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Probing the Dark Sector: The Quest for a Background-Free Detector

Daniel Baxter, Northwestern University
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 10:30am to 11:30am
CENPA Conference Room, Rm 178

​Dark matter represents one of the most sought after discoveries in physics. Leading theories predict that extremely sensitive detectors could probe nuclear recoils from dark matter interactions. The PICO collaboration uses bubble chambers to look for the energy deposition from such an interaction. The biggest challenge in searching for dark matter is the mitigation and understanding of the numerous other sources of events that could look like dark matter, namely radioactive backgrounds. I will discuss how a long effort to understand backgrounds in the PICO bubble chambers led to the recent background-free result of PICO-60 and how discoveries made along the way might affect other rare event searches.

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