Dr. Jeffrey Nico’s research interests have centered around studies of fundamental physics using neutrons and the field of neutron metrology and standards. He has been involved in experiments that probe the weak interaction formulation within the Standard Model through precision measurements of neutron beta decay properties. Specifically, he has used cold neutron beams to measure the neutron lifetime, the time-reversal violating D-coefficient, and radiative neutron decay. He is also interested in using neutrons to understand hadronic parity violation in few body systems. It is experimentally studied using polarized neutrons that undergo a rotation in a liquid helium target as a result of the nucleon-nucleon weak interaction. He has a longstanding interest in neutrino physics and has been a collaborator in the Russian-American Gallium Experiment (SAGE) solar neutrino experiment since 1991.
In the field of neutron standards and dosimetry, Dr. Nico maintains thermal and fast neutron fields at NIST. These fields are made available to users from academia, industry, and governmental laboratories for applications such as detector calibration, neutron transport studies, sample activation experiments, electronic damage studies, and radiation effects on biological systems. He works to ensure the reliability of methods in neutron metrology through the participation in international key comparisons of the BIPM. He is also interested in improving techniques of neutron detection and spectroscopy. The approach uses segmented spectrometers and the principle of capture-gating to suppress backgrounds. Spectrometers are used for the measurement of low levels of fast neutrons for applications including the detection of very low-activity neutron sources and the characterization of the flux and spectrum of fast neutrons at the Earth's surface and in the underground environment.
Dr. Nico is currently the leader of the Neutron Physics Group. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He holds a position as a Visiting Research Scientist at the University of Maryland. He has served on numerous committees, reviews, and panels for the American Physical Society, Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation including the APS Committee on Scientific Publications, the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, and the Physical Review C editorial board.