Smartphones as dark matter detectors?

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Smartphones as dark matter detectors?

Post by RJN » Sat Jun 29, 2013 2:46 pm

This summer a couple of students and I are further investigating the possible impact of smartphones when used as detectors. I have been meaning to post some of these leads here to the Asterisk (and my G+ account) for more general exposure. This is one possible lead: using a smartphone as a dark matter particle detector.

When I Googled this idea I came across the following manuscript: titled "Direct Search for Low Mass Dark Matter Particles with CCDs" by J. Barreto et al. A brief scan of this manuscript seems to indicate that at least some CCDs can be used to search for low energy dark-matter WIMPs under protected conditions designed to minimize the background.

The central idea here is to take two consecutive images with embedded smartphone cameras and subtract these two images to see what remains. Supposing the smartphone was not moved and conditions did not change drastically, typically cosmic ray tracks the most prominent remnant. Indeed we are checking in to see if any good science can be done with smartphones acting as a convenient network of widely distributed cosmic ray detectors. (Currently I am a bit skeptical about that, but that might be for a different thread.) So smartphones could continually take pairs of images and continually subtract them and do a quick onboard-smartphone analysis of the remaining tracks. The hope here is that potentially a very occasional but very unusual track would be discovered that would indicate a dark matter particle strike on the CCD.