Engineering a Dark Matter Detector: the Intricacies of Construction of DRIFT IIe


Sean Curran

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The DRIFT project, which stands for (Direction Recoil Identification from Tracks,) is a longstanding experiment to look for dark matter. The DRIFT collaboration includes Occidental College, the University of New Mexico, Colorado State University, the University of Sheffield in England and, the University of Edinburgh. The interactions between normal matter and dark matter are very rare and weak, making them hard to detect. Consequently, the collaboration wants to build a more accurate and larger detector to learn more about the elusive nature of dark matter. The new detector, which will be known as DRIFT III, is the future of the project; however, before they can begin work on DRIFT III, they needed to create an engineering prototype. This is where my summer research becomes involved. My talk will be about our work done over the last 10 weeks; it will elucidate the construction process for the DRIFT IIe prototypes and the intricacies of their engineering. I will discuss the various stages of the process including: wire-winding, strong-back construction, wire lowering, and soldering. Additionally, I will mention the various problems we encountered at each step and the budget-friendly creative fixes we implemented to sidestep them. I will comment on the time horizons of the project as whole, and discuss in more depth the motivation for building DRIFT IIe that was hinted at above. Finally, I will briefly talk about the roles and challenges of being an experimental physicist as I have observed over the summer.


Dan Snowden-Ifft




Ford Mentors Endowment

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