José María Benlloch Rodríguez

I was born in Cádiz (Spain) in 1991. I am a computer engineer, master on theoretical physics and currently doing my PhD on experimental particle physics in the NEXT experiment at IFIC, University of Valencia (Spain). I am working under the supervision of Juan José Gómez Cadenas, principal investigar of our group.

Currently I am working on two projects: NEXT and its spin-off PETALO. Here is a brief description of both:
  • NEXT (Neutrino Experiment with a Xenon TPC) is a neutrinoless double-beta decay experiment operating at the Canfranc Underground Laboratory (LSC). It is based on a Time Projection Chamber (TPC) filled with high-pressure gaseous xenon and with separated-function capabilities for calorimetry and tracking. NEXT offers excellent performance in both aspects: an energy resolution of at least 1% FWHM at Qββ and a topological signature that provides an extra handle in background rejection.
  • PETALO is a novel technology for PET imaging based in liquid xenon (LXe). Scintillation is very fast (2.2 ns in its fastest mode) and very intense (30,000 photons per 511 keV gamma). The combination of both features results in the possibility of building a PET of good energy and spatial resolution and excellent time resolution. PETALO could achieve CRTs in the range of 100 ps, thus representing a break-through in the technology. The low cost of the LXe compared with conventional PET detectors such as LSO/LYSO opens the possibility to apply the technology to the construction of a system of large axial acceptance, suitable for “full body” PET applications.

Given my multidisplicinar profile, what my supervisor and I want to do for my PhD thesis is to apply deep learning techniques to the problems we face in both projects (more details in the research page). We think that the latest developments in machine learning, such as convolutional neural networks, are not being broadly used in the particle physics community yet and this field could benefit from them. Also, it would be really interesting to apply them in PETALO, our medical physics project.

My areas of interest are:
  • Neutrino Physics.
  • PET detectors.
  • Machine Learning, deep learning.

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