The Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events, otherwise known as CUORE, is searching for a yet to be observed process called neutrinoless double beta decay. If this process is observed, this would teach us something very interesting about the tiniest standard model particle the neutrino. It would tell us that unlike the other standard model particles, the neutrino is its own antiparticle. This unusual property may mean that the neutrino provides the mechanism in the early universe that leads to the matter anti-matter asymmetry we see in the universe today.
There are several experiments searching for neutrinoless double beta decay. The CUORE collaboration will use tellurium crystals instrumented as bolometers (detectors measuring heat) to measure the energy of the two electrons that are the result of the double beta decay. The experiment is under construction at the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso in Italy. It will consist of 988 crystals organized into 19 towers.
The UCLA group is currently involved in the electronics and the analysis of the data from the first step in the CUORE research program, data from CUORE-0. We have projects for undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral researchers, so please contact us.