rejection using pulse shape discrimination at the scale required for a next generation experiment. He also works on the optical calibrations and background simulations.

Dr. Christopher Jackson
Dr. Christopher Jackson
Dr. Ben Loer - Physicist

Dr. Ben Loer’s research interests are in the area of ultra-low background particle astrophysics. His primary focus is on the direct detection of the mysterious dark matter particles that make up 85 percent of the matter in the universe. He operates some of the most sensitive detectors in the world in laboratories constructed deep underground.

 

Dr. Ben Loer
Dr. Ben Loer
Dr. Karl Mueller - PNNL Laboratory Fellow

Karl Mueller, a physical chemist, focuses on the development and utilization of solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques, and his most recent studies are driven by outstanding and unresolved questions in materials and environmental science that require advanced characterization tools and multi-disciplinary/multi-modal approaches.

Dr. Karl Mueller
Dr. Karl Mueller
Dr. Noah Oblath - Physicist

Dr. Noah Oblath is an experimental nuclear and particle physicist.  His primary research interests are the studies of neutrinos and dark matter to further our understanding of physics beyond the Standard Model of Particle Physics.  He is leading the efforts at PNNL to detect axion dark matter as part of the Axion Dark Matter eXperiment (ADMX).  He is also a founding member of the Project 8 collaboration, which is seeking to measure the absolute neutrino mass.

Dr. Noah Oblath
Dr. Noah Oblath
Dr. John L. Orrell - Physicist

Dr. John L. Orrell is an experimental nuclear and particle physicist. His research interests include neutrino properties, the search for dark matter, and applications of radiation detection for national security. His technical expertise includes radiation detector design, low background methods, and radiation transport modeling. Dr. Orrell has worked on experiments including solar neutrino measurements, searches for neutrinoless double beta decay, and searches for direct detection of dark matter. Instrumentation development efforts have included Compton-suppressed high-purity gamma-ray spectrometers, low energy measurements using gas proportional counters, and low background liquid scintillation counter design.

Dr. John L. Orrell
Dr. John L. Orrell
Dr. Richard Saldanha - Physicist

Dr. Richard Saldanha is an experimental particle astrophysicist working on ultra-low background physics experiments. His current focus is on the development of a detector for the future nEXO experiment, which will search for the potential signature of neutrinoless double beta decay in xenon. Dr. Saldanha has an extensive background designing and building noble liquid detectors, a powerful technology that is currently being deployed in several leading efforts to reveal the fundamental properties of neutrinos and illuminate the mysterious nature of dark matter.   

Dr. Richard Saldanha
Dr. Richard Saldanha
Dr. Jan Strube - Physicist

Dr. Jan Strube is a particle physicist. His research interest is in the area of precision measurements at particle collider experiments. At PNNL, his focus is on developing tools and techniques to improve the measurement of Higgs boson properties at the International Linear Collider (ILC). This planned electron-positron collider could be built in Japan in the next decade. He is convener of the working groups on detector optimization and simulation/reconstruction for the Silicon Detector consortium. For the Linear Collider Collaboration, Dr. Strube is a member of the software/computing group and serves as detector R&D co-liaison.

Dr. Jan Strube
Dr. Jan Strube
Dr. Lou Terminello - Associate Laboratory Director

Louis J. Terminello, PhD, is the Associate Laboratory Director of the Physical and Computational Sciences Directorate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In this role, he is responsible for a broad range of fundamental research at PNNL sponsored by the Department of Energy's Office of Science, including work in advanced computing, atmospheric sciences, biological sciences, the physical sciences and particle physics.

Dr. Lou Terminello
Dr. Lou Terminello
Dr. Brent VanDevender - Physicist

Dr. Brent VanDevender is an experimental nuclear and particle physicist. His research interests are divided between basic science and applications that benefit from his nuclear physics and radiation detection background. His primary basic science interest is in the absolute mass of the neutrino and its implications for the evolution of large-scale structure in the universe, and the fundamental symmetries of theories that could supersede our current Standard Model of Particle Physics. Applied physics interests are focused on the safeguards and accountancy of fissile material in the civilian nuclear fuel cycle, and the detection of nuclear explosions in violation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. 

Dr. Brent VanDevender
Dr. Brent VanDevender