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Title: A novel phonon-scintillation cryogenic detector and cabling solution for dark matter direct detection
Author: Zhang, Xiaohe
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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The EDELWEISS experiment is one of the dark matter direct detection experiments. It aims to detect WIMP interactions using an array of cryogenic germanium detectors. In the previous EDELWEISS-II phase, the cables and connectors used have been identified as a major source of neutron background in the experiment, which means that further effort aimed at better WIMP-nucleon interaction detection sensitivity requires a new, different cold cabling solution connecting the detectors to the front-end electronics. Motivated by this, a new two-section cold cabling system based on semi-flexible laminated copper and stainless steel cables has been developed for the EDELWEISS- III phase at Oxford. Batches of prototypes have been tested first in a cryostat at Oxford as part of a phonon-scintillation detector module, and then at the LSM underground laboratory in several EDELWEISS-III commissioning runs. Following that, a final set of cabling has been produced and installed in the EDELWEISS-III setup, which is currently conducting a science run aiming to improve its sensitivity reach compared to the previous results. This new cold cabling system has shown similar electrical performance as the previous coaxial cabling when comparing different cold cabling configurations in a commissioning run at LSM. Also, its background contribution is within the EDELWEISS-III requirements, according to radioactivity level tests and Monte Carlo simulations. In addition, the assembled connectors have allowed hundreds of signal tracks to be installed within a few days and the low material and space budget has made the cables compatible with the compact cryostat design. Besides reading out detectors for dark matter detection, prototypes of this cabling solution for a wider application range have also been produced at Oxford. The next generation dark matter direct detection experiments aim to achieve detection sensitivity better by a few orders of magnitude. This requires a target mass at tonne-scale, which converts to thousands of cryogenic detectors. Cryogenic phonon-scintillation detectors used in current dark matter searches can provide excellent performance but they usually require individual tuning and attention, making operation in large-scale experiments difficult. It is also technically challenging to stably produce such detectors in large quantity. Therefore, a scalable, robust novel detector concept for cryogenic phonon- scintillation detectors to be used in future rare event search experiments has been developed in this work. This detector module consists of a phonon detector based on a CaMoO4 scintillating crystal as the target with an attached NTD-Ge sensor as the thermometer, and a light detector based on a low-temperature PMT. To provide the high voltage necessary for PMT operation while ensuring the detector module can be cooled down and that the performance of the phonon detector is unaffected, a high voltage supply system based on a Cockcroft-Walton generator (CWG), a transformer and a small AC input has been designed and tested in the cryostat. The laminated cabling system is chosen for reading out the phonon channel and connecting the CWG and the PMT. A test run has demonstrated that, the high voltage can be provided to the PMT without causing a problem to the detector operation, and it is feasible to operate the low-temperature PMT at a temperature as low as 17 mK. Testing with a cobalt-57 gamma source, the phonon detector and the light detector have achieved resolutions of 1.07 keV and 34.2 keV for the 122.06 keV peak respectively. This is close to the performance of detectors used in the current dark matter direct searches, proving this detector concept can be applied to future large-scale dark matter direct detection experiments and other rare event searches. Using the light channel in this detector setup, the scintillation properties of CaMoO4 has been studied. In this work, the experimental data of its scintillation decay time constant has been extended from the previous 7 K to milli-Kelvin temperatures. The data are interpreted using a three-level model, confirming the existence of a metastable emission level in CaMoO4, and giving various parameters of its emission centre. This suggests that the work related to producing a high voltage supply and demonstrating the excellent performance of a low-temperature PMT could also be attractive to scintillator studies at cryogenic temperatures.
Supervisor: Kraus, Hans Sponsor: China Scholarship Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Physics ; Particle physics ; Dark matter ; Cryogenic detector ; Cabling