The DARKSIDE of Dark Matter

When: Thursday, March 01, 2012 at 11:00 am
Where: DA 114
Speaker: Luca Grandi
Organization: Princeton University
Sponsor: Physics Colloquium

The search for Dark Matter represents one of the most intriguing open frontiers in modern cosmology and astroparticle physics. The science case is extremely strong: observations of the cosmic microwave background fluctuation, large-scale galaxy surveys, studies of large scale structure formation and of the dynamics of galaxy clusters, all point to the existence of cold dark matter. Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) are an excellent candidate for cold dark matter. These particles, predicted in many new theories extending beyond the standard model, may collide with ordinary nuclei via ultra-weak interactions, and could be detected by means of special, low-background detectors, capable of selectively identifying nuclear recoils – the likely signature of WIMP interactions.

I will present and discuss the DarkSide Project for direct dark matter detection. The use of depleted argon as a target in a two-phase time projection chamber, coupled with a powerful neutron veto based on the Borexino technology, results in a unique detector, capable of achieving background-free conditions. DarkSide-50 is the first detector in the DarkSide program, featuring an active mass of 50 kg of depleted argon. It is designed to reach a sensitivity to the WIMP interaction cross section of 10^-45 cm^2 and will be deployed at Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso in Italy in 2012.