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Scientists Develop Most Sensitive Experiment to Detect Dark Matter

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Published on : Aug 08, 2019

Reports are emerging from the LUX-ZEPLIN experiment that its key component is ready to be sealed. This sealed component will be lowered around 1.5 kilometers underground and will try to search for dark matter.

Dark matter is an enigmatic form of matter believed to make up for nearly 85% of the overall mass of the universe. However, it is believed that dark matter interacts very weakly with ordinary matter. As a result, the primary reason for its prolonged invisibility.

LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ), however, will work as mankind’s most sensitive dark matter experiment ever. On July 26th, scientists completed arrangement and assembly of LZ’s centerpiece. Further, the assembly was of the liquid xenon Time Projection Chamber (TPC). The final arrangement was carried out at the Sanford Underground Research Facility, South Dakota.

Professor Henrique Araujo, the leader of LZ collaboration project in the UK believes that this xenon detector will be at the core of the LZ dark matter experiment. Professor Araujo works at the Imperial College of London, department of physics. Professor Tom Shutt at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory co-led this research study.  

37 Institutes, 250 Members, 13,500 Man Hours

To fully assemble and arrange the Time Projection Chamber, nearly 250 members from 37 institutes across the world came together. Each team contributed in optical, radiological, mechanical, electrical, and cleanliness demands of the project. As a result, the overall integration of the TPC was an effort of more than 13,500 man hours.

Now, the TPC will be put in a cryostat vessel. A cryostat vessel can maintain constant cold temperatures. Further, this vessel will be lowered around 1.5 kilometers in a decommissioned goldmine. Scientists are hopeful that it will be able to detect dark matter. Moreover, the operations are proposed to commence during mid-2020.