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Search for a Dark Matter Signature with the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) Experiment

Final Report Summary - DARKMATTERAMS (Search for a Dark Matter Signature with the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) Experiment)

AMS-02 (Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer) is a multi-purpose state-of-the-art particle detector that is collecting cosmic ray data on the International Space Station (ISS). It was launched into space on Space Shuttle Endeavour and installed on the ISS on the 19th of May, 2011. On the ISS, AMS-02 is collecting charged particle and photon data and until now, 80 billion events have been recorded in five years. AMS-02 aims to continue taking data until the end of ISS lifetime and look for primordial anti-matter and to understand the nature of dark matter. AMS-02 research is inter-disciplinary since brings researchers together from different fields such as particle physics, astrophysics, solar physics and space physics. AMS-02 collaboration is an international collaboration bringing scientists from 56 institutions of 17 countries.

AMS measures the momentum, the charge, the velocity and the energy of a particle using a permanent magnet and complimentary detectors. AMS-02 is composed of five subdetectors and a permanent magnet. These subdetectors include Transition Radiation Detector (TRD), Silicon Tracker, Time of Flight (TOF), Ring Imaging Cherenkov Detector (RICH) and Electromagnetic Calorimeter (ECAL). Reconstructing the particle’s curvature in the magnetic field of AMS allows for the measurement of momentum and charge of the particle. AMS has been designed to allow for cross-checks between measurements from different detectors. AMS can measure the momentum of particles up to 3TeV/nucleon. High energy gamma rays which convert to e+e− pairs in the detector, can also be identified and their energy, determined.

METU-AMS team is a member of the AMS-02 collaboration and concentrates on dark matter signal search. The team consists of principal investigator Dr. Bilge Demirköz and three graduate students working with her. As well as running shifts in the AMS POCC (Payload Operations and Control Center) at CERN, the team was focused on photon analysis which can lead to signs of dark matter annihilation in galactic halo and two Master’s theses were published, one on photons detected in calorimetric mode and one in conversion mode. If dark matter particles exist, they should be colliding with each other and annihilating into charged particles that can be detected by AMS- 02. Any peaks in the background positron, anti-proton, or gamma flux could signal the presence of dark matter candidates. The AMS collaboration has published a total of 6 papers to date in Physical Review Letters, on the precision measurement of the positron fraction and fluxes of positrons, electrons, protons, and helium and will soon publish papers on the fluxes of light nuclei.

This FP7 CIG project was crucial in the integration of the fellow, Dr. Demirköz when she returned back from CERN to METU-Ankara as it was her first research grant. She has been promoted to associate professor and has been awarded 4 more research projects, totaling more than 2.5 million euroes. She is working on predicting and analyzing the space radiation environment and is building the first proton irradiation facility in Turkey. Her research group now supports 7 graduate students, 1 post-doctoral researcher, 3 engineers and 3 technicians.