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Helen O'Keeffe supervises 3 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Helen O'Keeffe FHEA

Senior Lecturer

Helen O'Keeffe

Physics Building



Tel: +44 1524 593223

Research overview

My research focuses on particle physics, in particular measuring properties of the neutrino.  I collaborate with the Tokai to Kamioka (T2K), Hyper-Kamiokande and SNO+ experiments.   Within these experiments, my research interests include the analysis of neutral pion production in neutrino-nucleon interactions, development of Data Acquisition methods for next-generation experiments, precision measurements of radioactive backgrounds and searches for invisible modes of nucleon decay. 

In addition to my research, I organise the annual “Particle Physics Masterclass” at Lancaster, attended by approximately 180 local sixth form students.

PhD supervision

I am always interested in discussing potential PhD projects with applicants. Please see our group webpage for the latest opportunities http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/physics/research/particle-and-accelerator-physics/experimental-particle-physics/

Current Research

T2K:  Located in Japan, T2K is a long-baseline neutrino oscillation experiment that searches for the appearance of electron neutrinos in a muon neutrino beam.  To date, the T2K experiment has produced world-leading measurements of neutrino oscillation parameters and the first suggestion of CP-violation in the neutrino sector.  Within T2K I am a convener of the overall near detector analysis programme, convener of the neutral pion (pi0) analysis group, convener of the Systematics, Selection and Variations (SSV) group and a Senior Data Acquisition/Electronics expert.  My research focuses on measurements of neutrino-nucleon interactions that produce neutral pions and also using measurements of muon neutrino interactions to determine the parent hadrons that produce the neutrino beam.   I also am actively involved with the operation and maintenance of the near detector Data Acquisition (DAQ) systems and electronics. 

Hyper-Kamiokande:  Hyper-Kamiokande is a proposed mega scale water Cherenkov detector that will act as the far detector for a “next-generation” long baseline neutrino experiment that will use an upgraded beam produced by the J-PARC facility in Japan.  The experiment will investigate CP violation in the neutrino sector by observation of oscillations of neutrino and antineutrino beams.  The Hyper-Kamiokande experiment will study proton decays, atmospheric neutrinos, and neutrinos from astrophysical origins.   Within the Hyper-Kamiokande collaboration, I am work package manager for the UK DAQ development, with responsibility for physics simulations relating to trigger design. 

SNO+: Located 2 km underground in an active nickel mine, near Sudbury, Ontario, Canada the SNO+ detector will use around 780 tonnes of linear alkylbenzene (LAB) liquid scintillator, loaded with tellurium, to search for neutrinoless double beta decay.  The SNO+ physics programme also includes searching for invisible modes of nucleon decay and precision measurements of the solar neutrino flux.  I am involved with measurements of radioactive backgrounds and search for invisible modes of nucleon decay.  I am a member of the SNO+ scientific board and co-leader of the backgrounds working group, whose role it is to assess, constrain and reduce background levels in all parts of the detector.

Current Teaching

PHYS311 Particle Physics

PHYS353 Particle and Nuclear Project Laboratory

External Roles

Member of STFC Particle Physics Grant Panel (Experimental)

Reviewer of STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship Applications

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