Departmental Seminar

Directional Dark Matter Detection

Dr Ciaran O'Hare
ARC Centre of Excellence for Dark Matter Particle Physics
University of Sydney

The last few years have seen the largest underground dark matter searches rapidly approach their purported ultimate sensitivity limit, the so-called "neutrino floor".  An experiment reaches the neutrino floor when it becomes so large and so sensitive that the background from coherent nuclear scattering of astrophysical neutrinos starts to drown out a potential dark matter signal.

The encroachment of the neutrino floor has driven an increase in interest towards a technique which has the potential to circumvent the limit entirely: directional detection. The technique aims to measure the strongly anisotropic angular distribution of the dark matter wind incident on Earth as we journey around the Milky Way galaxy.

The potential for dark matter discovery with directional detectors greatly exceeds that of conventional detectors, so the concept is well worth investigation if we

1) want to extend the search for dark matter below the neutrino floor, or

2) wish to confirm a potential signal of dark matter without relying on the controversial and systematic-prone annual modulation. While in practice directional detectors are several years away from being at a competitive scale, there are several promising approaches under investigation.

The CYGNUS collaboration is working towards a competitive global network of directional detectors using modular gas time projection chambers. I will give an overview of the motivation for directional detection and ongoing work trying to bring the concept to reality.

Zoom event :
Password: 571697

Date & time

Tue 17 Nov 2020, 11am–12.30pm


Zoom event


Members of RSPE welcome