The Cygnus-RD project

The aim of this project is to develop a gas detector prototype for high precision tracking of low energy (keV) nuclear recoils over large gas volumes (tens of liters). To achieve this, we intend to test various technologies of Micro Pattern Gas Detector providing suitable amplification and readout granularity at the anode of a large TPC.

The idea is to use such a detector in future large scale experiments for directional Dark Matter (DM) searches and for measurements of coherent neutrino scattering on nuclei. Obtaining a high signal efficiency along with a high background suppression requires:

  • High sensitivity to low energy nuclear recoils;
  • Capability of fiducialization in the drift direction;
  • 3D track reconstruction with head-tail determination;
  • Very good particle identification capability.

In our project, this is achieved thanks to:

  • MPGD readout easily scalable to O(m2) surface with the required granularity, timing and charge resolution;
  • Low gas pressure operation (20-200 Torr) to produce O(mm) tracks for O(keV) nuclear recoil;
  • Negative ion transport to suppress diffusion down to thermal limit without magnetic fields [3];
  • Use of multiple charge carriers with different drift velocity (i.e. masses) for the measurement of the absolute position in the drift direction for fiducialization;
  • Test of innovative, non-toxic, easy to handle negative ion gas mixtures.

Additional applications of this detector might be in the realm of neutron detection, X-raypolarimetry and particle therapy.

Cygnus-RD project, supported for 2 year by the INFN CNS5, is the merging of the results coming from three R&D activities: DCANT, NITEC and ORANGE