Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

It's go time for LUX-Zeplin dark matter experiment

21.07.2014

From the physics labs at Yale University to the bottom of a played-out gold mine in South Dakota, a new generation of dark matter experiments is ready to commence.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science and the National Science Foundation recently gave the go-ahead to LUX-Zeplin (LZ), a key experiment in the hunt for dark matter, the invisible substance that may make up much of the universe. Daniel McKinsey, a professor of physics, leads a contingent of Yale scientists working on the project.

"We emerged from a very intense competition," said McKinsey, whose ongoing LUX (Large Underground Xenon) experiment looks for dark matter with a liquid xenon detector placed 4,850 feet below the Earth's surface. The device resides at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, in South Dakota's Black Hills.

The new, LZ device will boost the size and effectiveness of the original LUX technology.

"We have the most sensitive detector in the world, with LUX," McKinsey said. "LZ will be hundreds of times more sensitive. It's gratifying to see that our approach is being validated."

LZ is an international effort, involving scientists from 29 institutions in the United States, Portugal, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab manages the experiment.

Dark matter is a scientific placeholder, of sorts. Although it can't be seen or felt, its existence is thought to explain a number of important behaviors of the universe, including the structural integrity of galaxies.

LZ's approach posits that dark matter may be composed of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles – known as WIMPs – which pass through ordinary matter virtually undetected. The experiment aims to spot these particles as they move through a container of dense, liquid xenon. That container will be surrounded by a tank of water, along with an array of sophisticated light sensors and other systems.

Putting the device down a mineshaft weeds out cosmic rays, McKinsey said. Gamma rays and neutrinos, however, still will be able to seep into the device. They'll be like tiny bowling balls, careening into the liquid xenon and colliding with electrons. Those collisions will be identified and factored out.

The researchers hope that the remaining collisions, the ones involving nuclei, will identify the presence of dark matter. "It comes down to distinguishing between electron and nuclear recoils," McKinsey said.

LZ will be a meter taller and significantly wider than its predecessor. The amount of xenon will jump from 250 kilograms to 7,000 kilograms. Such considerations become critical when you're conducting research in a mine, according to McKinsey.

"Everything has to come down in the same cage," he said.

As with LUX, a number of systems and components for LZ will be designed and built at Yale. For example, McKinsey said, team members in New Haven will work on calibration systems. They also will construct a system for bringing high voltage into the device's lower grid.

The goal is to have LZ operational in 2017, while continuing work with the LUX experiment.

"We want to get moving soon," McKinsey said. "We have new systems we want to start testing. Our activity has begun."

Two other dark matter initiatives also earned support. Those are the SuperCDMS-SNOLAB, which will look for WIMPs, and ADMX-Gen2, which will search for axion particles.

Jim Shelton | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: McKinsey WIMPs activity collisions dark matter particles sensitive structural voltage xenon

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astronomers identify a young heavyweight star in the Milky Way
22.08.2016 | University of Cambridge

nachricht Venus-like exoplanet might have oxygen atmosphere, but not life
19.08.2016 | Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: X-ray optics on a chip

Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.

In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...

Im Focus: Piggyback battery for microchips: TU Graz researchers develop new battery concept

Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.

Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...

Im Focus: UCI physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature

Light particle could be key to understanding dark matter in universe

Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...

Im Focus: Wi-fi from lasers

White light from lasers demonstrates data speeds of up to 2 GB/s

A nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light has been developed by KAUST researchers.

Im Focus: Every atom counts

Malignant cancer cells not only proliferate faster than most body cells. They are also more dependent on the most important cellular garbage disposal unit, the proteasome, which degrades defective proteins. Therapies for some types of cancer exploit this dependence: Patients are treated with inhibitors, which block the proteasome. The ensuing pile-up of junk overwhelms the cancer cell, ultimately killing it. Scientists have now succeeded in determining the human proteasome’s 3D structure in unprecedented detail and have deciphered the mechanism by which inhibitors block the proteasome. Their results will pave the way to develop more effective proteasome inhibitors for cancer therapy.

In order to understand how cellular machines such as the proteasome work, it is essential to determine their three-dimensional structure in detail. With its...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

A week of excellence: 22 of the world’s best computer scientists and mathematicians in Heidelberg

12.08.2016 | Event News

Towards the connected, automated and electrified automobiles: AMAA conference in Brussels

02.08.2016 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2016: 7th Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games

29.07.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New microchip demonstrates efficiency and scalable design

23.08.2016 | Information Technology

Genetic Regulation of the Thymus Function Identified

23.08.2016 | Life Sciences

Biomass turnover time in ecosystems is halved by land use

23.08.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>