DEAP-1 is a 7kg liquid-argon dark matter detector. We aim for a sensitivity of 10-44 cm2 for a WIMP mass of 100 GeV. To achieve this we require pulse-shape discrimination rejecting electromagnetic events with 10-8 leakage while retaining 50% of nuclear recoil events. DEAP-1 was deployed at SNOLAB in fall 2007.

Dark matter Experiment with Argon and Pulse-shape discrimination

DEAP-1 uses liquid argon as both the target volume and detection medium. Argon produces 40 photons per keV of energy deposited by electrons. Thus even low-energy nuclear recoils of order 40 keV (equivalent to about 12 keV electron energy) are detectable.

The largest potential background in DEAP-1 is from the beta decay of Argon-39 which has an activity of approximately 1 Bq/kg in natural argon. Fortunately, the time structure if scintillation light is very different for electromagnetic events and nuclear-recoil events. The reason is most of the energy deposited by nuclear recoils leaves argon in dimers in a singlet state which decay in a few nanoseconds. However 2/3 of the argon in electromagnetic events is left in a triplet state with a 1.5 microsecond lifetime. Thus the time structure of events are very different. This allows a simple single phase (and scaleable detector) to be built.

DEAP-1 is a Canadian/US collaboration led by Professor Mark Boulay at Queen's University.

  • University of Alberta
  • Yale University