Viatcheslav Bugaev works with both direct and indirect detection techniques for dark matter. He looks for excitations in big volumes of noble gases deep underground and for high-energy gamma-rays from dark-matter particle annihilations in astrophysical experiments. He studies ultra-high energy cosmic rays using radio emissions generated by processes they initiate in the atmosphere.
Dark matter constitutes the majority of the mass of the Universe and therefore strongly influences the Universe's large-scale structure and its evolution. Although its existence is supported indirectly by observations, there had been no direct detection of dark matter particles.
LZ (LUX ZEPLIN) is a next-generation experiment for direct detection of weakly interacting dark matter particles. Dark matter particles can be identified by specific patterns in scintillation and ionization light created through interactions with liquid and gaseous xenon in the LZ detector. With the LZ collaboration, Bugaev works on optimization of the detector sensitivity and contributed to the final design of the time projection chamber of the LZ detector. He develops methods of analysis to widen the energy range and nature of detectable particles.
Alternatively, one can look for signatures of dark matter interactions in space. Very-high energy gamma-rays may point to sites of high dark matter density where it may annihilate. Bugaev works on developing original statistical analysis methods utilizing gamma-ray observations by VERITAS and Fermi to find faint signatures of dark matter annihilation.
Using VERITAS and Fermi observations, Bugaev studies and models supernova remnants, which are believed to be the acceleration sites in the Galaxy for cosmic rays (CR). He also studies CR via their interaction with the atmosphere in the Antarctic experiment ANITA.
Bugaev completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics from Altai State University (Russia). Since then, he has worked on modeling next-generation ground-based Cherenkov instruments, real-time analysis of data from Earth observation satellites and prediction of extreme environmental events. Prior to his arrival at Washington University, Bugaev was a postdoctoral fellow with Felix Aharonian at Max-Planck Institute für Kernphysik, Heidelberg.