Degree Date



Master of Arts (MA)




Evidence from many sources suggests that dark matter (matter that does not interact electromagnetically) accounts for a significant fraction of the mass density of the universe. The fact that dark matter has yet to be observed directly is one of the biggest outstanding problems in modern physics. Directional detection, one of the many branches of dark matter searches, involves reconstructing the direction of an incoming dark matter particle through observations of its interaction with a standard model particle.

The work described in this thesis was completed as a part of the Dark Matter Time Projection Chamber (DMTPC) collaboration, a group working to create a directional dark matter detector. DMTPC detectors are designed to produce both a charge signal and scintillation light (detected by PMTs and CCDs) when an ionization event occurs within the volume of the detector. In this thesis, we present the results of a study conducted to characterize the radial decrease in image intensity (termed “vignetting”) for the CCD/lens system used in DMTPC’s directional detector at Bryn Mawr College. Additionally, we describe the work involved in setting up this detector, including upgrading the time projection chamber hardware and designing a light-tight mount for the optical instruments.

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