Video: Dark matter hunt with LUX-ZEPLIN

August 15, 2017, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
SLAC is helping to build and test the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) detector, one of the biggest and most sensitive detectors ever designed to catch hypothetical dark matter particles known as weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs). Credit: Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Researchers at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory are on a quest to solve one of physics' biggest mysteries: What exactly is dark matter – the invisible substance that accounts for 85 percent of all the matter in the universe but can't be seen even with our most advanced scientific instruments?

Most scientists believe it's made of ghostly particles that rarely bump into their surroundings; that's why billions of might zip right through our bodies every second without us even noticing. Leading candidates for dark matter particles are WIMPs, or weakly interacting .

Now SLAC is helping to build and test one of the biggest and most sensitive detectors ever designed to catch a WIMP – the LUX-ZEPLIN or LZ detector. The following video explains how it works.

Credit: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Explore further: New theory on the origin of dark matter

Related Stories

New theory on the origin of dark matter

August 8, 2017

Only a small part of the universe consists of visible matter. By far the largest part is invisible and consists of dark matter and dark energy. Very little is known about dark energy, but there are many theories and experiments ...

Chasing invisible particles at the ATLAS Experiment

July 20, 2017

Cosmological and astrophysical observations based on gravitational interactions indicate that the matter described by the Standard Model of particle physics constitutes only a small fraction of the entire known universe. ...

PICO dark matter detector more sensitive than expected

February 28, 2017

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 ...

SLAC gears up for dark matter hunt with LUX-ZEPLIN

May 21, 2015

Researchers have come a step closer to building one of the world's best dark matter detectors: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently signed off on the conceptual design of the proposed LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) experiment and ...

Does dark matter annihilate quicker in the Milky Way?

June 23, 2017

Researchers at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai have proposed a theory that predicts how dark matter may be annihilating much more rapidly in the Milky Way, than in smaller or larger galaxies and the early ...

Recommended for you

X-rays reveal chirality in swirling electric vortices

January 16, 2018

Scientists used spiraling X-rays at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to observe, for the first time, a property that gives handedness to swirling electric patterns – dubbed ...

Slow 'hot electrons' could improve solar cell efficiency

January 16, 2018

Photons with energy higher than the band gap of the semiconductor absorbing them give rise to what are known as hot electrons. The extra energy in respect to the band gap is lost very fast, as it is converted into heat and ...

Quan­tum physics turned into tan­gi­ble re­al­ity

January 16, 2018

ETH physicists have developed a silicon wafer that behaves like a topological insulator when stimulated using ultrasound. They have thereby succeeded in turning an abstract theoretical concept into a macroscopic product.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.