Title: Noble Travails: Liquid Detectors for Dark Matter


Experiments based on noble liquid targets are now providing competitive sensitivities in the race for the direct detection of particle dark matter (WIMPs). Theoretical estimates, based on supersymmetric models predict dark matter interaction rates from the best sensitivity of existing direct detection experiments of ~1 evts/kg/month, down to rates of ~1 evts/100 kg/yr, and below this. Current noble liquid experiments for dark matter searches, range in scale from 10 to 100's kg, and are designed to rise to this challenge. Ar, Ne and Xe targets permit the discrimination of electron recoils, coming from gamma ray and beta backgrounds, versus nuclear recoils, characteristic of WIMP events. This is done using scintillation light pulse shapes, and/or the ratio of ionization to scintillation generated in the target by the interaction. Latest results show this discrimination is extremely effective, even at low energies. The detectors are also able to significantly reduce backgrounds through the use of position resolution in large volumes, combined with active self-shielding, to reach very low levels in inner fiducial volumes. A growing understanding of how to exploit these characteristics, and construct larger detectors, will allow further significant improvements in the sensitivity of noble liquid experiments. My discussion will include current and future noble liquid detector experiments: LUX, miniCLEAN/DEAP, WARP, XENON, XMASS, ZEPLIN