Luca Grandi

Senior Member, KICP
Associate Professor, Department of Physics, Enrico Fermi Institute, and the College

Luca Grandi
Eckhardt Research Center
Room 485
5640 South Ellis Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 834-7659


Ph.D., Universita degli Studi di Pavia, Italia, 2005


I have always been fascinated by fundamental physics, the kind of physics that is able to change our way of looking at the surrounding world and can provide a deeper understanding of how nature works. At the same time I have always been attracted by small scale experiments, those human-sized experiments where you can understand the entire experimental setup, in all its small details. Moreover I enjoy designing detectors, operating them and analyzing the collected data. These interests naturally brought me towards the field of rare events physics and, more specifically, toward Dark Matter direct searches. This area of research has a huge potential for discovery and the capability of providing experimental results that affect the foundation of our physics theories.

My activities, until now, focused on the development of two-phase noble liquids Time Projection Chamber (TPC) technology for Dark Matter direct detection.

During my Ph.D. I was involved in the design, construction and operation of the WArP-2.3kg prototype, the first argon detector to set a limit on the WIMP (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles) interaction rate. 

I am a co-founder of the DarkSide project, that combines argon two-phase and liquid scintillator technology. DarkSide-50, the first physics detector of the DarkSide family, was deployed at Gran Sasso Underground Laboratory (LNGS) in Italy in 2014. The detector, still operating, demonstrated the potentiality of Argon technology and set a solid foundation for Darkside-20K, a 20 tonne detector that is under construction.

In 2015 I joined the XENON collaboration and focused on the XENON1T project. The experiment features a 3300kg liquid xenon TPC that operated at LNGS from 2016 to 2018. The XENON-1T experiment successfully collected large and ultra-low background exposures that are being investigated for signs of dark matter in the form of WIMPs or other candidates. The detector, being the largest of his type, was able to reach sensitivities about 7 times better than competing efforts and is presently holding the best result for WIMP spin-independent coupling with ordinary matter.

While completing the science program of XENON1T, I have been focused on the design of its successor, XENONnT, expected to improve XENON1T results by an order of magnitude and to start operations by the end of the 2019.

Selected Publications

News & Highlights