Subject Area



An abundance of evidence suggests that most of the Universe is composed of nonluminous matter. This "dark matter” is believed to be a new elementary particle and experiments around the world are attempting to directly detect rare collisions with terrestrial detectors.

The properties of dark matter have yet to be identified, thus efforts are ongoing to explore a range of possible masses and interaction cross-sections. For the latter, experiments can increase exposure by scaling up the detector mass and operating for a longer time. To search for dark matter with less mass than a nucleon, new technologies and analysis techniques need to be developed to be sensitive to energy deposits less than a few keV.

SuperCDMS is a direct detection experiment that measures ionization and phonon energy in cryogenic germanium crystal detectors. A special mode of operating the SuperCDMS detectors, called CDMSlite, amplifies the ionization signal via phonon creation. This amplification leads to a lower energy threshold, which provides sensitivity to smaller dark matter masses.

Typically, direct detection experiments assume dark matter scatters elastically off the nuclei in the detector. In this thesis, I will highlight the most recent CDMSlite elastic dark matter search. Then I will describe how inelastic dark matter collisions can manifest in the detector and be useful for extending experimental sensitivity to lower dark matter masses. Finally, I will present a re-analysis of CDMSlite data using a profile likelihood to search for low-mass dark matter through two inelastic scattering channels: Bremsstrahlung radiation, and the Migdal Effect.

Degree Date

Summer 8-6-2019

Document Type


Degree Name





Jodi Cooley

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License