Physicists contribute to dark matter detector success

phys.org | 2/21/2018 | Staff
Celtics2212 (Posted by) Level 3
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In researchers' quest for evidence of dark matter, physicist Andrea Pocar of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and his students have played an important role in designing and building a key part of the argon-based DarkSide-50 detector located underground in Italy's Gran Sasso National Laboratory.

This week, scientists from around the world who gathered at the University of California, Los Angeles, at the Dark Matter 2018 Symposium learned of new results in the search for evidence of the elusive material in Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) by the DarkSide-50 detector. WIMPs have been candidate dark matter particles for decades, but none have been found to date.

Pocar - DarkSide - Detector - Potential - Liquid

Pocar says the DarkSide detector has demonstrated the great potential of liquid argon technology in the search for so-called "heavy WIMPs," those with mass of about 100 to 10,000 times the mass of a proton. Further, he adds, the double-phase argon technique used by the DarkSide-50 detector has unexpected power in the search for "low-mass WIMPs," with only 1-10 times the mass of a proton.

He adds, "The component we made at UMass Amherst, with very dedicated undergraduates involved from the beginning, is working very well. It's exciting this week to see the first report of our success coming out at the symposium." His graduate student Alissa Monte, who has studied surface and radon-related backgrounds using DarkSide-50, will present a poster at the UCLA meeting.

Pocar - Community - Researchers - World - Experiments

Pocar says, "There is a vibrant community of researchers around the world conducting competing experiments in this 'low mass' WIMP area. Over the past two years we collected data for a measurement we didn't expect to be able to make. At this point we are in a game we didn't think we could be in. We are reporting the high sensitivity we have achieved with the instrument, which is performing better than expected."...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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