University of New Mexico
In this era of precision cosmology measurements suggest that ordinary matter is a mere 15% of the gravitational mass in the Universe. The rest is dark, and so far we infer its existence only through its gravitational effects. Particle physics models suggest that dark matter is composed of relic weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), however, efforts to directly detect them are hampered by small interaction probabilities and large backgrounds that mimic the expected signals. Fortunately, a number of unique dark matter signatures exist that can be used to discriminate against backgrounds and definitively identify WIMP interactions. The largest and most robust of these signatures, based on the predicted behavior of the WIMP flux as the Sun-Earth system moves through the galaxy, is a day-night modulation of nuclear recoil directions in the lab frame. Of current experimental searches for dark matter only one, the Directional Recoil Identification From Tracks (DRIFT) project, has detectors operating underground with the sensitivity to detect this directionality signature. In this talk I will describe the DRIFT experiment, its current status, and future goals and prospects.