Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Physics

Content Description

1 online resource (xxix, 214 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Matthew M Szydagis

Committee Members

Cecilia Levy, Ethan Brown, Jesse Ernst, Daniel Robbins


Dark Matter, EFT, Modeling, TPC, WIMP, xenon, Dark matter (Astronomy), Time projection chambers (Nuclear physics), Xenon, Particles (Nuclear physics), Astrophysics

Subject Categories

Astrophysics and Astronomy | Physics


The nature of dark matter continues to be one of the biggest remaining mysteries in physics. Astrophysical measurements indicate that dark matter makes up more than a quarter of the Universe's total energy density, and it is well-motivated that dark matter is comprised of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs). Direct detection techniques utilizing liquid and gaseous noble elements have become the primary method of probing the potential non-gravitational interactions between WIMPs and Standard Model matter, with the leading technology being the dual-phase Time Projection Chamber (TPC). The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) and its second-generation successor, LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), are two xenon TPCs that have played and will play critical roles in understanding and constraining the nature of dark matter. LUX set world-leading limits in 2013 and 2017 on WIMP-nucleon interactions, and LZ aims to further constrain these interactions and possibly observe the first WIMP signals.