Extending the Sensitivity of Directional Dark Matter Searches
The nature of dark matter remains one of the most important unresolved questions in physics. One of the leading candidates is a class of particles known as weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). Measuring the direction of WIMP-induced nuclear recoils can provide a powerful and unambiguous signature for the detection of Galactic dark matter. Of the technologies currently employed to detect this signature, the low pressure Time Projection Chamber (TPC) is the most mature, but faces numerous challenges due to its low target density. We will highlight some of these challenges and describe ways to overcome them by maximizing sensitivity with a scalable, robust and low cost technology. Results from R&D work at the University of New Mexico that show progress towards these goals will be presented.