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Title: Direct dark matter detection with the DarkSide-50 experiment

Abstract

The existence of dark matter is known because of its gravitational effects, and although its nature remains undisclosed, there is a growing indication that the galactic halo could be permeated by weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) with mass of the order of $100$$\,GeV/c$$^2$ and coupling with ordinary matter at or below the weak scale. In this context, DarkSide-50 aims to direct observe WIMP-nucleon collisions in a liquid argon dual phase time-projection chamber located deep underground at Gran Sasso National Laboratory, in Italy. In this work a re-analysis of the data that led to the best limit on WIMP-nucleon cross section with an argon target is done. As starting point of the new approach, the energy reconstruction of events is considered: a new energy variable is developed where anti-correlation between ionization and scintillation produced by an interaction is taken into account. As first result, a better energy resolution is achieved. In this new energy framewor k, access is granted to micro-physics parameters fundamental to argon scintillation such as the recombination and quenching as a function of the energy. The improved knowledge of recombination and quenching allows to develop a new model for distinguish between events possibly due to WIMPs and backgrounds. In light of the new model, the final result of this work is a more stringent limit on spin independent WIMP-nucleon cross section with an argon target. This work was supervised by Marco Pallavicini and was completed in collaboration with members of the DarkSide collaboration.

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Univ. of Genoa (Italy)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Fermi National Accelerator Lab. (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP) (SC-25)
OSTI Identifier:
1354864
Report Number(s):
FERMILAB-THESIS-2017-11
1597498
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-07CH11359
Resource Type:
Thesis/Dissertation
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS

Citation Formats

Pagani, Luca. Direct dark matter detection with the DarkSide-50 experiment. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1354864.
Pagani, Luca. Direct dark matter detection with the DarkSide-50 experiment. United States. doi:10.2172/1354864.
Pagani, Luca. Sun . "Direct dark matter detection with the DarkSide-50 experiment". United States. doi:10.2172/1354864. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1354864.
@article{osti_1354864,
title = {Direct dark matter detection with the DarkSide-50 experiment},
author = {Pagani, Luca},
abstractNote = {The existence of dark matter is known because of its gravitational effects, and although its nature remains undisclosed, there is a growing indication that the galactic halo could be permeated by weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) with mass of the order of $100$\,GeV/c$^2$ and coupling with ordinary matter at or below the weak scale. In this context, DarkSide-50 aims to direct observe WIMP-nucleon collisions in a liquid argon dual phase time-projection chamber located deep underground at Gran Sasso National Laboratory, in Italy. In this work a re-analysis of the data that led to the best limit on WIMP-nucleon cross section with an argon target is done. As starting point of the new approach, the energy reconstruction of events is considered: a new energy variable is developed where anti-correlation between ionization and scintillation produced by an interaction is taken into account. As first result, a better energy resolution is achieved. In this new energy framewor k, access is granted to micro-physics parameters fundamental to argon scintillation such as the recombination and quenching as a function of the energy. The improved knowledge of recombination and quenching allows to develop a new model for distinguish between events possibly due to WIMPs and backgrounds. In light of the new model, the final result of this work is a more stringent limit on spin independent WIMP-nucleon cross section with an argon target. This work was supervised by Marco Pallavicini and was completed in collaboration with members of the DarkSide collaboration.},
doi = {10.2172/1354864},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Thesis/Dissertation:
Other availability
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  • While evidence of non-baryonic dark matter has been accumulating for decades, its exact nature continues to remain a mystery. Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) are a well motivated candidate which appear in certain extensions of the Standard Model, independently of dark matter theory. If such particles exist, they should occasionally interact with particles of normal matter, producing a signal which may be detected. The DarkSide-50 direct dark matter experiment aims to detect the energy of recoiling argon atoms due to the elastic scattering of postulated WIMPs. In order to make such a discovery, a clear understanding of both the background and signal region is essential. This understanding requires a careful study of the detector's response to radioactive sources, which in turn requires such sources may be safely introduced into or near the detector volume and reliably removed. The CALibration Insertaion System (CALIS) was designed and built for this purpose in a j oint effort between Fermi National Laboratory and the University of Hawaii. This work describes the design and testing of CALIS, its installation and commissioning at the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso (LNGS) and the multiple calibration campaigns which have successfully employed it. As nuclear recoils produced by WIMPs are indistinguishable from those produced by neutrons, radiogenic neutrons are both the most dangerous class of background and a vital calibration source for the study of the potential WIMP signal. Prior to the calibration of DarkSide-50 with radioactive neutron sources, the acceptance region was determined by the extrapolation of nuclear recoil data from a separate, dedicated experiment, ScENE, which measured the distribution of the pulse shape discrimination parameter,more » $$f_{90}$$, for nuclear recoils of known energies. This work demonstrates the validity of the extrapolation of ScENE values to DarkSide-50, by direct comparison of the $$f_{90}$$ distributio n of nuclear recoils from ScENE and an AmBe calibration sour! ce. The combined acceptance as defined by ScENE and the \textit{in-situ} AmBe calibration were used to establish the best WIMP exclusion limit on an argon target. Unfortunately, radioactive sources used for the calibration of DarkSide-50 are universally accompanied by gamma decays, which obscure the low energy region where most WIMP interactions are expected to occur and seem to make continuing dependence on an external measurement such as ScENE inevitable. However, this work presents a novel method of nuclear recoil calibration employing event selection, unique to the design of DarkSide-50, which produces a nearly pure sample of nuclear recoils. Further, it describes the execution of a neutron calibration campaign, from planning to analysis, which yielded a valuable data set for defining the acceptance region. Together with the event selection techniques, this allows for the definition of the acceptance region independent of ScENE values. Two analytical models of the $$f_{90 }$$ distribution are described and their results for nuclear recoils are compared. Finally, a detailed study of integrated noise in nuclear and electron recoil« less
  • While there is tremendous astrophysical and cosmological evidence for dark matter, its precise nature is one of the most significant open questions in modern physics. Weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) are a particularly compelling class of dark matter candidates with masses of the order 100 GeV and couplings to ordinary matter at the weak scale. Direct detection experiments are aiming to observe the low energy (<100 keV) scattering of dark matter off normal matter. With the liquid noble technology leading the way in WIMP sensitivity, no conclusive signals have been observed yet. The DarkSide experiment is looking for WIMP darkmore » matter using a liquid argon target in a dual-phase time projection chamber located deep underground at Gran Sasso National Laboratory (LNGS) in Italy. Currently filled with argon obtained from underground sources, which is greatly reduced in radioactive 39Ar, DarkSide-50 recently made the most sensitive measurement of the 39Ar activity in underground argon and used it to set the strongest WIMP dark matter limit using liquid argon to date. This work describes the full chain of analysis used to produce the recent dark matter limit, from reconstruction of raw data to evaluation of the final exclusion curve. The DarkSide- 50 apparatus is described in detail, followed by discussion of the low level reconstruction algorithms. The algorithms are then used to arrive at three broad analysis results: The electroluminescence signals in DarkSide-50 are used to perform a precision measurement of ii longitudinal electron diffusion in liquid argon. A search is performed on the underground argon data to identify the delayed coincidence signature of 85Kr decays to the 85mRb state, a crucial ingredient in the measurement of the 39Ar activity in the underground argon. Finally, a full description of the WIMP search is given, including development of cuts, efficiencies, energy scale, and exclusion curve in the WIMP mass vs. spin-independent WIMP-nucleon scattering cross section plane. This work was supervised by Hanguo Wang and was completed in collaboration with members of the DarkSide collaboration.« less
  • In this dissertation, we study the original excess of low energy events observed by the Co- GeNT collaboration and the annual modulation reported by the DAMA/LIBRA collaboration, and discuss whether these signals could both be the result of the same elastically scattering dark matter particle. We find that, without channeling but when taking into account uncertainties in the relevant quenching factors, a dark matter candidate with a mass of approximately ~7.0 GeV and a cross section with nucleons of σ DM-N ~2 x 10 -40 cm 2 could account for both of these observations. We also compare the region ofmore » parameter space favored by DAMA/LIBRA and CoGeNT to the constraints from XENON 10, XENON 100, and CDMS (Si).« less
  • Robust results of WIMP direct detection experiments depend on rm understandings of nuclear recoils in the detector media. This thesis documents the most comprehensive study to date on nuclear recoils in liquid argon - a strong candidate for the next generation multi-ton scale WIMP detectors. This study investigates both the energy partition from nuclear recoil energy to secondary modes (scintillation and ionization) and the pulse shape characteristics of scintillation from nuclear recoils.
  • The Dark matter (DM) problem constitutes a key question at the interface among Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology. The observational data which have been accumulated in the last years point to an existence of non baryonic amount of DM. Since the Standard Model (SM) does not provide any candidate for such non-baryonic DM, the evidence of DM is a major indication for new physics beyond the SM. We will study in this work one of the most popular DM candidates, the so called WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles) from a direct and indirect detection perspective. In order to approach themore » direct and indirect dection of DM in the context of Particle Physics in a more pedagogic way, we will begin our discussion talking about a minimal extension of the SM. Later we will work on the subject in a 3-3-1 model. Next, we will study the role of WIMPs in the Big Bang Nucleosynthesis. Lastly, we will look for indirect DM signals in the center of our galaxy using the NASA Satellite, called Fermi-LAT. Through a comprehensive analysis of the data events observed by Fermi-LAT and some background models, we will constrain the dark matter annihilation cross section for several annihilation channels and dark matter halo profiles.« less