Thomas Langford

Thomas Langford's picture
Associate Research Scientist (Heeger)
WLC 254D
203-432-5194
Research Areas: 
Experimental Neutrino Physics
Biographical Sketch: 

Before joining Wright Laboratory, Thomas J. Langford received his BS, MS, and PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park. Working in the Experimental Nuclear Physics group, his thesis was on the development of segmented fast neutron spectrometers. Two such detectors, FaNS-1 and FaNS-2, were built and characterized at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD before being installed at different underground laboratories. There the detectors measured the ambient fast neutron flux and spectra at different depths. These measurements have wide-ranging impact from low-background underground experiments to the detection of special nuclear material.

He now works on a collection of neutrino oscillation experiments, including Daya Bay, PROSPECT, and DUNE. Daya Bay has recently published the most precise measurement of Theta-13 (arXiv:1809.02261). A new measurement of the reactor flux is in agreement with previous experiments, contributing to the outstanding questions of sterile neutrinos and reactor flux predictions. Separately, the measured spectrum of antineutrinos deviates from state of the art theoretical predictions, possibly indicating holes in our understanding of reactor physics (arXiv:1508.04233).

The PROSPECT experiment (prospect.yale.edu) aims to address both these anomalies through a deployment of segmented lithium-loaded liquid scintillator detectors at the High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Lab. As a compact, highly-enriched uranium reactor, HFIR is well-suited for an experiment to explore short baseline oscillations and precisely measure the 235U antineutrino spectrum. Commissioned in early 2018, PROSPECT has already published a world-leading measurement of the 235U spectrum (arXiv:1812.10877) and a search for sterile neutrino oscillations (arXiv:1806.02784).

Major components of the DUNE experiment are to be constructed at Wright Lab. Based on the success of construction of PROSPECT, he will assist in the management and coordination of this large project.

In 2018, he joined the staff of the Yale Center for Research Computing working to assist the research community to better utilize the High Performance Computing (HPC) systems maintained by the center.

Education: 

Ph.D. 2013, University of Maryland

Thesis Advisor: 
Prof. Elizabeth Beise
Dissertation Title: 
Measurement of the Surface and Underground Neutron Spectra with the UMD/NIST Fast Neutron Spectrometers
Degree Date: 
October, 2013