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Lead scientists experiment with dark matter detector

Scientists at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead released the results from the first Large Underground Xenon, or LUX, experiment on Oct. 30 during a seminar.

Brown University physicist Rick Gaitskell and Yale University physicist Dan McKinsey presented the first run results for LUX. There have been 100 researchers from 17 different institutions working on the LUX detector—the most sensitive dark matter detector in the world. Dark matter is only a theory and has never been detected before. The hope of the researchers was to have the LUX detector catch signals of dark matter 4,850 feet underground.

The results from the LUX detector were not as exciting as the research team wanted, but they still got some good news. The researchers did not know how the detector would work that far underground, but it did what it was supposed to. No signals were seen in the detector, but this experiment is making the possibility for finding dark matter particles more likely and the researchers now have a better chance in the future. This experiment was also a success to the Sanford Lab because the international scene cares about it; and they think it is a big deal, thus drawing a lot of attention to the Black Hills area from around the world.

The next dark matter experiment is already in progress. The researchers at the Sanford Lab have come up with a new detector that will be called LUX-ZEPLIN, or LZ, which will be 1,000 times more sensitive than the LUX detector.

For more information on the LUX detector experiment, visit SanfordLab.org or LuxDarkMatter.org.

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