Center of Excellence Dark Matter Particle Physics #ST14 [fr]
Australia launches the search for dark matter
According to accepted gravity theories, stars at the edge of rotating galaxies should travel slower than those near the galactic center, and the gravity generated by some galaxies’ observable matter should not possibly hold them together… But we observe that stars orbit at more or less the same speed everywhere in a galaxy, and that galaxies have not torn themselves apart, despite their rotational speed. These observations led the scientists to assume that unseen matter, that represents 80% of the mass of the universe, is generating extra gravity: the dark matter!
The problem is that this matter does not interact with ‘normal’ matter (or baryonic matter, made of neutrons and protons that make up the atoms and molecules of everything we see in the universe), nor with light… making it extremely hard to spot! But detecting dark matter is nevertheless the challenge the Center of Excellence Dark Matter Particles is taking.
Announced at the end of 2019 by the Australian Research Council, this Centre of Excellence is administrated by the University of Melbourne and funded $35 million over 7 years (https://centredarkmatter.org).
This center aims to better understand our Universe by detecting dark matter particles and unravelling its mysterious nature. It brings together a diverse team of researchers in particle, nuclear and quantum physics as well as particle astrophysics. It will exploit the unique geographical location of the first underground physics laboratory in the southern hemisphere, particles in the Stawell mine in Victoria, and use state-of-the-art technologies to carry out its experiments. Its ultra-sensitive detectors and ultra-low radiation techniques should translate into a wide range of industrial applications and train a new generation of scientists.
Part of the research will take place in the Department of Nuclear Physics at the Australian National University. Australia’s 15MV heavy-ion accelerator is used there to help characterize the purity and response of detectors which will be used in the actual search for Dark Matter. We invite you to a virtual tour of its accelerator experimentation rooms…
Virtual visit :
The experimentation rooms of Australia’s 15MV heavy-ion accelerator at ANU