A quick check has confirmed that the brand new LUX-ZEPLIN darkish matter detector is probably the most delicate ever. It might be our greatest wager for lastly discovering darkish matter particles
7 July 2022
The seek for darkish matter simply obtained a contemporary pair of eyes. A check run of the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) detector in South Dakota has proven it to be probably the most delicate darkish matter detector but created, and researchers are on the brink of flip it on and begin looking in earnest.
LZ consists of an enormous titanium tank full of 10 tonnes of extraordinarily pure liquid xenon. When a particle from exterior the tank hits a xenon atom, it creates a burst of sunshine that’s measured by a collection of detectors surrounding the tank. The properties of that mild can then be analysed to find out what sort of particle induced it. To defend the xenon from particles and radiation that we all know don’t come from darkish matter, the tank is surrounded by an excellent bigger tank of purified water and the entire thing is buried greater than a kilometre underground in an outdated gold mine.
“The centre of LZ is the purest place on Earth, possibly within the photo voltaic system. There’s no different quantity of area on or on this planet that’s that freed from radiation and dirt,” says LZ group member Chamkaur Ghag at College School London. “We are able to solely deal with a couple of gram of mud within the detector – 3 grams of mud and we gained’t be capable of discover something.”
Many years of attempting to find darkish matter particles have been unsuccessful to this point, so researchers have taken to creating increasingly more delicate detectors. A 3.5-month check run that led to April confirmed that LZ is probably the most delicate but. “We’ve taken a couple of months of knowledge, and after we checked out that information what we mentioned was ‘oh, shit – we’re already the world’s greatest’,” says Ghag. “It’s like in the event you constructed a brand new automobile and took it across the block, and in that fast drive across the block you broke the world landspeed document.”
No matter sensitivity, although, three months wasn’t lengthy sufficient to really discover darkish matter. Even when some did come by the detector throughout that point, we wouldn’t have sufficient information to say for positive what it was, says Ghag.
“For now it’s sort of a bizarre factor, we’re saying that we’re the most effective on the earth at discovering nothing,” he says. “However the prospect of discovering new physics a couple of years from now’s fully possible.”
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