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USD-Led Consortium Awarded $4.35 Million PIRE Grant from National Science Foundation

Photo of Dongming Mei with Ge researchers studying crystal growth. Professor Dongming Mei looks at crystal research in the lab. Mei leads USD's efforts studying dark matter particles.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota is leading an international physics research project that has received a $4.35 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The five-year effort by the Partnership International Research and Education program will work to advance germanium materials for developing detectors and other technologies in the study of dark matter and neutrinos.

The consortium involves six universities in the United States, two national labs and four international institutes from Canada, China, Germany and Taiwan.

“The general properties of neutrinos and the nature of dark matter are currently two of the most important questions in fundamental physics,” said Dongming Mei of the Department of Physics at USD and the principle investigator. “Understanding these questions could unlock physics beyond the Standard Model, the basic but incomplete framework for fundamental forces and particle interaction.”

Joining Mei is John Wilkerson, professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Rusty Harris, associate professor at Texas A&M University. Together they lead the group called the Germanium Materials And Detectors Advancement Research Consortium.

The other U.S. institutions involved are Black Hills State University, University of Minnesota, Tennessee Technological University, University of California-Berkeley as well as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

International collaborators include Queen’s University in Canada, Tsinghua University in China, Max Planck Institute in Germany, and Academic Sinica’s Institute of Physics in Taiwan.

To learn more on PIRE: GEMADARC.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News