The Center for Particle Physics at Royal Holloway is offering a PhD opportunity for searching for dark matter in the DEAP-3600 experiment. The nature of dark matter is one of the fundamental questions about the universe today, at the forefront of physics research. Direct detection experiments seek to observe interactions of dark matter particles with atomic nuclei Detector development in this area has pushed the technology of particle detection to low energies and very low background levels. DEAP-3600 is an international collaboration engaged in a staged program to develop very large liquid Argon (LAr) detectors for low-background searches. DEAP-3600 is a 3.6 tonne LAr detector at SNOLab, which is commissioning now and will begin taking dark matter search data in early 2016. DEAP-3600 has more than an order of magnitude increase in sensitivity over current results to dark matter particles with masses >100 GeV/c2.
This studentship project is to work on the dark matter search analysis development and on the calibration systems critical to studying the detector response to dark matter-like signals as well as monitoring the detector stability. With 100 billion background events expected within three years of running and <10 signal events, characterizing the detectors response is key to extracting and verifying a dark matter signal. The PhD student will contribute to executing the calibration program using gamma and neutron sources, simulate the detector response to calibration and dark matter signals, and develop tools to analyze this data. The primary analysis task is to develop a dark matter search analysis with flexibility to search for signals including exotic dark matter candidates beyond the WIMP dark matter hypothesis.