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Department of Physics

Mellon College of Science

Diana S. Parno

Assistant Research Professor
Affiliate Assistant Professor, University of Washington

Nuclear & Particle Physics
Neutrino Physics
Wean Hall 8108


Prof. Diana Parno

Education & Professional Experience

PhD: Carnegie Mellon University (2011)

Professional Societies:
American Physical Society

Curriculum ViTA

Assistant Research Professor, Carnegie Mellon University, 2017–
Research Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Washington, 2016
Associate Director, CENPA, University of Washington, 2014–2016
Acting Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Washington, 2014–2016
Post-doctoral research: University of Washington, 2011–2014

Research Interests

My primary research interest is in the physics of the neutrino, a fundamental particle that is generated in particle decays and nuclear reactions and that, in the Standard Model of particle physics, interacts only via the weak force. At Earth's distance from the Sun, about 65 billion solar neutrinos pass through every square centimeter every second, and the vast majority of them pass right through the planet. Neutrinos interact with matter so rarely that they were originally assumed to be massless, but in the last two decades several clever experiments showed that neutrinos do have a small but nonzero mass. Furthermore, despite its small magnitude, the mass of the neutrino has made an imprint on a cosmic scale: vast numbers of neutrinos were created in the early universe, and their collective mass affected the way that early structures formed. Neutrinos provided the first evidence of physics beyond the Standard Model in the electroweak sector, and they provide a bridge between very small scales and very large ones.

The neutrino mass scale offers a rare opportunity to probe a cosmological parameter in the laboratory. I am Analysis Co-Coordinator for the KATRIN experiment in Karlsruhe, Germany, which is designed to improve on existing direct neutrino-mass limits by an order of magnitude. KATRIN will use the kinematics of tritium beta decay to extract the neutrino-mass scale with an anticipated sensitivity of 0.2 eV/c^2 (90% confidence level) — a value more than 2.5 million times lighter than the electron mass! KATRIN is currently preparing for the beginning of data-taking with tritium toward the end of 2017. My group is involved with maintenance, operation and characterization of the main KATRIN detector system; data-quality assurance for the entire experiment; and background studies. We are also working to understand the molecular physics of gaseous tritium sources more generally, both with anticipated KATRIN data and with a dedicated experiment in Seattle, the Tritium Recoil-Ion Mass Spectrometer (TRIMS).

Selected Publications

D. Flay, M. Posik, D. S. Parno et al., Measurements of dn2 and An1: Probing the neutron spin structure, Phys. Rev. D 94, 052003 (2016)

D. S. Parno, D. Flay, M. Posik et al., Precision measurements of An1 in the deep inelastic regime, Phys. Lett. B 744, 309 (2015)

L. I. Bodine, D. S. Parno, and R. G. H. Robertson, Assessment of molecular effects on neutrino mass measurements from tritium β decay, Phys. Rev. C 91, 035505 (2015)

J. F. Amsbaugh et al., Focal-plane detector system for the KATRIN experiment, Nucl. Inst. Meth. A 778, 40 (2015)

M. Posik, D. Flay, D. S. Parno et al., A precision measurement of the neutron twist-3 matrix element dn2: Probing color forces, Phys. Rev. Lett. 113 022002 (2014)

B. L. Wall et al., Nucl. Inst. Meth. Dead layer on silicon p-i-n diode charged-particle detectors, A 744 73-79 (2014)

D. Wang et al., Measurement of parity violation in electron-quark scattering, Nature 506, 67 (2014)

D. S. Parno, M. Friend, V. Mamyan et al., Comparison of modeled and measured performance of a GSO crystal as γ δetector, Nucl. Inst. Meth. A 728, 92 (2013)

M. Friend, D. Parno, F. Benmokhtar, et al., Upgraded photon calorimeter with integrating readout for Hall A Compton polarimeter at Jefferson lab, Nucl. Inst. Meth. A 676, 96 (2012)

S. Abrahamyan et al. (PREX Collaboration), Measurement of the neutron radius of 208Pb through parity-violation in electron scattering, Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 112502 (2012)

More Publications:
ORCID  Researcher ID