DMWG Seminar by Dr. Naka: Directional Direct Detection Experiments
Among the kinds of dark matter (DM) candidates, Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP) shows a strong model motivation. It achieves the current DM density naturally via the so-called thermal freeze-out mechanism. The strength of the interaction between WIMP and the standard model particles should be finite, and various direct detection experiments have already excluded a large part of the favored parameter space. We are now in the phase to consider the next strategy.
There are several directions to proceed. For example, annual and/or diurnal modulation of the event rate of the DM-nucleon scattering. However, the expected modulation amplitude is so small that a few percent for annual modulation and less than 1% for the diurnal case. Kinds of on-going experiments intensively search the modulation signature now, however, it is still difficult to confirm.
Another possibility is to make use of directional information. One important advantage of the directional search is its power for background rejection. The DM signal should be more frequently found in the direction corresponding to the Galactic Center while the backgrounds are in different directional distributions. These differences enable us to reduce the number of scattering events required for claiming the detection from O(1e4) to O(100), compared to the conventional direct detection cases. Furthermore, it could potentially provide us with information about the velocity distribution function, of which precise understanding is a key to any kinds of direct detection experiments, as well as the scenarios explaining the evolution of our Galaxy.
Hence, the directional search is an attractive idea to probe the nature of DM. Recently, such projects are launched, and still some technical issues to solve remain. We have to achieve the O(1e-9)m scale resolution of the particle track, to confirm the scalability and stability, and to understand the ultra-low background. Many projects are now tackling these problems. The new era for direct DM search now begins!