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Forthcoming Project Peer Review Panel meeting – July 2020

Update on Forthcoming Project Peer Review Panel meeting – July 2020

Due to COVID-19 the July meeting of the Projects Peer Review Panel (PPRP) will now take place virtually via Zoom. The presentation and Q&A session for the various proposals are still open to members of the science community to observe. The Panel will be reviewing three project proposals. These proposals will be separated into two panel sessions across different dates. Anyone who wishes to attend should contact Christopher Carlton who will send them the Zoom details for the meeting.

The proposals being reviewed and time of review are as follows:

8th July 10.45 – 12.30 – Dark Matter Proposals

Due to synergies between them, PPRP will consider two proposals for Dark Matter detection jointly. These proposals are using different detector technologies with one utilising liquid argon and the other liquid xenon. More details on the specific proposals are below:

Silicon Photosensor Development for the Low-Background Frontier

This proposal aims to leverage the UK's world-leading silicon detector integration capability to grow UK leadership in large silicon photo-multiplier (SiPM) array detectors for low-background physics.

The proposal seeks to address some of the most fundamental open questions in science today: what is most of the matter in the universe made of? how does dark matter interact with us? why do we live in a matter-dominated universe?  Experiments studying these questions at the cosmic and intensity frontiers of particle physics increasingly employ detectors filled with liquid noble gases. Liquid nobles produce scintillation light when particles interact, which is detected with arrays of photo-sensor detectors.

This proposal focuses on the design, production and testing of large SiPM tile arrays including electronics. The state-of-the-art in integration of large SiPM tile arrays for low-background experiments today is the DarkSide photon detector module (PDM).  The PDM consists of an array of ~1 cm2 SiPMs ('tiles') bonded to a substrate to form a 25 cm2 photosensitive area, connected to cryogenic front-end electronics that combine the signal from all tiles and condition it.

Xenon Futures: R&D for a Global Rare Event Observatory (Phase 2)

Astrophysical and cosmological evidence has established the Standard Model of Cosmology, which indicates that dark matter contributes ~27% to the total density of the universe. The ZEPLIN programme of experiments, operated at STFC’s Boulby Underground Laboratory, pioneered the LXe technology for dark matter searches. The design is inherently scalable and, with sizes large enough to benefit maximally from self-shielding, LXe detectors have been the world-leading technology in searches for dark matter scattering ever since.  With LZ entering its data-taking and exploitation phase in late 2020, it is timely to start research and development for future liquid xenon detectors now.

This 3-year R&D proposal is to develop and prepare UK contributions for a future liquid xenon Generation 3 (G3) Global Rare Event Observatory. This will extend the search sensitivity right down to where new neutrino backgrounds will become dominant for masses of dark matter candidates >5 GeV, and also to lower masses, for which candidates are less well-constrained but equally well-motivated. The main aims of this R&D phase are to enhance the scientific reach of a G3 experiment through demonstrating sensitivity via the Migdal effect and developing scalable low background VUV-SiPM photosensor arrays and their readout systems.

The Panel goes into closed session for the rest of this and the following day.

Last updated: 09 July 2020

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