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Search for Dark Matter - LUX

slo1
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10/30/2013 12:37:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
excerpt

http://www.sciencedaily.com...

Though dark matter has not yet been detected directly, scientists are fairly certain that it exists. Without its gravitational influence, galaxies and galaxy clusters would simply fly apart into the vastness of space. But because dark matter does not emit or reflect light, and its interactions with other forms of matter are vanishingly rare, it is exceedingly difficult to spot.
"To give some idea of how small the probability of having a dark matter particle interact, imagine firing one dark matter particle into a block of lead," Gaitskell said. "In order to get a 50-50 chance of the particle interacting with the lead, the block would need to stretch for about 200 light years -- this is 50 times farther than the nearest star to the Earth aside from the sun. So it's an incredibly rare interaction."
Capturing those interactions requires an incredibly sensitive detector. The key part of the LUX is a third of a ton of supercooled xenon in a tank festooned with light sensors, each capable of detecting a single photon at a time. When a particle interacts with the xenon, it creates a tiny flash of light and an ion charge, both of which are picked up by the sensors.
slo1
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10/30/2013 12:42:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Later in the article they explain a little about how they can differentiate the light flash between an conventional particle versus a dark matter particle.

Since turned on all the flashes from LUX have been conventional particles, but they have proven it is much more sensitive and any other current detector and will gear up for a 300 day run next year to see if they can get a positive reading for dark matter.
Wren_cyborg
Posts: 241
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11/2/2013 1:24:49 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Do you think we'll make very much progress at figuring out dark matter in our lifetimes? If just detecting a particle is this much work, it doesn't seem like we're going to move very fast with it!
Bullish
Posts: 3,527
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11/2/2013 7:14:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think read somewhere that they had germanium rods in the ground detecting dark matter particles.
0x5f3759df
AlbinoBunny
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11/5/2013 8:54:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/2/2013 1:24:49 AM, Wren_cyborg wrote:
Do you think we'll make very much progress at figuring out dark matter in our lifetimes? If just detecting a particle is this much work, it doesn't seem like we're going to move very fast with it!

A lot of scientific progress can happen in a lifetime.
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AlbinoBunny
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11/5/2013 8:55:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 10/30/2013 12:42:20 PM, slo1 wrote:
Later in the article they explain a little about how they can differentiate the light flash between an conventional particle versus a dark matter particle.

Since turned on all the flashes from LUX have been conventional particles, but they have proven it is much more sensitive and any other current detector and will gear up for a 300 day run next year to see if they can get a positive reading for dark matter.

So when they get a flash of dark matter, what will they learn? More evidence for dark matter?
bladerunner060 | bsh1 , 2014! Presidency campaign!

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slo1
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11/5/2013 9:03:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/5/2013 8:55:55 PM, AlbinoBunny wrote:
At 10/30/2013 12:42:20 PM, slo1 wrote:
Later in the article they explain a little about how they can differentiate the light flash between an conventional particle versus a dark matter particle.

Since turned on all the flashes from LUX have been conventional particles, but they have proven it is much more sensitive and any other current detector and will gear up for a 300 day run next year to see if they can get a positive reading for dark matter.

So when they get a flash of dark matter, what will they learn? More evidence for dark matter?

There have been a number of other experiments that have allegedly seen an interaction caused by dark matter, although not with a confidence that they can say they actually have discovered dark matter.

This experiment is much more sensitive. If they get some actual hits from dark matter, they will be able to be more confident that it is actually dark matter and not something else.

Although, if the odds of having a particle of dark matter interact with lead that is light years deep is only 50%, one has to wonder what the odds are it will interact with this piddly pool of xenon or whatever it is under ground. (I have to go back and read the article)
Wren_cyborg
Posts: 241
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11/6/2013 3:12:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 11/5/2013 9:03:46 PM, slo1 wrote:
At 11/5/2013 8:55:55 PM, AlbinoBunny wrote:
At 10/30/2013 12:42:20 PM, slo1 wrote:
Later in the article they explain a little about how they can differentiate the light flash between an conventional particle versus a dark matter particle.

Since turned on all the flashes from LUX have been conventional particles, but they have proven it is much more sensitive and any other current detector and will gear up for a 300 day run next year to see if they can get a positive reading for dark matter.

So when they get a flash of dark matter, what will they learn? More evidence for dark matter?

There have been a number of other experiments that have allegedly seen an interaction caused by dark matter, although not with a confidence that they can say they actually have discovered dark matter.

This experiment is much more sensitive. If they get some actual hits from dark matter, they will be able to be more confident that it is actually dark matter and not something else.

Although, if the odds of having a particle of dark matter interact with lead that is light years deep is only 50%, one has to wonder what the odds are it will interact with this piddly pool of xenon or whatever it is under ground. (I have to go back and read the article)

Well, in the lead example, there's only one particle of dark matter, so the real question is: how much dark matter is in our region of the galaxy? If there's lots, then it would seriously raise the odds of us seeing it. If dark matter has gravitic influence, however, I don't see how there's very much of it around us since our equations seem to work regarding how much gravity there is and how our celestial bodies are moving.