Carol Scarlett, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Physics
CePAST / Centennial Bldg
A342 National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NHMFL)
Tel.: (850) 599-3943
Ph.D. Physics – University of Michigan, 2002
Currently I am actively involved in dark matter research as well as developing a program to use positrons to study plasmas and weak interactions. The first project will culminate in a search for Axion or Axion-Like Particles (ALP's). These particles are of interest to particle physics as they may help to explain why certain symmetries in nature (charge-parity or CP) do not break when strong interactions occur. Additionally, ALP's are expected to interact with matter gravitationally, making them candidates for Dark Matter. The importance of revealing the additional mass in the universe has been broadly recognized in the scientific community. Dark Matter may constitute as much as 20% of the material in the universe - compared to regular matter which constitutes only about 4%. The challenge for such searches is the development of an experiment that can readily be tested and where the backgrounds are well understood.
The second project that my group here at Florida A&M University has become involved with is a measure of the weak interaction cross section for a positron on a neutron. This cross section has only been available in the inverse form, which is a neutrino capture on a proton. With recent advancements in laser technology, it has become possible to produce large quantities of anti-matter in the form of positrons. We are hoping to use these relativistic positrons to convert neutrons into protons. The target materials must be carefully selected to give the maximum possible e on n interaction, while at the same time producing only short-lived isotopes for known background particles such as relativistic electrons and low-energy protons.