University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Thursday, December 11th 2014
1:30 pm:
Thesis Defense in 130 PAN
Speaker: Tom Hofer, University of Minnesota
Subject: Development of CDMS-II Surface Event Rejection Techniques and Their Extensions to Lower Energy Thresholds
This is the public portion of Mr. Hofer's Thesis Defense.

The CDMS-II phase of the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search, a dark matter direct-detection experiment, was operated at the Soudan Underground Laboratory from 2003 to 2008. The full payload consisted of 30 ZIP detectors, totaling approximately 1.1 kg of Si and 4.8 kg of Ge, operated at temperatures of 50 mK. The ZIP detectors read out both ionization and phonon pulses from scatters within the crystals; channel segmentation and analysis of pulse timing parameters allowed eff ective fi ducialization of the crystal volumes and background rejection sufficient to set world-leading limits at the times of their publications.

A full re-analysis of the CDMS-II data was motivated by an improvement in the event reconstruction algorithms which improved the resolution of ionization energy and timing information. The Ge data were re-analyzed using three distinct background-rejection techniques; the Si data from runs 125 - 128 were analyzed for the fi rst time using the most successful of the techniques from the Ge re-analysis. The results of these analyses prompted a novel "mid-threshold" analysis, wherein energy thresholds were lowered but background rejection using phonon timing information was still maintained. This technique proved to have signifi cant discrimination power, maintaining adequate signal acceptance and minimizing background leakage.

The primary background for CDMS-II analyses comes from surface events, whose poor ionization collection make them difficult to distinguish from true nuclear recoil events. The novel detector technology of SuperCDMS, the successor to CDMS-II, uses interleaved electrodes to achieve full ionization collection for events occurring at the top and bottom detector surfaces. This, along with dual-sided ionization and phonon instrumentation, allows for excellent fi ducialization and relegates the surface-event rejection techniques of CDMS-II to a secondary level of background discrimination. Current and future SuperCDMS results hold great promise for mid- to low-mass WIMP-search results

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