University at Albany

Physics Faculty

Cecilia Levy
Assistant Professor of Physics
Ph.D. University of Muenster

Room: Physics 209

Academic History:
  • BSc Universite de Montreal, Canada
  • MSc Queen's University, Canada on the PICASSO dark matter experiment
  • PhD University of Muenster, Germany on the XENON100 dark matter experiment
  • Postdoc RPI on the XENON1T dark matter experiment
  • Postdoc SUNY Albany on the LUX/LZ dark matter experiment
Current Research:

My primary research interest is in astroparticle physics, more specifically, I contribute to the ongoing effort to directly discover dark matter, an elusive particle which makes up 25% of the universe. I am part of the LZ experiment, a 7-ton detector which should be coming live in the next couple of years. This will be the biggest dark matter detector ever conceived and will have a big discovery potential. I am particularly interested in the multiphysics aspect of LZ, and its potential to also search for neutrinoless double beta decay, as well as dark matter. This research is of paramount importance for the planning of G3 detectors.

In addition, there is a limitation to the current dark matter technology, in that it cannot go past the neutrino floor, an irreducible neutrino background that limits the detector’s sensitivity. To palliate to that, I am trying to develop new, smarter dark matter detectors which could differentiate between dark matter and neutrinos based on their incoming direction.

Students in my group are and will be involved at all stages of LZ, simulations, building, commissioning, maintenance and data analysis, giving them a unique opportunity to see the many development stages of a successful and large-scale experiment. My students are expected to travel regularly to the SURF underground laboratory in South Dakota to get hands-on experience on LZ. They are also expected to work in my lab at UAlbany on detector research and development.

In addition to astroparticle physics, my other interest is research in breast cancer imaging. Current technology (mammograms and ultrasounds) is far from perfect and results in many wrong or missed diagnoses. I hope to improve on the current technology by trying to develop a better, more accurate imaging technology.

Teaching Research:

My immediate teaching interest is in freshman and sophomore core physics classes. This is very important to me as these classes are the foundation for a student's success in the physics program. In addition, a thorough comprehension of these core classes is crucial for a student to be able to understand more advanced and specialized courses. My teaching philosophy is that I am here as much to teach as to help the students, therefore I try to be as adaptive and as approachable as possible in order to give my students the best chance of success.

Selected Publications:

LZ Collaboration, LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) Technical Design Report, arXiv:1703.09144, (2017)

C. Levy et al, Xenon Bubble Chambers for Direct Dark Matter Detection, JINST no. 03, C03003 (2016)

E. Aprile et al. (XENON100), XENON100 Dark Matter Results from a Combination of 477 Live Days arXiv preprint arXiv:1609.06154 (2016)

E. Aprile et al. (XENON100), Search for Two-Neutrino Double Electron Capture of 124Xe with XENON100, arXiv preprint arXiv:1609.03354 (2016)

E. Aprile et al. (XENON1T), Physics Reach of the XENON1T Dark Matter Experiment, JCAP 1604 no.04, 027 (2016)

E. Aprile et al. (XENON100), Search for event rate modulation in XENON100 electronic recoil data, Physical review letters 115 (9), 091302 (2015)

E. Aprile et al. (XENON100), Exclusion of leptophilic dark matter models using XENON100 electronic recoil data, Science 349 (6250), 851-854 (2015)

E. Aprile et al. (XENON100), First Axion Results from the XENON100 Experiment, Phys. Rev. D 90, 062009 (2014)

V. Zacek et al. (PICASSO), New Insights into Particle Detection with Superheated Liquids, New J.Phys.13:043006 (2011)