The search for the elusive dark matter has met with vain after the first results from a high-tech instrument turned up empty.
After its first run of more than three months, operating a mile underground in the Black Hills of South Dakota, a new experiment named LUX has proven itself the most sensitive dark matter detector in the world. LUX stands for Large Underground Xenon experiment. “LUX is blazing the path to illuminate the nature of dark matter,” Brown University physicist Rick Gaitskell, co-spokesperson for LUX with physicist Dan McKinsey of Yale University, said.
Dark matter makes up an estimated 80% matter in the universe. And, amazingly, we’ve never seen it until now. Sensors on the International Space Station have picked up its signature. Although the powerful dark matter detector has just completed its first run, LUX has not yet found conclusive evidence of the elusive substance.
The site’s underground location helps screen out background radiation, potentially making it easier for scientists to trap dark matter, which they hoped would be revealed in the form of weakly interacting particles nicknamed Wimps. “This is only the beginning for LUX,” McKinsey said. “Now that we understand the instrument and its backgrounds, we will continue to take data, testing for more and more elusive candidates for dark matter,” he added.