New Dark Matter Detector Acquires Approval

I have previously talked about the LUX dark matter facility in the United States of America. Now an even bigger and more ambitious project has gone through another stage of approval, the LUX-ZEPLIN experiment. LUX stands for Large Underground Xenon and ZEPLIN is a British experiment: Zoned Proportional scintillation in Liquid Nobel gases. This new device will have a sensitivity of almost a hundred time the previous best and will be combining the techniques from these two experiments to obtain the best results. An underground chamber will be filled with 7 tonnes of liquid xenon which will hopeful interact with the so far unfound WIMPs to reveal there existence.  This projected is being worked on by scientists from the U.S., U.K., Portugal, Russia, and South Korea in over 30 different universities and institutions. The full technical designs for the provision will be finished by 2017 and the aim is to get the experiment fully under way by early 2020s. The price tag on this project will certainly be immense, the two main costs being that much purified liquid xenon and fully sterilised and decontaminated sensors. It costs about $150 for pure liquid xenon and if 7 tonnes (more likely 8 due to unavoidable losses) is required that will be $12 million just to fill the detector. Al that we can hope for is that this massive expenditure will not be in vain and that this project will finally shine a light on one of the possibilities for dark matter.


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