Physics & Astronomy Colloquium – Spring 2020 – Kamaha
March 4 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Speaker: Alvine Kamaha (University of Albany)
Title: Building LZ; the world’s biggest and cleanest Dark Matter detector to date
Abstract: An astonishing conclusion of modern cosmology is that about 80% of the Universe matter is in an unknown and yet to be discovered form so-called Dark Matter. Searching for this missing matter of the Universe has become one of the most important and fascinating challenges in particle physics research today. Numerous experiments are in the race for dark matter discovery utilizing different detection technologies. Among them, the noble liquid time projection chamber (TPC) has emerged as the leading technology and there are currently ongoing efforts to build bigger and bigger noble liquid TPCs to probe the nature of Dark Matter. The LUX-Zeplin (LZ) experiment is currently finishing the construction of the biggest noble liquid Xenon (LXe) TPC to date and promises an unprecedented sensitivity to Dark Matter and potentially its discovery. To this effect, LZ has gone through a vast and rigorous screening and cleanliness campaign to ensure all potential backgrounds, especially radon, are under control.
In this talk, I will first discuss evidence for Dark Matter existence and its different detection techniques with an emphasis on the LXe TPC technology. I will then focus on the stringent assay and cleanliness program developed by LZ to limit its internal backgrounds and reach its goal of the world’s most sensitive dark matter detector once it becomes operational this year.