PICO dark matter detector more sensitive than expected

February 28, 2017, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
The PICO bubble chambers use temperature and sound to tune into dark matter particles. Credit: SNOLAB

Although invisible to our telescopes, dark matter is known by its gravitational effects throughout the universe. The nature of dark matter is unknown, but the consensus of the astrophysics and particle physics communities is that the dark matter is composed of new fundamental particles, associated with an unknown area of physics. To detect this dark matter, scientists are using instruments called bubble chambers, among other strategies. And now a team has made one that has the world's best sensitivity to date, coming in at 17 times that of its most recent predecessor.

"This sensitivity means we can build a larger detector and run it longer with the expectation that there will not be background from other types of radiation," said David Asner, Chief Scientist for particle physics at Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and a member of the PICO Collaboration.

Because physicists can't "see" , they need to find something that will alert them if dark matter bumps into it, sort of how a motion-sensitive alarm screeches when moved. Bubble chambers do this. Filled with a liquid kept just below its boiling temperature, bubbles erupt when a tiny particle with just enough energy hits the chamber. And physicists know little about dark matter, so they are searching for a variety of possible forms. Members of the PICO science team are looking for a particular type called spin-dependent WIMPs. The highly sensitive bubble chamber is filled with a fluorine-containing liquid that responds by forming a bubble when a neutron from certain types of radiation plows through. They theorize that if—or when—one of these WIMPs does so, the bubble chamber will also detect this .

"We don't know the nature of dark matter interactions with regular matter. PICO provides a unique probe and opportunity for discovery," said Asner.

Explore further: 3 knowns and 3 unknowns about dark matter

More information: The paper is available here: arxiv.org/abs/1702.07666

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Seeker2
3 / 5 (2) Mar 01, 2017
Space does contain mass, I understand, which should account for the gravitational effects without having to quantize mass into various forms of matter.
nikola_milovic_378
Mar 01, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
nikola_milovic_378
Mar 01, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Azrael
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 08, 2017
Here is a serious task of all scientists of the world.
You need to prove why our moon has always one and the same side to the earth? .If To prove whether the logical application of the law of motion, then they will be clear that the galaxies are moving.


One side of the moon always faces the Earth because it is tidally locked. Gravitational interactions between the Earth and Moon over time have resulted in a situation in which the Moon's orbital and rotational periods are the same.

We know that galaxies are moving. We also know that the space between galaxies (and everything else, really) is expanding, so that they appear to be moving away from us, save a few in the local group.

It's difficult to ascertain what you're trying to get at.
gculpex
5 / 5 (1) Mar 08, 2017
Nikkie is trying to say the moon is flat...
malapropism
5 / 5 (1) Mar 08, 2017
@nikola
Science does not know and does not want to find out the true orbits of the planets

This is a very odd, and seemingly (benefit of the doubt - you may mean something other than the face-value interpretation of your words) incorrect, statement to make. Plenty of spacecraft from a variety of science-orientated organisations have successfully navigated to different planets and moons so it is difficult to reconcile this comment with reality. Perhaps an explanation of what you think is the actual situation would be helpful?
PPihkala
not rated yet Mar 11, 2017
Gravity is the odd one when compared to other interactions. Other forces are said to be interactions through mediatiting particles/waves at maximum of speed of light. But not gravity. Gravity calculations work only if we assume that the interactions detect the mass of other masses with infinite speed, ie at superluminal interactions. This is 'explained' to work because masses bend the spacetime. But this spacetime bending is also supposed to happen superluminally. Somehow that does not make sense.
Seeker2
not rated yet Mar 12, 2017
Gravity is the odd one when compared to other interactions. Other forces are said to be interactions through mediatiting particles/waves at maximum of speed of light. But not gravity. Gravity calculations work only if we assume that the interactions detect the mass of other masses with infinite speed, ie at superluminal interactions. This is 'explained' to work because masses bend the spacetime. But this spacetime bending is also supposed to happen superluminally. Somehow that does not make sense.
Sure doesn't. Static fields like gravity follow you around wherever you go so the fields are there waiting on you when you get there. So the interactions are essentially instantaneous. I don't think bending spacetime works either. That would be asymmetrical and violate conservation of energy. Gravity stretches or compresses or twists spacetime. Or warps, you might say.
Seeker2
not rated yet Mar 12, 2017
cont
Gravitational waves can come from compression, like black hole mergers, but these aren't static fields. Hopefully the compression waves travel at the speed of light, or we won't be able to correlate these waves with anything we can see.

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