Wenqin Xu

Wenqin Xu

Assistant Professor


Akeley-Lawrence Science Center 117D

Phone: (605) 677-7221

Email: Wenqin.Xu@usd.edu

Website: http://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=NV1aa7AAAAAJ


Dr. Xu earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. He studied heavy flavor quarks in heavy ion collisions created at the Brookhaven National Lab and measured the theta13 neutrino mixing angle with the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment. He worked at the Los Alamos National Lab and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, focusing on understanding the properties of neutrinos. He joined USD in 2016.

Teaching Interests:

Nuclear and Particle Physics, Introductory Physics and Astronomy, Statistics in Physics

Research Interests:

I am intrigued by fundamental particles and interactions that could explain how the Universe works. My research topics include Neutrinos and Fundamental Symmetries, Dark Matter and Axions, Physics Beyond the Standard Model, Hadronic Physics and Detector Development. Neutrinos are elusive fundamental particles that were thought to have zero mass for a long time. The discovery of neutrino oscillations and the consequent non-zero neutrino masses provided a direct and unambiguous evidence of physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. Yet, the origin of neutrino masses remains a mystery and one of the most compelling questions in physics. The answer is related to the particle-antiparticle nature of neutrinos and could hold a key to another most compelling question of why there is much more matter than antimatter in the Universe. In order words, understanding the nature of neutrinos could shed light on why we exist. My current focus is the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR experiment, which is located in South Dakota (4850' below underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. See, sanfordlab.org). This experiment is part of the global efforts to understand the properties of neutrinos. In particular, it utilizes High Purity Germanium (HPGe) detectors to search for neutrinoless double beta decay and other new physics, including dark matter and axions. My group also contributes to the Large Enriched Germanium Experiment for Neutrinoless double beta Decay (LEGEND) project, which is a proposed next generation experiment also based on HPGe detector technologies.


  • Ph D, Physics, University of California, Los Angeles , 2012
  • MS, Physics, University of California, Los Angeles , 2008
  • BS, Physics, University of Science and Technology of China, 2006


  • Neutrinoless Double-Beta Decay and Axion Searches, NSF. Grant Role: Principal. (2018 - 2020)
  • Arts and Sciences Travel Grant, College of Arts and Sciences, University of South Dakota. (2018 - 2018)
  • PIRE: Advanced Germanium Detectors and Technologies for Underground Physics, NSF. Grant Role: Other. (2017 - 2022)


Citations listed below are presented in a standardized, modified format for display purposes only. They do not necessarily reflect the preferred style and conventions of the faculty member or discipline.

  • Majorana Collaboration, and Xu, Wenqin. First Limit on the Direct Detection of Lightly Ionizing Particles for Electric Charge as Low as e/1000 with the Majorana Demonstrator, 211804. Vol. 120. Physical Review Letters, 2018. (DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.211804)
  • Majorana Collaboration, and Xu, Wenqin. Search for Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay in 76Ge with the Majorana Demonstrator, 132502. Vol. 120. Physical Review Letters, 2018. (DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.132502)
  • Majorana Collaboration, and Xu, Wenqin. The Processing of Enriched Germanium for the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR and R&D for a Next Generation Double-Beta Decay Experiment, 314. Vol. 877. Nuclear Inst. and Methods in Physics Research, A, 2018. (DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2017.09.036)
  • Majorana Collaboration, and Xu, Wenqin. The Majorana Demonstrator calibration system, 16-22. Vol. 872. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A, 2017. (DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2017.08.005)
  • Massarczyk, R, Chu, P, Dugger, C, Rielage, K, Elliott, S R., and Xu, Wenqin. Paschen's law studies in cold gases. Vol. 12. Journal of Instrumentation, 2017. (DOI: 10.1088/1748-0221/12/06/P06019)
  • Majorana Collaboration, and Xu, Wenqin. New limits on bosonic dark matter, solar axions, Pauli Exclusion Principle violation, and electron decay from the Majorana Demonstrator, 161801. Vol. 118. Physical Review Letters, 2017. (DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.161801)
  • STAR Collaboration, and Xu, Wenqin. Elliptic flow of electrons from heavy-flavor hadron decays in Au + Au collisions at SNN=200, 62.4, and 39 GeV, 034907. Vol. 95. PHYSICAL REVIEW C, 2017. (DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevC.95.034907)
  • Majorana Collaboration, and Xu, Wenqin. Muon flux measurements at the davis campus of the sanford underground research facility with the majorana demonstrator veto system, 70. Vol. 93. Astroparticle Physics, 2017. (DOI: 10.1016/j.astropartphys.2017.01.013)
  • Xu, Wenqin, and Elliott, Steven R.. Solar Axion Search Technique with Correlated Signals from Multiple Detectors, 39-50. Vol. 89. Amsterdam: Astroparticle Physics, 2017. (DOI: 10.1016/j.astropartphys.2017.01.008)
  • Majorana Collaboration, and Xu, Wenqin. Search for Pauli Exclusion Principle Violating Atomic Transitions and Electron Decay with a P-type Point Contact Germanium Detector, 619. Vol. 76. The European Physical Journal C, 2016. (DOI: 10.1140/epjc/s10052-016-4467-0)

Awards and Honors:

  • Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics 2016, Breakthrough Prize Foundation, 2015
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Institute for Cosmology, Subatomic Matter and Symmetries, UNC-CH, 2015
  • Dissertation Year Fellowship, Graduate Division UCLA, 2011


  • Barton, Clay, Xu, Wenqin, Massarczyk, Ralph. Processing muon simulations for LEGEND-1000. Presented at the LEGEND Collaboration Meeting, Knoxville, TN. (December 1, 2018)
  • Xu, Wenqin. Rare-event searches using the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR. Presented at the Twelfth Identification of Dark Matter conference (IDM2018) , Providence, RI. (July 26, 2018)
  • Xu, Wenqin. U-238 and Radon decay chain photopeaks in data. Presented at the MAJORANA Collaboration Meeting, Chapel Hill, NC. (July 23, 2018)
  • Xu, Wenqin. GEMADARC. Presented at the Neutrino Day X Science Fesitival , Lead, SD. (July 14, 2018)
  • Xu, Wenqin. Status and Initial Results of the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR. Presented at the Thirteenth Conference on the Intersections of Particle and Nuclear Physics (CIPANP), Palm Springs, CA. (May 29, 2018)
  • Xu, Wenqin. The Large Enriched Germanium Experiment for Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay. Presented at the American Physical Society April meeting 2018, Columbus, Ohio. (April 15, 2018)
  • Xu, Wenqin. Understanding the Nature of Neutrinos via Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay. Presented at the Nuclear and Particle Physics Seminar, Houston, TX. (April 5, 2018)
  • Xu, Wenqin, Chu, Pinghan. Energy Calibration for the Majorana Demonstrator. Presented at the Majorana Collaboration meeting, Raleigh. (March 6, 2018)
  • Xu, Wenqin. Majorana Demonstrator and LEGEND experiments. Presented at the UCLA Nuclear Physics Seminar, Los Angeles, CA. (December 11, 2017)
  • Xu, Wenqin. Science of neutrinoless double-beta decay. Presented at the Partnerships for International Research and Education(PIRE)- GErmanium Materials And Detectors Advancement Research Consortium (GEMADARC) Meeting, Berkeley, CA. (December 10, 2017)
  • Barton, Clay J., Xu, Wenqin, Massarczyk, Ralph, Zhu, Brian. Deep underground muon simulations using a generic Geant4 geometry. Presented at the LEGEND Collaboration Meeting, Berkeley, CA. (December 9, 2017)
  • Xu, Wenqin. Setting Limit for Neutrinoless double beta decay. Presented at the MAJORANA Collaboration Meeting, Seattle, WA. (July 9, 2017)
  • Xu, Wenqin. Initial Results and Status of the MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR. Presented at the 26th International Workshop on Weak Interactions and Neutrinos, Irvine, CA. (June 23, 2017)
  • Xu, Wenqin. Experimental monitoring for the Majorana Demonstrator. Presented at the American Physical Society April meeting 2017, Washington, D.C.. (January 29, 2017)
  • Xu, Wenqin. MAJORANA DEMONSTRATOR DAQ and slow control Overview. Presented at the Majorana Collaboration meeting, Berkeley. (December 13, 2016)
  • Xu, Wenqin. Likelihood-based test statistic in Solar Axion searches. Presented at the International workshop on statistical issues in experimental neutrino physics (Phystat-Nu 2016), Warrenville, IL. (September 20, 2016)