Physics PhD student receives Graduate Instrumentation Research Award

Funding from the American Physical Society program supports graduate student Yuzhan Zao’s research on silicon detectors for particle physics experiments

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Yuzhan Zhao

Yuzhan Zhao, a third-year Ph.D. student in physics at UC Santa Cruz, has received a Graduate Instrumentation Research Award (GIRA) from the American Physical Society.

The award supports Zhao’s research with physics professor Bruce Schumm at the Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics (SCIPP). Zhao is working on the development of low-gain avalanche diode silicon detectors, which feature excellent timing resolution for measuring particle interactions. Specifically, the award is for the further development of the "deep junction" low-gain avalanche detector, for which Zhao holds intellectual property rights, along with Schumm, postdoctoral fellow Simone Mazza, and fellow graduate student Carolyn Gee.

These detectors have applications in particle physics experiments and accelerator beam monitoring. SCIPP is an international leader in the development of silicon detectors for high-energy physics experiments and other applications.

“This award is a wonderful acknowledgement of Yuzhan’s accomplishments in instrumentation,” Schumm said.

The GIRA program aims to encourage and facilitate greater involvement of physics graduate students in significant instrumentation development, to boost recognition of instrumentation work as a vital part of PhD training, to foster the growth of future high-energy physics instrumentation experts in the United States, and to strengthen university-lab ties on instrumentation development. GIRA was established by the Coordination Panel for Advanced Detectors, a standing committee of the Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society.