UH Manoa physics professor wins U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Detector Research Award

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Jun 26, 2006

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Assistant Professor of Physics Gary S. Varner has received an Advanced Detector Research Award for $37,300 from the U.S. Department of Energy. Varner is one of nine recipients nationwide selected to investigate new or improved detector technologies for dark matter searches, calorimetry, particle identification, low-cost distributed electronics and diamond sensors. The other eight recipients include senior physics professors from Boston University, Caltech, Ohio State University and the University of Chicago.

Varner‘s award is for the development of a new type of readout for novel particle identification detectors at a Super B Factory particle accelerator. He applied an innovative detector readout technique that he developed for a UH high energy cosmic ray experiment in Antarctica to the Super B Factory particle identification program.

B Factories are high energy accelerators that produce particles containing b (beauty) quarks in large numbers, close to 1 billion a year. At the factories, two types of similar elementary particles, kaons and pions, must be separated.

"With this development we can identify particle flavor in a very congested environment," said Varner. "Without this, it is like trying to find a red sports car on the highway at night if all you can see are headlights. Probably those headlights are moving a bit faster on average, but the problem becomes simple if we can simply turn on enough light and see that it is red."

A Super B Factory will produce hundreds of times more b-quarks than the existing facilities, which would require significant improvements in the capabilities of the devices used to detect them. Super B Factory proposals are currently being considered at the particle physics laboratories in Tsukuba, Japan, and Frascati, Italy. Operation is expected to begin around 2010.


The Advanced Detector Research (ADR) program is a competitive grant program in the Office of High Energy Physics that supports detector research by university-based physicists. The ADR program seeks to encourage research into detector technologies that will enable new, not yet approved experiments. For more information, visit http://www.science.doe.gov/hep/2006ADRWinners.shtm.