Dr Alexander Murphy, who is presenting the first results from the ZEPLIN-II detector at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Preston on 18th April said, “ZEPLIN-II is beginning its second search for dark matter particles, deep underground in a salt and potash mine in North Yorkshire, and we have been pouring through the first data looking for possible interactions with dark matter. Now, just last week, we’ve had the go-ahead to start operating our next generation detector, ZEPLIN-III. We will be tweaking both detectors to improve their sensitivity all the time and, over the next few months, we’ll be able to see signals that are many times fainter. This will give us a fantastic chance of making the first direct detection of a dark matter particle.”
The ZEPLIN-II instrument holds 31 kg of liquid xenon, cooled to a temperature of -110o Celsius. Theory suggests that, from time to time, a dark matter particle will scatter from the xenon leaving a very small signal behind. Extremely sensitive light detectors view the xenon looking for such a telltale sign. ZEPLIN-II, has proved the world’s most sensitive detector of this type (noble liquid technology) and is surpassed only by the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS), based in Minnesota, which uses a semiconductor technology. With a few tweaks, the team expects ZEPLIN-II to be able to match the sensitivity of CDMS within a few months.
The upgraded ZEPLIN-III, although not significantly bigger than ZEPLIN-II, will be able to achieve a sensitivity that is a factor of 30 better than CDMS, although it should take about two years to reach this level of operation. This factor of 30 is especially important because the theoretical models predict that this is the level of sensitivity needed to have a realistic chance of seeing a signal.
The major benefit of noble liquid technology over semi-conductor technology is that it is more easily scalable, which means that it should allow for bigger detectors in the future. Features of ZEPLIN-III include a much better ability to reject background events, lower radioactivity of materials used in construction to minimise contamination and spurious signals, and the use of higher electric fields to improve discrimination against any remaining background.
Anita Heward | alfa
Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
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