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Abstract

The PICO-2L C3F8 bubble chamber search for Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP) dark matter was operated in the SNOLAB underground laboratory at the same location as the previous CF3I filled COUPP-4kg detector. Neutron calibrations using photoneutron sources in C3F8 and CF3I filled calibration bubble chambers were performed to verify the sensitivity of these target fluids to dark matter scattering. This data was combined with similar measurements using a low-energy neutron beam at the University of Montreal and in situ calibrations of the PICO-2L and COUPP-4kg detectors. C3F8 provides much greater sensitivity to WIMP-proton scattering than CF3I in bubble chamber detectors. PICO-2L searched for dark matter recoils with energy thresholds below 10 keV. Radiopurity assays of detector materials were performed and the expected neutron recoil background was evaluated to be 1.6 +0.3/-0.9 single bubble events during the 211.5 kg-day exposure. Twelve single bubble dark matter candidate events were observed. These events were not uniformly distributed in time, and were likely caused by particulates in the active volume. Despite this background, PICO-2L sets a world-leading upper limit to the WIMP-proton spin dependent scattering cross-section.

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