Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano is interested in finding physics beyond the standard model and technical applications of our methods to quantum computing. We know the standard model of particle physics is not the most fundamental description of nature: it fails to explain various phenomena such as the mass of neutrinos, dark matter, the expansion of the Universe, and gravity. We focus on dark matter and neutrinos as they are one of the most promising avenues for finding new physics in the next decade.
Our experimental technique uses cryogenic detectors operating near absolute zero. Particles interact with the detector, producing a small recoil that leaves tens of keV of energy in the detector. We sense these small energy depositions using Transition-Edge Sensors and SQUID electronics. We design, prototype, and build detectors in our lab, although the actual physics measurements are done in the field. We search for dark matter 2 km underground in deep mines as part of the SuperCDMS experiment and 300 km in space with the Micro-X sounding rocket. We are also developing these detectors to search for as-yet-undetected neutrino interactions fielding a neutrino detector at the ILL nuclear reactor in France as part of the Ricochet experiment.
We are part of the SuperCDMS collaboration and work closely with the Fermilab SuperCDMS group. For the upcoming SuperCDMS SNOLAB experiment, we will play a leading role in the integration and testing of the experiment and calibration measurements both at Fermilab and SNOLAB. The Northwestern Experimental Underground Site (NEXUS) at Fermilab is a facility developed between our group and Fermilab and is used for both dark matter and quantum computing research. We are collaborating with Fermilab on two new quantum computing facilities, QUIET (an underground low-background qubit research facility based on our work at NEXUS), and LOUD (and above-ground qubit research platform). Our goal is to understand the role of radiation and cosmic-ray backgrounds in quantum computing, develop fault tolerant qubits, and research uses of quantum computing in particle physics. Finally, Figueroa-Feliciano is the Principal Investigator of the Micro-X Rocket, and we collaborate with NASA, NIST, and several universities in this rocket program.
Awards and Honors
- Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow
- NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award
See here for a list of publications.