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Title: Background reduction techniques and simulations for the PICASSO and PICO dark matter search experiments.
Authors: Scallon, Olivia
Keywords: Dark matter;WIMP;superheated liquid detectors;SNOLAB;Geant4;MCNP;muon veto;muon-induced neutrons
Issue Date: 18-Nov-2019
Abstract: Dark matter is one of the most challenging mysteries of cosmology. The detection of Dark Matter is a main objective in modern experimental physics. The PICASSO and then the PICO experiments work towards the direct detection of WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles) with superheated liquid detectors. Phase transitions in the superheated liquids are triggered by the nuclear recoil caused by the elastic collision of a dark matter particle. The phase transition in the detectors leads to the formation of a gaseous bubble. The acoustic signal of the nucleation of a bubble is recorded with piezoelectric sensors and pictures of the bubbles are taken with cameras. Many techniques are used to isolate potential dark matter signal from background signals. This thesis presents the work done for the fabrication process and purification techniques of the PICASSO detectors in the clean room at Université de Montréal. The detectors built with these new purification techniques allowed a background reduction of a factor of 10. The techniques and methods will be presented as well as the latest results from the data taken with these detectors. Simulations for the PICO experiment will also be presented. MCNP neutron background simulations from radioactive materials in the PICO detector will be presented. MCNP simulations for neutrons in the SNOLAB drift will also be presented as well as other MCNP simulations for the design and optimisation of the experiment. Finally, Geant4 muon-induced neutron simulations in the SNOLAB drift will be presented as well as Geant4 simulations for the design of a muon veto. These simulations were built entirely from scratch by using the SHIELDING physics list.
Appears in Collections:Material Sciences - Doctoral Theses

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