Nuclear recoils caused by interactions of Dark Matter or neutrinos can leave latent damage in the crystal structure of minerals. These damage features can be read out using a variety of modern microscopy techniques, ranging from optical (fluorescence) microscopy over X-ray microscopy at accelerator light sources to techniques with sub-nm spatial resolution such as He-ion beam or transmission electron microscopy. Natural as well as laboratory-manufactured minerals have been discussed as nuclear recoil detectors for a variety of applications. For example, using the damage features accumulated over 10 Myr -- 1 Gyr in natural "paleo-detector" mineral samples, one could measure astrophysical neutrino fluxes (from the Sun, supernovae, or cosmic rays interacting with the atmosphere) or search for a variety of Dark Matter candidates. Using signals accumulated over months to few-years timescales in laboratory-manufactured minerals, one could measure reactor neutrinos or use minerals as Dark Matter detectors, potentially with directional sensitivity. This workshop will bring together theoretical and experimental physicists, material scientists, and geologists to discuss the state of the art of the emerging field of Mineral Detection of Neutrinos and Dark Matter. Particular attention will be given to the progress and plans of experimental studies pursued by groups in Europe, Asia, and America towards unlocking the potential of natural and laboratory-manufactured minerals as passive recorders of keV-scale nuclear recoils.
The structure of the meeting will depend on the contributions submitted, but the following is a preliminary list of groups working on mineral detection who will be represented at the meeting:
INFN Milan/University of Milan
Toho University/Nagoya University
University of Michigan
University of North Florida
Since we anticipate a cross-disciplinary group of participants, we also plan to have several more general talks giving overviews of different aspects of mineral detection to facilitate interactions between experts in different fields.
The meeting will take place at Virginia Tech's Executive Briefing Center, which is located close to downtown Washington, DC (at the other side of the Potomac River), and close to both of the major DC airports, Ronald Reagan and Dulles. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Virginia Tech, there will be no conference fee, but we will not be able to cover travel and accommodation costs for participants.
A short list of hotels near the meeting center can be found here, although there are many other options for accommodation in the area and the center is a five minute walk from the Ballston-MU Metro Station on the Orange and Silver lines.