Background Characterization and Discrimination in the Final Analysis of the CDMS II Phase of the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search
The Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) is designed to detect Weakly-Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) in the Milky Way halo. The phase known as CDMS II was performed in the Soudan Underground Laboratory. The final set of CDMS II data, collected in 2007-8 and referred to as Runs 125–8, represents the largest exposure to date for the experiment.
We seek collisions between WIMPs and atomic nuclei in disk-shaped germanium and silicon detectors. A key design feature is to keep the rate of collisions from known particles producing WIMP-like signals very small. The largest category of such background is interactions with electrons in the detectors that occur very close to one of the faces of the detector. The next largest category is collisions between energetic neutrons that bypass the experimental shielding and nuclei in the detectors. Analytical efforts to discriminate these backgrounds and to estimate the rate at which such discrimination fails have been refined and improved throughout each phase of CDMS.
Next-generation detectors for future phases of CDMS require testing at cryogenic test facilities. One such facility was developed at the University of Minnesota in 2007 and has been used continuously since then to test detectors for the next phase of the experiment, known as SuperCDMS.
0798: Particle physics