The DAMIC (Dark Matter in CCDs) experiment

The DAMIC (Dark Matter in CCDs) experiment uses high resistivity, scientific grade CCDs to search for dark matter. The CCD's low electronic noise allows an unprecedently low energy threshold of a few tens of eV that make it possible to detect silicon recoils resulting from interactions of low mass WIMPs. 

In addition the CCD's high spatial resolution and the excellent energy response results in very effective background identification techniques. The experiment has a unique sensitivity to dark matter particles with masses below 10 GeV/c2. 

R&D initial results have demonstrated the potential of this technology, currently being installed at SNOLAB. motivating the construction of DAMIC100, a 100 grams silicon target detector. An upgrade of the detector using an array of seven 16-Mpixel CCDs (40g of mass) started operation in February 2017, and is currently taking data.

The next step in the DAMIC program is the construction of DAMIC-M at the Modane under-ground laboratory in France. The detector will employ new designed large CCDs (36 Mpixels size, 1 mm thickness and a mass of about 20 g each) and will reach a kg-size mass. DAMIC-M CCDs will adopt the“skipper” readout stage with single electron resolution designed by BerkeleyLab. When implemented on a DAMIC CCD with its demonstrated extremely low level of leakage current, will allow for a threshold of 2 or 3 electrons. Several improvements in the detector design, construction materials and CCD packaging are foreseen in order to de-crease the background level to a fractions of a DRU. Under these conditions, DAMIC-M will be able to progress further in the search for low-energy dark matter particles, including the GeV-scale WIMPs, the hidden-photon, and to probe a large region of parameter space for dark matter particle in the “hidden sectors” (not directly coupling with the ordinary matters) and having masses from 1 MeV/c to 1 GeV/c. 

The collaboration is composed of the following institutes and research groups: University of Chicago, University of Washington,
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Laboratoire de Physique Nucléaire et de Hautes Energies (LPNHE), the Laboratoire de
l'Accélérateur Linéaire (LAL) and the Laboratoire
Souterrain de Modane/Grenoble (LSM), University
of Zurich, Niels Bohr Institute, the University of
Southern Denmark, Instituto de Física de Cantabria (UC-CSIC), Universidad Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Centro Atomico Bariloche

IFCA Contribution:

▸ Contribution to Data taking and Analysis 

▸ Development of data quality monitoring system (DQM system) for DAMIC and DAMIC-1kg.

▸ Measurement of the Radiopurity of the DAMIC components using the Laboratorio Subterraneo de Canfranc (LSC) facilities. 

▸ Proof of concept to identify the background using novel techniques in this field.
▸ Using a TPA-TC study the radiation damage produce at the SI-nucleus to distinguish Nuclear from electron recoils

▸ Study of other possible uses of the CCDs cameras: Detector for different low background radiation such as alphas, betas to be used as a radiopurity facility (work in collaboration with LSC). 

  • Joint Centre with the combined effort of Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and University of Cantabria (UC)

    Instituto de Física de Cantabria
    Edificio Juan Jordá
    Avenida de los Castros, s/n
    E-39005 Santander
    Cantabria, Spain

  • © 2018 IFCA- Institute of Physics of Cantabria