Marie-Cécile Piro, PhD

Associate Professor, Faculty of Science - Physics


Associate Professor, Faculty of Science - Physics
(780) 492-1074
2-091 Centennial Ctr For Interdisciplinary SCS II
11335 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5


Area of Study / Keywords

Dark Matter Detector R&D Microphysics Coherent scattering of solar neutrinos


  • BSc Physics Université de Montréal (2006)
  • MSc Physics Université de Montréal (2008)
  • PhD Physics Université de Montréal (2012)
  • PDF Astroparticle Physics - Condensed matter CEA/Université Paris sud France (2012-2015)
  • RA Astroparticle Physics RPI, Troy NY - LNGS, Italy (2015-2017)
  • Assistant Professor, University of Alberta (2017-2023)
  • Associate Professor, University of Alberta (2023-present)


For more info, please visit my personal website!


My research is in astroparticle physics, using techniques from particle physics to answer fundamental questions about our Universe. I worked on several projects for dark matter searches in Canada at SNOLAB underground laboratory for the PICASSO experiment, in France at LSM (Labortatoire Souterrain de Modane) for the EDELWEISS experiment and in Italy at the LNGS ( Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso) for XENON1T experiment. 

I have broad expertise in multiple detection techniques such as superheated liquids, ultra-pure germanium detectors at milli-Kelvin temperatures and with the world’s largest double-phase xenon TPC. 


I am Principal Investigator in international collaborations searching for dark matter searches and the coherent scattering of solar neutrinos (CEvNS). My research program focuses on improving detector technology to add the directionality channel, on micro-physics to understand the detector's behaviour in-depth, and searching for new rare physics processes. My principal interest concerns the development of technologies based on innovative ideas with multiple applications in order to extract new physics processes. I am currently building a new detector in my lab that combines bubble chamber technology and scintillation light.

  • Development of gas purification techniques and assay
  • Scintillating bubble chamber
  • Directionality detectors
  • R&D Detector technology
  • gas chromatography
  • Molecular Dynamics simulations
  • Data analysis - Simulations MC, GEANT4
  • Dark matter theory


PHYS 130:  Wave Motion, Optics, and Sound (Fall term)

PHYS 397: Projects in Experimental Physics (Winter term)

PHYS 495/595: Dark Matter (Winter term)


PHYS 130 - Wave Motion, Optics, and Sound

Geometrical optics, optical instruments, oscillations, waves, sound, interference, diffraction. Prerequisites: Mathematics 30-1, Mathematics 31, Physics 30. Corequisite: MATH 100 or 113 or 114 or 117 or 134 or 144 or equivalent. Restricted to Engineering students. Other students who take this course will receive *3.0.

PHYS 397 - Projects in Experimental Physics

Projects from core physics topics including classical and quantum optics, particle physics, solid state physics and surface science. Students master the fundamental skills for work in research labs and related settings through design and execution of experimental projects. Prerequisite: PHYS 292 or 297, and PHYS 381. Corequisite MATH 337 or ECE 341 or equivalent.

PHYS 495 - Special Topics in Physics

The course covers specialized topics of interest to advanced undergraduate students. Consult the Department for details about current offerings. Prerequisites depend on the subject. Credit for this course may be obtained more than once.

PHYS 595 - Special Topics in Physics

This course covers specialized topics of interest to junior graduate students. Consult the Department for details about current offerings. Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor. Credit for this course may be obtained more than once.

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