12:00–1:00 pm ERC 401
Carmen Carmona Benitez, Pennsylvania State University
"Near Future of Dark Matter Searches: Go Big, or Go Low"
Host: Daniel Baxter
The identification of dark matter is presently one of the greatest challenges in science, fundamental to our understanding of the Universe. There are a number of experiments and R&D projects planned in the near future aiming to directly detect dark matter particles, and they largely fall into two categories: larger iterations of previous experiments; and novel techniques that seek to drive sensitivity towards low mass particles. One of the former, the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) experiment has grown out of its two precursors with the goal of constructing a next generation dark matter detector at Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in South Dakota, with 7 tonnes of fully active liquid xenon. LZ has been designed to explore much of the parameter space available for WIMP models, with excellent sensitivity for WIMP masses between a few GeV and a few TeV. In this talk I will present an overview of the LZ detector design, current project status and timeline.
As for the latter, we explore the use of a novel technique, the Snowball chamber, in the search for low-mass dark matter. This chamber uses supercooled water as the target, employing an exotic phase transition of metastable water in a similar fashion to a bubble chamber in reverse, but with enhanced low energy threshold (sub-keV) and background discrimination as a function of thermodynamic conditions. I will discuss the potential of this new technology to drastically expand detector sensitivity in the sub-GeV range, opening up a new parameter space currently out of reach.