DUSEL and the DarkSide of Physics
Dr. Kara Keeter
Idaho State University
Department of Physics
A world-class Deep Underground Science
and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) is being built in the former Homestake mine
in South Dakota, at the site of the Ray Davis solar neutrino experiment. The unprecedented opportunities
afforded by DUSEL will allow for a number of state-of-the-art next-generation
experiments in nuclear and particle astrophysics. One of the primary goals for building DUSEL is to provide
dedicated infrastructure for dark matter detectors.
The DarkSide detector (and its next
generation version, MAX) will require large amounts of noble gases with
ultra-low levels of elemental impurities such as H2O, O2, and N2. We are designing a custom trace-gas
analyzer based on Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy that is sensitive enough to the
levels that are needed (< 1 ppb).
CRDS involves measuring the decay rate of the intensity of monochromatic
light transmitted at mirrors enclosing a cavity filled with a sample of gas. By comparing the decay rates for light
at a resonance frequency of the contaminant of interest with that of light that
is off-resonance, a direct measurement of the amount of absorbing material (the
contaminant) is obtained.
I will give a brief introduction to
dark matter and noble liquid-based dark matter detection, and describe the DarkSide
and MAX detectors and the development of the custom CRDS analyzer. An overview of DUSEL and DUSEL-related
projects will also be given.