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LUX, LZ, and the Limits of our Ability to Directly Detect Dark Matter – Tom Shutt

Date: Thu. August 27th, 2009, 4:15 pm-5:15 pm
Location: Rockefeller 301

Overwhelming cosmological and astrophysical evidence suggests that the dominant mass in the universe is in the form of as-yet-unidentified dark matter. The most favored candidate for dark matter is weakly interacting particles (WIMPs), which are also a generic prediction in supersymmetry. WIMPs in our galaxy can be measured by their interactions in detectors operated deep underground with backgrounds from radioactive and cosmic-rays suppressed by some 10 orders of magnitude from ambient levels. Recent advances in detectors based on liquified noble elements promise a radical increase in the sensitivity of these experiments, and will allow a nearly complete test of supersymmetric dark matter in the next decade. Such efforts are complementary to the LHC. The LUX experiment is constructing a 300 kg liquid Xe-based detector that will be operated in site of Ray Davis’ original solar neutrino experiment in the Homestake mine in South Dakota. I will discuss LUX and also LZ, a 20 ton experiment proposed as a flagship experiment at the new DUSEL national underground physics laboratory. LZ would be an ultimate direct dark matter detection experiment, closing the available WIMP search window on Earth that is finally limited by the signal from coherent scattering of astrophysical neutrinos.

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