Research Abroad: A CNAS Story

Physics major Jared Hudnall '24 discusses his summer research experiences in Italy!

Jared Hudnall '24, a physics major at the College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences at UC Riverside, spent his summer abroad doing research in Italy. We asked Jared a few questions about his experiences:

Lab space at Laboratori Nazionali del GranSasso Italy

(Part 1 of 5) What research topic are you working on and where?
I'm working at the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (@lns.infn) — the largest underground research laboratory in the world and one of the primary research centers for particle physics — in Assergi, Italy, a tiny medieval village on the foot of an Italian national park. I'm doing research testing and developing bleeding edge light detection technology for use in the largest dark matter direct detection experiment ever conducted, a global collaborative effort of several dozen universities and research institutes.

Pictured: My lab space at the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso.




Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso exterior entrance Italy

(Part 2 of 5) How did you come across/get involved in this opportunity?
I came across this opportunity in much the same way as I've come across any other: networking! On day one of week one of my first quarter at UCR after I transferred, I emailed a number of faculty from UCR's Physics & Astronomy Department to get involved in undergraduate research. I have an amazing principal investigator who I started working with immediately.They sent me an impromptu email in the Spring quarter that read, "Hey, so you can go to Poland, the United Kingdom, or Italy over the summer — tell me what you want to do, and I'll email my colleagues." One of the best things you can do to invest in yourself is to network and build of a scientist's most important skills is communication, after all!

Pictured: Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (@lns.infn) exterior entrance...check out that view!



Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso lab interior

(Part 3 of 5) What are your responsibilities as a member of the research team?
We work with light detection technology called silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) — the most advanced modern photodetection units — which have numerous applications such as medical imaging, particle detection, astronomy, LiDAR, quantum optics, DNA sequencing, and environmental monitoring, to name a few. I test batches of them at a time in a clean room, a stainless steel space equipped with filtration systems and stringent protocols to ensure a near sterile working space enabling precision testing of sensitive devices, to evaluate each individual SiPM's response to various electromagnetic phenomena (breakdown voltage, current stability, etc.). Additionally, I'm experimenting with the electronics boards in an effort to improve the dynamic range of signals the SiPMs can report.

Pictured: Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (@lns.infn) lab interior


View from apartment in Italy

(Part 4 of 5) What’s been the best part of the experience thus far?
The people! We have an extremely diverse team of graduate students and postdocs @lns.infn who are all incredibly knowledgeable, personable, and great fun to work and spend time with. I'm learning a lot from them, and I'm incredibly grateful to have made some great friends!

Pictured: The view from my apartment window in Italy.






Research Abroad A CNAS Story Italian countryside

(Part 5 of 5) Jared Hudnall discusses his future goals as a CNAS student.

What are your future research goals?
I'll be spending the fall quarter applying to graduate schools for condensed matter physics research. After graduate school, I'll do a postdoc, and in the future I'd like to stay in academia as a physics researcher in the field of condensed matter and quantum technology.

Pictured: Italian countryside.





Learn more about Jared's UC Riverside experiences. 

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