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A Dark Matter Search Using the Final SuperCDMS Soudan Dataset and the Development of a Large-Format, Highly-Multiplexed, Athermal-Phonon-Mediated Particle Detector


Cornell, Brett Durcan (2018) A Dark Matter Search Using the Final SuperCDMS Soudan Dataset and the Development of a Large-Format, Highly-Multiplexed, Athermal-Phonon-Mediated Particle Detector. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/M297-J716.


Over the past eighty years, numerous complementary observations of our universe have indicated that our current description of physics is far from complete. The "ordinary matter", such as electrons, protons, photons and neutrons, that constitutes the bulk of all human physical experiences is actually only a minority (about 16%) of the total mass of the universe. The remaining 84% is very poorly understood, but has profound effects on the dynamics and evolution of our universe. Because it does not interact with light, and is not observable in telescopes on earth, this extra mass is usually referred to as "dark matter". Although the dark matter is poorly understood, Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) are a well-motivated candidate that can be directly detected via a non-gravitational interaction with normal matter, potentially allowing for direct terrestrial detection and characterization of this dark matter. This dissertation is focused on this direct WIMP detection and will be broken into two main parts.

The first part focuses on the blinded analysis of roughly three years of data collected from March 2012 to November 2015 by the SuperCDMS Soudan experiment. SuperCDMS Soudan consists of an array of 15, 0.6-kg, cryogenic, Ge iZIP particle detectors situated in a decommissioned iron mine in remote northern Minnesota. This analysis is optimized to be sensitive to theoretical WIMP masses above 10 GeV/c2. This result set the strongest limits for WIMP--germanium-nucleus interactions for WIMP masses greater than 12 Gev/c2.

The second part focuses on the development new kind of particle detector in the style of a SuperCDMS iZIP, designed to simplify fabrication and readout, improve phonon-based position reconstruction, and help to scale to larger target arrays. These detectors replace the TES-based phonon sensors of the iZIP with Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs).

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:CDMS, Dark Matter, MKID
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Golwala, Sunil
Group:Astronomy Department
Thesis Committee:
  • Golwala, Sunil (chair)
  • Spiropulu, Maria
  • Cheung, Clifford W.
  • Schwab, Keith C.
Defense Date:30 May 2018
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06082018-171453167
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:11056
Deposited By: Brett Cornell
Deposited On:12 Jun 2018 22:22
Last Modified:26 Oct 2021 17:50

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