The Elusive WIMP: The SuperCDMS Experiment

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Date/Time:Monday, 23 Apr 2012 from 4:10 pm to 5:00 pm
Location:Physics Hall Room 5
Phone:515-294-5441
Channel:Colloquium
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Dr. Priscilla Cushman (University of Minnesota)

Abstract

Weakly Interacting Massive Particles or WIMPs are our best guess for the elusive dark matter than fills our galaxy and defines the evolution of our Universe. A host of technologies have been leveraged in the search, but so far we have no definitive sighting. I will present a snapshot of where we stand now and what the near future holds for dark matter detection in the lab, with special emphasis on the SuperCDMS experiment, which is just starting up with new detectors in the Soudan Mine in Minnesota. SuperCDMS can distinguish between electron recoils (gammas and betas) and nuclear recoils (neutrons and WIMPs). This event by event discrimination allows background-free performance. New advances in cryogenic detectors promise even better sensitivity. Lower thresholds allow us to look for non-standard WIMP signals, and even axions.