C. E. Dahl

Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, United States

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Publications (7)15.46 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We have directly measured the energy threshold and efficiency for bubble nucleation from iodine recoils in a CF3I bubble chamber in the energy range of interest for a dark matter search. These interactions cannot be probed by standard neutron calibration methods, so we develop a new technique by observing the elastic scattering of 12 GeV/c negative pions. The pions are tracked with a silicon pixel telescope and the reconstructed scattering angle provides a measure of the nuclear recoil kinetic energy. The bubble chamber was operated with a nominal threshold of (13.6+-0.6) keV. Interpretation of the results depends on the response to fluorine and carbon recoils, but in general we find agreement with the predictions of the classical bubble nucleation theory. This measurement confirms the applicability of CF3I as a target for spin-independent dark matter interactions and represents a novel technique for calibration of superheated fluid detectors.
    Physical review D: Particles and fields 04/2013; 88(2).
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    ABSTRACT: New data are reported from the operation of a 4.0 kg CF$_{3}$I bubble chamber in the 6800-foot-deep SNOLAB underground laboratory. The effectiveness of ultrasound analysis in discriminating alpha-decay background events from single nuclear recoils has been confirmed, with a lower bound of $>$99.3% rejection of alpha-decay events. Twenty single nuclear recoil event candidates and three multiple bubble events were observed during a total exposure of 553 kg-days distributed over three different bubble nucleation thresholds. The effective exposure for single bubble recoil-like events was 437.4 kg-days. A neutron background internal to the apparatus, of known origin, is estimated to account for five single nuclear recoil events and is consistent with the observed rate of multiple bubble events. This observation provides world best direct detection constraints on WIMP-proton spin-dependent scattering for WIMP masses $>$20 GeV/c$^{2}$ and demonstrates significant sensitivity for spin-independent interactions.
    Physical review D: Particles and fields 04/2012;
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    C. E. Dahl, J. Hall, W. H. Lippincott
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    ABSTRACT: The SIMPLE Collaboration has reported results from their superheated C2ClF5 droplet detectors, including a description of acoustic discrimination between \alpha decays and nuclear recoils. Our concern is that the events in the neutron calibration data and the events identified as neutrons in the physics data are not drawn from the same parent distribution. This fact calls into question the identification of the background events as neutrons, the use of the calibration data to define the acceptance of WIMP-induced nuclear recoils, and the observation of discrimination against \alpha's.
    Physical Review Letters 11/2011; 108(25). · 7.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Data from the operation of a bubble chamber filled with 3.5 kg of CF3I in a shallow underground site are reported. An analysis of ultrasound signals accompanying bubble nucleations confirms that alpha decays generate a significantly louder acoustic emission than single nuclear recoils, leading to an efficient background discrimination. Three dark matter candidate events were observed during an effective exposure of 28.1  kg  day, consistent with a neutron background. This observation provides strong direct detection constraints on weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP)-proton spin-dependent scattering for WIMP masses >20  GeV/c2.
    Physical Review Letters 01/2011; 106(2):021303. · 7.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Data from the operation of a bubble chamber filled with 3.5 kg of CF{sub 3}I in a shallow underground site are reported. An analysis of ultrasound signals accompanying bubble nucleations confirms that alpha decays generate a significantly louder acoustic emission than single nuclear recoils, leading to an efficient background discrimination. Three dark matter candidate events were observed during an effective exposure of 28.1 kg-day, consistent with a neutron background. This observation provides the strongest direct detection constraint to date on WIMP-proton spin-dependent scattering for WIMP masses > 20 GeV/c{sup 2}.
    08/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: The nature of non-baryonic dark matter is one of the most intriguing questions for particle physics at the start of the 21st century. There is ample evidence for its existence, but almost nothing is known of its properties. WIMPs are a very appealing candidate particle and several experimental campaigns are underway around the world to search for these particles via the nuclear recoils that they should induce. The COUPP series of bubble chambers has played a significant role in the WIMP search. Through a sequence of detectors of increasing size, a number of R&D issues have arisen and been solved, and the technology has now been advanced to the point where the construction of large chambers requires a modest research effort, some development, but mostly just engineering. It is within this context that we propose to build the next COUPP detector - COUPP-500, a ton scale device to be built over the next three years at Fermilab and then deployed deep underground at SNOLAB. The primary advantages of the COUPP approach over other technologies are: (1) The ability to reject electron and gamma backgrounds by arranging the chamber thermodynamics such that these particles do not even trigger the detector. (2) The ability to suppress neutron backgrounds by having the radioactively impure detection elements far from the active volume and by using the self-shielding of a large device and the high granularity to identify multiple bubbles. (3) The ability to build large chambers cheaply and with a choice of target fluids. (4) The ability to increase the size of the chambers without changing the size or complexity of the data acquisition. (5) Sensitivity to spin-dependent and spin-independent WIMP couplings. These key advantages should enable the goal of one background event in a ton-year of exposure to be achieved. The conceptual design of COUPP-500 is scaled from the preceding devices. In many cases all that is needed is a simple scaling up of components previously used. Calibration and R&D are still needed on some aspects of the system. We know we have the ability to distinguish alpha-induced events from nuclear recoils, but we do not yet know whether the combination of material purity and rejection are good enough to run for a year with no alpha background. We also need to have more detailed measurements of the detector threshold and a better understanding of its high gamma rejection. In addition, there are important checks to make on the longevity of the detector components in the hydraulic fluid and on the chemistry of the active fluid. The 2009 PASAG report explicitly supported the construction of the COUPP-500 device in all funding scenarios. The NSF has shown similar enthusiasm. It awarded one of its DUSEL S4 grants to assist in the engineering needed to build COUPP-500. The currently estimated cost of COUPP-500 is $8M, about half the $15M-$20M price tag expected by the PASAG report for a next generation dark matter search experiment. The COUPP-500 device will have a spin independent WIMP-nucleus cross-section sensitivity of 6 x 10 cm² after a background-free year of running. This device should then provide the benchmark against which all other WIMP searches are measured.
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    ABSTRACT: Bubble chambers are promising devices for the detection of WIMP dark matter, due to their easy scalability to large target masses and insensitivity to background and radiation. The COUPP collaboration has constructed small chambers which have achieved competitive sensitivity for spin-dependent WIMP-nucleon scattering. A new chamber, COUPP-60, containing 60-kg of CFI target liquid, has been built and is being commissioned at Fermilab. We propose to move this detector to SNOLAB after completing tests in a shallow underground site at Fermilab. At SNOLAB, we expect the sensitivity of the experiment to be determined by the level of emitting contamination in the target liquid. If we achieve state-of-the-art levels of emitting contamination, we will improve current sensitivity by approximately four orders of magnitude beyond our published limits, to the region of 10 pb for a 30 GeV WIMP interacting by spin-dependent couplings to the proton. This will allow a first exploration of the phase space favored by supersymmetric models in this regime.