Crystal Growth & Dectector Development

Born inside distant, pulsating stars, germanium is a rare element on Earth most closely related to silicon and tin. Researchers at USD are working on ways to turn this shiny, grayish white metalloid into extremely sensitive sensors that may someday reveal the secrets of dark matter.

USD is one of only a handful of places in the world where scientists are growing extremely pure germanium crystals. Detectors made of the crystals will be used in deep underground experiments, like those at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in the old Homestake Gold Mine in the Black Hills. There scientists hope to study dark matter and double-beta decay.

  • Neutrino physics
  • Dark matter physics
  • Underground physics
  • DUSEL and CUBED
Name Department & Office Contact
Dongming Mei
  • Director, CUBED / Associate Professor
PHYSICS
Patterson Hall 103
Yongchen Sun
  • Associate Professor / Grad Coordinator
PHYSICS
Akeley-Lawrence Science Center 106
Christina Keller
  • Director, Physics / Associate Dean, College of Arts & Sciences / Professor
ARTS & SCIENCES
Arts & Sciences 110
Joel Sander
  • Assistant Professor
PHYSICS
Akeley-Lawrence Science Center
CY Jiang
  • Associate Professor
CHEMISTRY
Churchill-Haines Labs 114
Ryan MacLellan
  • Assistant Professor
PHYSICS
Akeley-Lawrence Science Center 309
Jing Liu
  • Assistant Professor
PHYSICS
Akeley-Lawrence Science Center 308