Lunch lecture: hunting for dark matter particles!
The Hunt for Dark Matter Particles
There is strong cosmological and astrophysical evidence that more than 85% of the matter in the Universe is composed of non-luminous --dark-- matter. Of the many candidate particles, Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs), arising in extensions to the Standard Model, are particularly well-motivated, but other dark matter (DM) candidates exist. One method to detect DM particles is to measure the nuclear recoils produced in their rare elastic collisions with ordinary matter. The predicted interaction rates are extraordinarily low: less than one event-per-ton-per-yr and require very sensitive detectors made of ultra-low radioactivity materials sited in underground laboratories. Experiments based on liquid xenon offer the potential to meet this sensitivity goal, with a combination of large target mass and excellent background rejection.
I will introduce the dark matter problem, then explore dark matter candidates and address the detection principles. Nikhef and the University of Amsterdam are involved in the xenon-based XENONnT experiment. XENONnT is about to start taking data and will be the world's most sensitive dark matter experiment, about 10 times more sensitive than our previous XENON1T experiment. I will discuss the XENON1T results and give a status update on XENONnT.
Want to know more about the experiment? Watch the trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CJqJ0tAmyc&feature=emb_title!