The SMU group plays a strong and leading role in the analysis of data collected by the experiment. Prof. Cooley served as analysis coordinator and she and her colleagues brought to completion the analysis of the final exposure of the CDMS II experiment.
More recently the group has been working on the analysis of the data from the first run of SuperCDMS at the Soudan Underground Laboratory. This will be the first analysis of data taken with the new iZIP detectors.
Background Characterization and Rejection
The only way to detect dark matter is to classify and reject all of the things that can fake it; this is the key to any direct detection search. CDMS has traditionally maintained a near-zero background expectation at each phase of the experiment, which allows our sensitivity to scale directly with the size of our exposure and remain a leader in the field.
The SMU group is playing a leading role in the further study and characterization of radioactive and cosmogenic backgrounds. We strive to develop new techniques for classifying and rejecting backgrounds from neutrons and beta radiation, the leading sources.
Neutrons from the decay of naturally occurring uranium and thorium in the materials surrounding the detectors are a background of great concern for the next generation of our experiment. The SMU group is conducting simulations of possible neutron veto and shielding designed to identify, characterize and reject this potential background.
Prof. Cooley is a co-leader of the Materials Acquisition and Screening working group in the SuperCDMS collaboration. The SMU group owns and operates an XIA alpha particle counter named Peruna. This instrument is used as part of the SuperCDMS screening program to characterize and study the 222Rn decay induced alpha background rates in materials that will be used to construct the next generation SuperCDMS experiment in SNOLAB.
Prof. Cooley is a co-Principle Investigator of the AARM (Assays and Acquisition of Radiopure Materials) collaboration. This collaboration is developing integrative tools to facilitate underground research in the United States. As part of that research, the SMU group is part of an effort to develop a universal database of the radiopurity of materials that have been measured by scientists around the world. This database will be used by the community of researchers who require ultra-low backgrounds in the materials used to construct their experiments.
- February 2014: The SuperCDMS Collaboration release results from a low threshold analysis. See our preprint (arXiv:1402.7137)
- February 2014: Congratulations to graduate student Hang Qiu for winning first prize in physics at the SMU Research Fair for his poster on a design of a neutron veto for the next generation SuperCDMS at SNOLAB experiment.
- April 15, 2013: The CDMS collaboration releases preprints arxiv:1304.4279 and arxiv:1304.3706 with new results in the search for dark matter using the CDMS II silicon detectors.