Proof for Dark Matter's Existence Eludes Physicists Again, Even Though it's Supposed to Make Up 26% of the Universe

By Gabrielle Jonas on November 4, 2013 9:50 AM EST

Dark Matter Comprises 26% of our Universe
Despite the Prevalence of Dark Matter, it has yet to be detected. But it's an entity that exerts a force much more powerful than gravity. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Three months of searching for evidence of dark matter has yielded no results, an international team of particle physicists working in a mile underground particle accelerator cavern of a  former gold mine in the Black Hills of South Dakota said Wednesday.

Nonetheless, the particle physicists are not abandoning their search for proof of the existence of the invisible stuff they theorize comprises about a quarter of the universe, and accounts for a force more than six times the strength of magnetism, depending on distance. It is called dark because it is impermeable to light.

Like Us on Facebook

On the micro level, according to one theory, dark matter  may consist of subatomic weakly interacting massive particles weighing hundreds of times as much as do protons.

On the macro level, dark matter is the scaffolding of the universe slung between galaxies and super-galaxies. Astrophysicists were convinced the universe was expanding at an ever slower rate, and that one day, everything in the universe would tumble back together again.  But they've reversed themselves, contending the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate as "dark energy," emanating from dark matter pushes the universe outward.

In three months of running the detector, particle physicists were unable to find any dark matter in the vat of super-cooled liquid xenon. Nonetheless, they were heartened by the lack of interference from other sources of energy which could muddy the results, according to  Dr. Richard Gaitskell, professor of physics at Brown University and a spokesman for an international collaboration that operates the Large Underground Xenon experiment (LUX). They'll be running the accelerator again next year at even more sensitive levels of detection.

The LUX first-run results is the result of a collaboration with U.S. universities and national laboratories as well as with the United Kingdom and Portugal.

 "This is only the beginning for LUX," Daniel McKinsey, an associate professor of physics at Yale and a spokesman for LUX, 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."

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Sponsored From Around the Web

    ZergNet
Follow iScience Times
us on facebook RSS
 
us on google
 
Most Popular
INSIDE iScience Times
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet  Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)