1st Call
R&D and design studies for CTA, DARWIN and EURECA to receive funds from the first ASPERA Call Print E-mail
CTA Cherenkov Telescope Array
Dark MatterGalaxy ASPERA is pleased to announce the results of its first common call for proposals for R&D and design studies to support the realisation of future Astroparticle infrastructures identified in the ASPERA Roadmap. This call was targeted towards the Cherenkov Telescope Array for very high energy gamma ray astrophysics and direct dark matter searches. The proposals received in response to this call were evaluated using commonly agreed criteria by the ASPERA Evaluation Committee and will be funded from the virtual common pot created from contributions from the national funding agencies participating in the call.
The three projects that will be funded are:
  • The Cherenkov Telescope Array – an advanced facility for ground-based high-energy gamma-ray astronomy (CTA)

The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), a next-generation observatory for very high gamma-ray astronomy will consist of arrays of Cherenkov telescopes which, compared with currently operating gamma-ray telescopes, will offer significantly increased sensitivity, extended energy range, and increased angular resolution. This improved performance will be essential to study the many types of gamma-ray sources and identify cosmic ray acceleration mechanisms, as well as possible new physics e.g. dark matter annihilation signals. The facility will be the first very high-energy gamma-ray installation to be operated as an ‘Open Observatory’ and driven by proposals from the user community.

The project will build on expertise gained on the highly successful HESS and MAGIC projects and brings together the existing community in Europe working in this field. The scale of CTA will present design challenges in terms of costs, data rate and automation/reliability and in order for these, and the science objectives of the CTA, to be met, it is vital that this design study is undertaken to reduce costs, optimise the telescope array configuration and develop the necessary technology.

> Groups in France, Germany, Poland, Spain and Switzerland will work on this project. A maximum funding of €2.7M will be provided.

  • Design study of a next-generation noble liquid dark matter facility in Europe/ DARWIN (DARk matter WImp search with Noble liquids)

The direct detection of Dark Matter is one of the most important and interesting areas in astroparticle physics today and noble liquid detectors offer much promise as a technology to push the sensitivity of direct WIMP searches (WIMPs are the most likely detectable dark matter candidates) beyond existing limits. The DARWIN project will enable European and US groups active in noble liquid dark matter search experiments to collaborate on a design study for the construction of a ton-scale LXe and a multi-ton LAr experiment operating at a sensitivity three orders of magnitude better than the current best results in the noble liquid technology field. Operating the two instruments under similar experimental conditions will allow researchers to measure the dependence of the rate with the target mass and to distinguish between spin-independent and spin-dependent couplings. This would convincingly demonstrate the dark matter nature of the signal.
One of the strengths of this project is that it brings together groups working in the existing Xenon, WArP-140 and ArDM collaborations and unites expertise on liquid noble gas detectors, low-background techniques, cryogenic infrastructures and shielding. Noble liquid detectors are a relative newcomer to this area, but they are competitive and complementary to the other main technology in this field involving the use of solid state bolometric detectors.
> Groups in Italy, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland will be funded to work on this project at a total cost of €633k.
  • European Underground Rare Event Calorimeter Array (EURECA) -- Preparation of Construction

The project will undertake a design study of the infrastructure required for EURECA dark matter experiment expected to be located at LSM. EURECA aims to operate at a sensitivity two orders of magnitude better than the current generation of bolometric detectors and will build on expertise gained with the CRESST, EDELWEISS and ROSEBUD experiments.

The project will address the technical challenges related to designing adequate shielding to reach this goal using low radioactivity materials and also at an acceptable cost. The proposal also aims to specify the design of the underground hall and the infrastructure required from LSM.

An important strength of EURECA will be the combination of two powerful methods to reduce background in dark matter searches, namely the measurement of phonons and ionization on one hand, and the measurement of phonons and scintillation on the other hand. The design of the infrastructure is a prerequisite to achieve this goal.

The EURECA project will complement other European noble liquid detector projects by allowing independent checks of the detector and target materials.

The results of this project will be useful for other cryogenic detector projects and for liquid noble gas experiments, which could use the active Cherenkov water shielding, and also for next-generation double beta decay projects, which will also require complex cryogenic systems at the 10-20 mk level with shielding.

> Groups in France and Spain will work on this project. A maximum funding of €606k will be provided.