Long-term study of backgrounds in the DRIFT-II directional dark matter experiment

J. Brack, E. Daw, A. Dorofeev, A. C. Ezeribe, J. R. Fox, J. -L. Gauvreau, M. Gold, L. Harmon, J. L. Harton, R. Lafler, J. M. Landers, R. Lauer, E. R. Lee, D. Loomba, J. A. J. Matthews, E. H. Miller, A. Monte, A. StJ. Murphy, S. M. Paling, N. PhanM. Pipe*, M. Robinson, S. Sadler, A. Scarff, D. P. Snowden-Ifft, N. J. C. Spooner, S. Telfer, D. Walker, L. Yuriev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Low-pressure gas Time Projection Chambers being developed for directional dark matter searches offer a technology with strong particle identification capability combined with the potential to produce a definitive detection of Galactic Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP) dark matter. A source of events able to mimic genuine WIMP-induced nuclear recoil tracks arises in such experiments from the decay of radon gas inside the vacuum vessel. The recoils that result from associated daughter nuclei are termed Radon Progeny Recoils (RPRs). We present here experimental data from a long-term study using the DRIFT-II directional dark matter experiment at the Boulby Underground Laboratory of the RPRs, and other backgrounds that are revealed by relaxing the normal cuts that are applied to WIMP search data. By detailed examination of event classes in both spatial and time coordinates using 3 : 5 years of data, we demonstrate the ability to determine the origin of 4 specific background populations and describe development of new technology and mitigation strategies to suppress them.

Original languageEnglish
Article number07021
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Instrumentation
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Wire chambers(MWPC, Thin-gap chambers, drift chambers, drift tubes, proportional chambers etc)
  • Time projection Chambers (TPC)
  • Gaseous imaging and tracking detectors
  • Dark Matter detectors (WIMPs, axions, etc.)


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