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 Physics , 2009, DOI: 10.1016/j.astropartphys.2010.08.007 Abstract: We present the first detailed simulations of the head-tail effect relevant to directional Dark Matter searches. Investigations of the location of the majority of the ionization charge as being either at the beginning half (tail) or at the end half (head) of the nuclear recoil track were performed for carbon and sulphur recoils in 40 Torr negative ion carbon disulfide and for fluorine recoils in 100 Torr carbon tetrafluoride. The SRIM simulation program was used, together with a purpose-written Monte Carlo generator, to model production of ionizing pairs, diffusion and basic readout geometries relevant to potential real detector scenarios, such as under development for the DRIFT experiment. The results clearly indicate the existence of a head-tail track asymmetry but with a magnitude critically influenced by two competing factors: the nature of the stopping power and details of the range straggling. The former tends to result in the tail being greater than the head and the latter the reverse.
 Physics , 2015, DOI: 10.1088/1742-6596/650/1/012003 Abstract: Directional sensitivity is one of the most important aspects of WIMP dark matter searches. Yet, making the direction of nuclear recoil visible with large target masses is a challenge. To achieve this, we are exploring a new method of detecting directions of short nuclear recoil tracks in high-pressure Xe gas, down to a few micron long, by utilizing columnar recombination. Columnar recombination changes the scintillation and ionization yields depending on the angle between a track and the electric field direction. In order to realize this, efficient cooling of electrons is essential. Trimethylamine(TMA) is one of the candidate additives to gaseous Xe in order to enhance the effect, not only by efficiently cooling the electrons, but also by increasing the amount of columnar recombination by Penning transfer. We performed a detailed simulation of ionization electrons transport created by nuclear recoils in a Xe + TMA gas mixture, and evaluated the size of the columnar recombination signal. The results show that the directionality signal can be obtained for a track longer than a few micrometers in some ideal cases. Although more studies with realistic assumptions are still needed in order to assess feasibility of this technique, this potentially opens a new possibility for dark matter searches.
 Physics , 2015, Abstract: Directional dark matter detection will require scale-ups to large volumes if low-pressure gas Time Projection Chambers (TPCs) are the only viable technology. We discuss some of the challenges for this technology, where balancing the goal of achieving the best sensitivity with that of cost effective scale-up requires an optimization over a large parameter space. Critical for this are the precision measurements of the fundamental properties of both electron and nuclear recoil tracks down to the lowest energies. Such measurements would provide a benchmark for background discrimination and directional sensitivity that could be used for future optimization studies for directional dark matter experiments. In this paper we describe a small, high resolution, high signal-to-noise GEM-based TPC with a 2D CCD readout designed for this goal. The performance of the detector was characterized using X-rays, gamma-rays, and neutrons, enabling detailed measurements of electron and nuclear recoil tracks. Stable effective gas gains of greater than 1x10^5 were obtained in 100 Torr of pure CF4 by a cascade of three standard CERN GEMs each with a 140 um pitch. The high signal-to-noise and submillimeter resolution of the GEM amplifcation and CCD readout, together with low diffusion, allow for excellent background discrimination down to a recoil energy of ~ 20 keVr. Even lower thresholds, necessary for low mass WIMPs for example, might be achieved by lowering the pressure and/or with full 3D track reconstruction. These and other paths for improvements are discussed, as are possible fundamental limitations imposed by the physics of energy loss.
 Physics , 2007, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.77.043532 Abstract: New techniques for the laboratory direct detection of dark matter weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) are sensitive to the recoil direction of the struck nuclei. We compute and compare the directional recoil rates ${dR}/{d\cos\theta}$ (where $\theta$ is the angle measured from a reference direction in the sky) for several WIMP velocity distributions including the standard dark halo and anisotropic models such as Sikivie's late-infall halo model and logarithmic-ellipsoidal models. Since some detectors may be unable to distinguish the beginning of the recoil track from its end (lack of head-tail discrimination), we introduce a folded'' directional recoil rate ${dR}/{d|\cos\theta|}$, where $|\cos\theta|$ does not distinguish the head from the tail of the track. We compute the CS$_2$ and CF$_4$ exposures required to distinguish a signal from an isotropic background noise, and find that ${dR}/{d|\cos\theta|}$ is effective for the standard dark halo and some but not all anisotropic models.
 Physics , 2010, Abstract: Directional detection of galactic Dark Matter is a promising search strategy for discriminating genuine WIMP events from background ones. However, to take full advantage of this powerful detection method, one need to be able to extract information from an observed recoil map to identify a WIMP signal. We present a comprehensive formalism, using a map-based likelihood method allowing to recover the main incoming direction of the signal, thus proving its galactic origin, and the corresponding significance. Constraints are then deduced in the (sigma_n, m_chi) plane.
 Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1063/1.3700603 Abstract: The DMTPC directional dark matter detection experiment is a low-pressure CF4 gas time projection chamber, instrumented with charge and scintillation photon readout. This detector design strategy emphasizes reconstruction of WIMP-induced nuclear recoil tracks, in order to determine the direction of incident dark matter particles. Directional detection has the potential to make the definitive observation of dark matter using the unique angular signature of the dark matter wind, which is distinct from all known backgrounds. This talk will briefly review the experimental technique and current status of DMTPC.
 Physics , 2009, Abstract: MiMac is a project of micro-TPC matrix of gaseous (He3, CF4) chambers for direct detection of non-baryonic dark matter. Measurement of both track and ionization energy will allow the electron-recoil discrimination, while access to the directionnality of the tracks will open a unique way to distinguish a geniune WIMP signal from any background. First reconstructed tracks of 5.9 keV electrons are presented as a proof of concept.
 Physics , 2013, Abstract: Directional detection is a promising direct Dark Matter (DM) search strategy. The angular distribution of the nuclear recoil tracks from WIMP events should present an anisotropy in galactic coordinates. This strategy requires both a measurement of the recoil energy with a threshold of about 5 keV and 3D recoil tracks down to few millimeters. The MIMAC project, based on a \textmu-TPC matrix, with $CF_4$ and $CHF_3$, is being developed. In June 2012, a bi-chamber prototype was installed at the LSM (Laboratoire Souterrain de Modane). A preliminary analysis of the first four months data taking allowed, for the first time, the observation of recoils from the $\mathrm{^{222}Rn}$ progeny.
 Physics , 2008, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.78.015020 Abstract: Present and planned dark matter detection experiments search for WIMP-induced nuclear recoils in poorly known background conditions. In this environment, the maximum gap statistical method provides a way of setting more sensitive cross section upper limits by incorporating known signal information. We give a recipe for the numerical calculation of upper limits for planned directional dark matter detection experiments, that will measure both recoil energy and angle, based on the gaps between events in two-dimensional phase space.
 Physics , 2010, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.83.083510 Abstract: The magnetic inelastic dark matter (MiDM) model, in which dark matter inelastically scatters off nuclei through a magnetic dipole interaction, has previously been shown to reconcile the DAMA/LIBRA annual modulation signal with null results from other experiments. In this work, we explore the unique directional detection signature of MiDM. After the dark matter scatters into its excited state, it decays with a lifetime of order 1 microsecond and emits a photon with energy ~100 keV. Both the nuclear recoil and the corresponding emitted photon can be detected by studying delayed coincidence events. The recoil track and velocity of the excited state can be reconstructed from the nuclear interaction vertex and the photon decay vertex. The angular distribution of the WIMP recoil tracks is sharply peaked and modulates daily. It is therefore possible to observe the directional modulation of WIMP-nucleon scattering without a large-volume gaseous directional detection experiment. Furthermore, current experiments such as XENON100 can immediately measure this directional modulation and constrain the MiDM parameter space with an exposure of a few thousand kg day.
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