A Detector Shines in the Search for Dark Matter

Synergies of space. (iStock.com/Illustration)

A team of international scientists is making progress in the long-elusive search for dark matter, and NYU Abu Dhabi is playing a critical role.

This month, collaborators with the XENON100 experiment, which is taking place in an underground lab in Italy, recorded results that challenge several dark matter models and a longstanding claim of dark matter detection. Papers detailing the results will be published in upcoming issues of the journal Science and Physical Review Letters.

NYU Abu Dhabi is participating in the XENON endeavor by collaborating on technological details of the innermost part of the detector; providing the purification system for the 700 tons of water needed to shield the detector from unwanted radiation; and designing and implementing an offline data monitoring system.

NYUAD's XENON research group is led by Associate Professor of Physics Francesco Arneodo whose team includes Dr. Mohamed Lotfi Benabderrahmane, lecturer of physics, and Dr. Adriano Di Giovanni, physics research assistant. Several NYUAD students have also been involved in the project through summer internships at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy.

The experiment is an international collaboration of 120 scientists from 22 institutions across the world. This fall the team will deploy a next-generation detector called XENON1T, which is expected to be 100 times more sensitive than XENON100. The detector itself will be 20 times bigger and include a series of technological improvements.