Probing low-mass dark matter with the LUX detector
The LUX detector, a 350 kg dual phase xenon detector operating in the Black Hills of South Dakota, is currently the world’s most sensitive dark matter detector. Limits were published earlier this year, representing the culmination of years of development followed by 90 days of operation. As a rare event search experiment, LUX is highly sensitive to background radiation, which necessitated a careful program of screening of all materials used in its construction. In this talk I will discuss a novel way of screening materials, notably the titanium used in the cryostats, for trace radioactive impurities present within. A complete and accurate simulation is also necessary to ensure a precise understanding of the detector’s response to incident particles. I will present a model for simulating pulse shapes in xenon that is in use within the NEST/LUXSim software package. Finally, I will discuss analysis techniques that can be used to lower the energy threshold of LUX, thereby improving its sensitivity to the regime where dark matter has a mass below 10 GeV. Preliminary results on detection efficiencies, and their effect on the overall WIMP sensitivity will be presented.