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Gain resolution studies and first dark matter search with novel 3D nuclear recoil detectors

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Title:Gain resolution studies and first dark matter search with novel 3D nuclear recoil detectors
Authors:Thorpe, Thomas Nathan
Contributors:Vahsen, Sven (advisor)
Physics (department)
3D vector tracking pixel readout
Avalanche gain
Directional dark matter detection
Fano factor
show 2 moreGain resolution
show less
Date Issued:Dec 2018
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:Dark matter remains one of nature's cruelest puzzles and a world wide effort has been underway for many years to directly detect it in the laboratory. To date, however, no convincing signal has been observed. The race is on to figure out novel and better ways of detecting it, which will be the topic of this thesis. Traditional terrestrial detectors measure the energy and arrival time of interactions, but more information exists. If the angular distribution of the events resulting from these interactions could also be measured then this could be used to prove, unambiguously, the cosmological origin of dark matter. This directional detection is gaining traction and R$\&$D efforts exist around the world. We present some of our own R$\&$D efforts with small prototype gas Time Projection Chambers (TPCs) with Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) charge amplification, and high resolution 3D pixel charge readout. These include gain and gain resolutions measurements with multiple GEM stages and various gases including our first gain measurements with Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF$_6$), a Negative Ion (NI) gas. The advantages of a high-gain/low-noise detector are discussed and some remarks about the target gas choice in future detectors are made. We also unveil our first WIMP-nucleon scattering cross limit obtained from a series of small TPCs and discuss what still needs to be done, including using the measured event angular distribution, to improve our limit. Finally, we discuss our result in the context of the direct, and directional, communities by anticipating future larger directional dark matter detectors.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
Pages/Duration:153 pages
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Physics

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