A search for the dark matter annual modulation in South Pole ice

J. Cherwinka, R. Co, D. F. Cowen, D. Grant, F. Halzen, K. M. Heeger, L. Hsu, A. Karle, V. A. Kudryavtsev, R. Maruyama, W. Pettus, M. Robinson, N. J.C. Spooner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Astrophysical observations and cosmological data have led to the conclusion that nearly one quarter of the Universe consists of dark matter. Should dark matter interact with nucleons, it has been postulated that an observable signature of dark matter is an annual modulation in the rate of dark matter-nucleon interactions taking place in an Earth-bound experiment. To search for this effect, we introduce the concept for a new dark matter experiment using NaI scintillation detectors deployed deep in the South Pole ice. This experiment complements dark matter search efforts in the Northern Hemisphere and will investigate the observed annual modulation in the DAMA/LIBRA and DAMA/NaI experiments. The unique location will permit the study of background effects correlated with seasonal variations and the surrounding environment. This paper describes the experimental concept and explores the sensitivity of a 250 kg NaI experiment at the South Pole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)749-754
Number of pages6
JournalAstroparticle Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The concept of a dark matter annual modulation experiment in the Southern Hemisphere has been discussed by several people in the past. For the development of the experiment presented here, we wish to thank Peter Fisher, Bernard Sadoulet and Christopher Stubbs for their encouragement and input. We acknowledge Katherine Freese for useful theoretical discussion. We wish to thank Jonghee Yoo for sharing the Pipewimp limit calculation package, which was used to perform the sensitivity studies presented in this paper. We thank SNOLAB for their efforts on the low background measurements. We thank STFC and the Boulby mine company CPL for support of low background measurements of NaI. This work was supported by the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the Sloan Research Foundation, the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the University of Alberta, the Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship, the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships and Fermilab, which is operated by Fermi Research Alliance, LLC under Contract No. De-AC02-07CH11359 with the United States Department of Energy.


  • Annual modulation
  • DAMA
  • Dark matter
  • Direct detection
  • South Pole


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