DRIFT-III: Engineering a Prototype Dark Matter Detector
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For a large part of the summer, I identified and classified alpha particles from data obtained by the DRIFT (Directional Recoil Identification From Tracks) dark matter detector. The three main types of alphas are cataloged with respect to their orientation and origin within the detector, and are known as alphas, contained alphas, and GPCCs (Gold Plated Cathode Crossers). After analyzing the alphas, I compared my results to those obtained by the computer, and found the computer?s analysis to be somewhat flawed. I altered the computer analysis by changing the R code to better the alpha identification and interpretation. After reviewing and plotting a large amount of data gathered from December 2009 through April 2010, there was a downward sloping trend, particularly in the contained and GPCC alphas. This trend is opposite to earlier findings using the older R code. The negative slope was predominantly on the right hand side of the detector, but significantly affected the total number of alpha particles. While this is not yet explained, it opens up new possibilities for further alpha analysis in order to further understand the alpha particles in DRIFT.