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Title: SABRE: A search for dark matter and a test of the DAMA/LIBRA annual-modulation result using thallium-doped sodium-iodide scintillation detectors
Authors: Shields, Emily Kathryn
Advisors: Calaprice, Frank P
Contributors: Physics Department
Keywords: DAMA/LIBRA
dark matter
Subjects: Physics
Particle physics
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Ample evidence has been gathered demonstrating that the majority of the mass in the universe is composed of non-luminous, non-baryonic matter. Though the evidence for dark matter is unassailable, its nature and properties remain unknown. A broad effort has been undertaken by the physics community to detect dark-matter particles through direct-detection techniques. For over a decade, the DAMA/LIBRA experiment has observed a highly significant (9.3σ) modulation in the scintillation event rate in their highly pure NaI(Tl) detectors, which they use as the basis of a claim for the discovery of dark-matter particles. However, the dark-matter interpretation of the DAMA/LIBRA modulation remains unverified. While there have been some recent hints of dark matter in the form of a light Weakly-Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP) from the CoGeNT and CDMS-Si experiments, when assuming a WIMP dark-matter model, several other experiments, including the LUX and XENON noble-liquid experiments, the KIMS CsI(Tl) experiment, and several bubble chamber experiments, conflict with DAMA/LIBRA. However, these experiments use different dark-matter targets and cannot be compared with DAMA/LIBRA in a model-independent way. The uncertainty surrounding the dark-matter model, astrophysical model, and nuclear-physics effects makes it necessary for a new NaI(Tl) experiment to directly test the DAMA/LIBRA result. The Sodium-iodide with Active Background REjection (SABRE) experiment seeks to provide a much-needed model-independent test of the DAMA/LIBRA modulation by developing highly pure crystal detectors with very low radioactivity and deploying them in an active veto detector that can reject key backgrounds in a dark-matter measurement. This work focuses on the efforts put forward by the SABRE collaboration in developing low-background, low-threshold crystal detectors, designing and fabricating a liquid-scintillator veto detector, and simulating the predicted background spectrum for a dark-matter measurement. In addition, recent controversy surrounding the value of an important parameter for direct detection—the nuclear quenching factor—prompted SABRE to perform a measurement of the quenching factor in sodium. The measurement, its results, and the implications for DAMA/LIBRA and dark matter are also described.
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Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Physics

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