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A Background-Subtracted Search for Annual Modulation in CDMS II


The identification of dark matter is one of the outstanding problems of our time. Cos- mological and astrophysical clues such as structure formation and relic densities, anomalous galaxy rotation curves, and mass density profiles provide ample evidence of an undetected mass component of the universe. Meanwhile, recent advancements in particle physics point toward extensions to the Standard Model, many of which posit candidates for new particles and new physics at the weak scale and beyond. If, as expected, the confluence of the hints of new physics in particle physics, astrophysics, and cosmology at the weak scale is more than coincidence, the detection of dark matter will pave the way for a paradigm shift in our fundamental understanding of the universe.

Weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), in particular, are a well-motivated class of candidates for particle dark matter. Naturally predicted in supersymmetry (SUSY), WIMPs are stable, weakly-interacting, and produced in sufficient abundance to comprise the quantity of missing mass in a number of simple cases. Over the last two decades of experimentation, significant areas of the parameter space defined by the simplest SUSY theories have been ruled out, but WIMPs and related particles remain compelling candidates for dark matter searches.

Several avenues for the detection and identification of dark matter are currently being pursued. The present work is a description of the search for a direct detection of super- symmetric dark matter via scattering from standard model particles. The Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) Experiment uses ionization and athermal phonon sensor technolo- gies to achieve event-by-event discrimination of electron and nuclear recoils in cryogenic germanium crystal detectors. At low energies, where the the ability to discriminate individ- ual nuclear recoil events from background is reduced, a periodic variation of the rate and crossover signatures in the energy spectrum can aid the identification of a WIMP signature in the presence of significant backgrounds. In general, the direct detection of dark matter is the first step toward the identification and classification of dark matter in the universe.

This work describes a background-subtracted search for annual modulation in the WIMP- search data acquired in the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search II (CDMS II) Experiment, which was the second implementation of the highly successful CDMS technology. We observe no significant modulation in the 2.7 keVnr to 11.9 keVnr (nuclear-recoil-equivalent) energy range selected for this analysis. These results are not compatible with a WIMP dark matter interpretation of the signals reported by the DAMA/LIBRA and CoGeNT experiments, and provide complementary support to earlier CDMS low-threshold germanium analyses.

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