Dark Matter Searches at Sheffield
The Dark Matter group here in Sheffield is concerned with the search for Dark Matter particles through our involvement in experiments at the Boulby Underground Laboratory and R&D with US and European collaborators.
Our overall objective is the direct observation and characterization of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs) which are the prime candidate for the majority of non-luminous matter in our Galaxy.
For some general information about dark matter and WIMP searches, please see the following:
- Introduction to dark matter
- Information about WIMPs
- An overview of WIMP detection
- A summary of Talks, Papers and Outreach presented by members of the group.
WIMP Search Experiments
Our main dark matter activity has been undertaken with experiments built and run at Boulby Mine, part of the Institute of Underground Science (IUS) at Sheffield. This includes the following completed or running experiments:
- NaIAD (completed)
- Sodium Iodide (NaI) crystal scintillator. This currently holds the best limit in the world on the spin-dependent WIMP-nucleon cross-section.
- ZEPLIN I (completed)
- Single phase liquid xenon scintillator
- ZEPLIN II (completed)
- Two-phase liquid xenon scintillator. The first two-phase LXe detector to achieve significant world-leading sensitivity.
- DRIFT I (completed)
- A first stage directional low pressure gas TPC
- DRIFT II
- A second stage directional low pressure gas TPC (on-going). The world's only direction sensitive WIMP detector operating underground.
- A cryogenic dark matter experiment with germanium detectors.
WIMP Search R&D
The Sheffield group is also working towards larger tonne-scale experiments to follow on from completion of the NAIAD and ZEPLIN activity, specifically: