DETECTION OF GAMMA-X EVENTS IN LUX AND LZ DARK MATTER DETECTORS

Open Access
Author:
Herr, Corey
Area of Honors:
Physics
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Carmen Carmona, Thesis Supervisor
  • Richard Robinett, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • dark matter
  • LUX
  • LZ
  • cosmology
  • particle astrophysics
  • background
Abstract:
Multiple astrophysics observations, including analysis of the cosmic microwave background and gravitational lensing by galaxy clusters, show that there is a missing mass component that we cannot see through telescopes. We call this missing mass dark matter. It is estimated that dark matter makes up about 26.8% of the Universes energy while baryonic matter, the everyday matter that we observe, only makes up about 5%. Dark matter is believed to be composed of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs). WIMPs do not interact via the electromagnetic force and thus cannot be observed optically. LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) is a next generation experiment that will attempt to detect dark matter directly using a 10-tonne liquid xenon detector. I have examined the effect that a class of backgrounds called gamma-X events have on the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) detector. Gamma-X events are ordinary particles (such as photons and electrons) that have detector signatures similar to dark matter due to anomalous signal collection.