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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Data acquisition for SuperCDMS SNOLAB Page, William Alexander


The SuperCDMS SNOLAB experiment will use solid state Germanium and Silicon detectors to search for Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs), a leading candidate to explain dark matter. WIMPs are thought to exist in halos around galaxies and therefore thought to be constantly streaming through the earth. The CDMS detectors have been developed to measure the energy deposited by a WIMP-nucleon collision in terrestrial calorimeters. This thesis focusses on the Data Acquisition (DAQ) system that uses Detector Control and Readout Cards (DCRCs) and is designed to be dead- time-less. The DCRCs read in the data stream from the detector’s 12 phonon and 4 ionization energy channels. The DCRCs also control detector settings, and we develop interactive codes to allow users to easily change detector settings through the DCRC. The DAQ is designed to decide which events to write to disk in order to keep data throughput under a limit yet never miss an event that will be useful in the subsequent analysis. In this effort we develop different readout methods of the detector array for the different calibration runs and WIMP search runs. We also develop fast algorithms for rejecting events that fail a certain criteria for being usable. We also present a novel data compression method that reduces the total data volume by a factor of ∼ 16 yet retains all important information. This method involves a large covariance matrix inversion, and we show that this inversion can be consistently computed given that a sufficient amount of data has been used to build the covariance matrix. We also develop a GUI that is a critical element of the detector testing program for SuperCDMS SNOLAB. The GUI accesses the data stream as it is being written to disk, efficiently reads in the waveforms, and displays them in a user-friendly, oscilloscope-like, format. By making use of Fast Fourier Transform technology, the GUI is also capable of displaying incoming data in the frequency domain. This tool will enable a new degree of real-time analysis of detector performance, specifically noise characteristics, at the test facilities in the next stage of detector testing.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada