The Hunt for Dark Matter Particles Starts in 2020: Funding for the SuperCDMS Was Approved

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In 2020, scientists will be able to search for dark matter. However, until then, the construction of the SuperCDMS SNOLAB experiment has to start, and it just received approval of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy

Hunting for ‘WIMPs’

The funny acronym for the hypothetical dark matter particles comes from their other name: weakly interacting massive particles – so, WIMPs.

To sense WIMPs, scientists need a device that’s 50 times more sensitive than its predecessor.

The construction project of the SuperCDMS is managed by the DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. It is an international experiment, teaming up 111 researchers from 26 institutions and different labs. They are all working on simulations, testing, research, construction and so on.

The chief research officer and head of SLAC’s Fundamental Physics Directorate is JoAnne Hewett. She said:

“Understanding dark matter is one of the hottest research topics, at SLAC and around the world. We’re excited to lead the project and work with our partners to build this next-generation dark matter experiment.”

Dark Matter Studied at 6,800 Feet Underground

Richard Partridge is the head of the SuperCDMS group at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC). He said that this experiment “will be the world’s most sensitive for relatively light WIMPs.” With this sensitivity, they will be able to explore “new territory in dark matter research,” he added.

The researcher will use silicon and germanium crystals to collide and trigger tiny vibrations, but for the experiment to be successful, the crystals need to stay at a temperature of precisely 459.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The experiment is called SDMS, because it is an acronym for Cryogenic Dark Matter Search, with Super meaning that the device is more sensitive than the previous one.

The researchers will assemble and operate the experiment at 6,800 feet underground, in the Canadian laboratory SNOLAB, close to the city of Sudbury. SNOLAB project manager, Kerry Loken, said that they are:

“Excited to welcome the SuperCDMS SNOLAB collaboration to the underground lab. We look forward to a great partnership and to supporting this world-leading science.”

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere