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Home » Physics

Prototype developed to detect dark matter

Submitted by on 11 December, 2018 – 4:32 pm
A team of researchers at the University of Zaragoza (UNIZAR, Spain) and the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale (IAS, France) has developed a brilliant bolometer, a device that scientists use in efforts to detect dark matter of the universe, and has been tested in the Underground Laboratory Canfranc in Huesca, Spain.

“One of the biggest challenges in physics today is to discover the true nature of dark matter, which can not be observed directly – although it seems that form a quarter of the matter in the universe. So we have to try to detect using prototypes as we have developed, “ABANCENS Eduardo Garcia, a researcher at the Laboratory of Nuclear Physics UNIZAR and Astroparticle, tells SINC.

ABANCENS Garcia is one of the scientists working on the Rosebud project (an acronym for finding rare objects with bolometers Underground), an international initiative for collaboration between the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale (CNRS-University Paris-Sud, France) and the University of Zaragoza, which focuses on the hunt for dark matter in the Milky Way.

Scientists have been working over the past ten years in this mission in the Underground Laboratory Canfranc in Huesca, where they have developed various cryogenic detectors (which operate at temperatures near absolute zero: -273.15 ° C). The latter is a “brilliant bolometer, a device of 46 grams, in this case, contains a crystal” sparkle “, composed of bismuth and oxygen to germinate (BGO: Bi4Ge3O12), which acts as a detector of dark matter.

“This detection technique is based on simultaneous measurement of light and heat produced by the interaction between the detector and the hypothetical WIMP (weakly interacting massive particles) which, according to various theoretical models to explain the existence of dark matter” ABANCENS explains Garcia.

The researcher explains that the difference in the blink of the various particles allows this method to distinguish between signals produced by WIMPs and others produced by different elements of the background radiation (eg alpha particles, beta particles or gamma).

To measure the minuscule amount of heat produced, the detector must be cooled to temperatures near absolute zero, and a cryogenic installation, reinforced with lead and polyethylene bricks and protected from cosmic radiation as it housed under the Tobazo mount has been installed in the underground laboratory Canfranc.

“The bright new bolometer excellent performance, proving its viability as a detector in experiments searching for dark matter, and as a gamma ray spectrometer (a device that measures this type of radiation) to monitor background radiation these experiments, “says Garcia ABANCENS.

The bolometer is currently shining at the Center of the University of Orsay, France, where the team is working to optimize light capture device, and testing with other crystals of BGO.

This study, published recently in the journal Optical materials, is part of the draft European EURECA (Underground Rare Event Calorimeter Array). This initiative, in which 16 European institutions involved (including the University of Zaragoza and the IAS), seeks to build a ton cryogenic detector and use it in the next decade on the hunt for dark matter in the universe.

Methods of detection of dark matter

Direct and indirect methods of detection are used to detect dark matter, which can not be observed directly, since it emits no radiation. The former include the light and the simultaneous detection of heat (as the technique used by the bolometers shiny), the simultaneous detection of heat and ionization, and light and the simultaneous detection of ionization, as research into the distinctive signs (the Most famous is the search for annual modulation signal of dark matter caused by the orbit of the Earth).

There are also indirect detection methods, where, instead of seeking direct dark matter particles, researchers try to identify other particles (neutrinos, photons, etc.) occurs when you destroy the dark matter particles in the universe .

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