Popular Science

HOW TO SPOT DARK MATTER

-

The quest to capture proof of WIMPs, a lead candidate for the makeup of dark matter, sends the physicists behind the LUX-ZEPLIN experiment below ground. Nearly a mile down, interactio­n. specific very a for looking rig a requires still particles the spying but minimal, is noise background noise is minimal, but spying the particles still requires a rig looking for a very specific interactio­n.

A. Set a target Dark matter particles, possibly WIMPS, surround and move through everything, the LZ included, even if we don’t notice them.

B. Eliminate noise To up their chances of spotting one, physicists buffer the WIMP trap with many layers, the innermost of which is a titanium tank.

C. Wait quietly Nonreactiv­e, some 11 tons of liquid xenon housed within the tank creates a placid space in which to watch for dark matter activity.

D Interact! Should a WIMP glance off the nucleus of a xenon atom, the collision will elicit sparks of energy: a burst of photons.

E. Grab the flash Hundreds of 3-inchwide photon detectors nestled into circles at the top and bottom of the structure amplify any activity.

F. Record the signal The array converts the burst into electrons— data points that indicate the spot within the tank where the interactio­n occurred.

 ??  ?? B
A
E
D
C
F
B A E D C F

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States