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Deep underground, LUX lies in wait for WIMPs

from R&D Magazine

LUX, the Large Underground Xenon detector at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in the Black Hills of South Dakota, is set to look for weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs. Because of the observed effects ascribed to dark matter, it has to be massive. But dark matter must be only weakly interacting; otherwise it would not be invisible. In the LUX experiment scintillation in xenon is used to detect WIMPs as they collide with xenon atoms. LUX ZEPLIN is a scaled-up version of LUX, plus it has a nested tank design that will allow scientists to count more scintillation events as true data. Because the properties of WIMPs are still theoretical, finding them depends on hypothetical characteristics such as their mass and spin. Detectors like LUX aren't the only way to look for WIMPs. If, as many theorists propose, they are supersymmetric particles unlike anything in the Standard Model, it may be able to create them with the Large Hadron Collider. more


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