Assessing alternatives for directional detection of a halo of weakly interacting massive particles

Craig J. Copi, Lawrence M. Krauss, David Simmons-Duffin, Steven R. Stroiney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The future of direct terrestrial WIMP detection lies on two fronts: new, much larger low background detectors sensitive to energy deposition, and detectors with directional sensitivity. The former can explore a large range of WIMP parameter space using well-tested technology while the latter may be necessary if one is to disentangle particle physics parameters from astrophysical halo parameters. Because directional detectors will be quite difficult to construct it is worthwhile exploring in advance generally which experimental features will yield the greatest benefits at the lowest costs. We examine the sensitivity of directional detectors with varying angular tracking resolution with and without the ability to distinguish forward versus backward recoils, and compare these to the sensitivity of a detector where the track is projected onto a two-dimensional plane. The latter detector regardless of where it is placed on the Earth, can be oriented to produce a significantly better discrimination signal than a 3D detector without this capability, and with sensitivity within a factor of 2 of a full 3D tracking detector. Required event rates to distinguish signals from backgrounds for a simple isothermal halo range from the low teens in the best case to many thousands in the worst.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number023514
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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