Physics & Astronomy Colloquium – Fall 2019 – Quinn
October 16 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Speaker: Sean Quinn (UCLA)
Title: The GeneralAntiParticle Spectrometer: hunting for dark matter signatures with low energy cosmic ray antinuclei
The particle nature of dark matter remains poorly understood and an open puzzle. Searches for dark matter candidates use three main techniques: production at accelerators, indirect and direct detection of astrophysical candidates. In the latter, an extremely sensitive apparatus looks for nuclear recoil due to interaction with a dark matter particle. Although conceptually simple, in practice, these experiments are very challenging due to various backgrounds. Indirect detection looks for dark matter signatures in cosmogenic particles. Cosmic ray antimatter is particularly compelling since it’s rarely produced in typical astrophysical processes, so any observed excess might indicate a contribution from dark matter annihilation. A specific species, the antideuteron, is so seldom produced that even a handful of observations would be highly significant. After reviewing the main principles of indirect detection, I’ll introduce the General AntiParticle Spectrometer, a balloon-borne instrument explicitly designed to detect low energy antinuclei. Highlights of the recent construction progress will be presented along with the expected performance, and finally a discussion on how GAPS data constrains dark matter models.
Speaker Biography: TBA