Scientists Were Hunting for Dark Matter... and Then This Happened

These scientists discovered the longest half-life ever recorded.
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In April 2019, the Xenon1T detector in Italy aimed to detect dark matter with liquid xenon. While they failed to succeed, the scientists discovered the longest half-life ever recorded, something extraordinarily rare.

The experiment consisted of an enormous tank filled mostly with xenon cooled to -96 degrees Celsius, and while the vat contained 3.2 metric tons of liquid xenon, the experiment had a targeted exposure rate of 1 metric ton per year, hence the 1T in the name.

The scientists were trying to expose the xenon to dark matter, or most specifically Weekly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs), which are thought to be heavy, slow-moving particles. But the particles are just hypothetical.

The experimental hope was that while watching a gigantic tank of xenon very closely, a WIMP would collide with an atom, transfer some energy to the atom’s nucleus. In turn that would excite other xenon atoms ultimately leading to the release of faint signals of ultraviolet light and trace amounts of electrical charge, which could be detected by sensors at the top and bottom of the tank.

And after collecting data from 2016 to December 2018, scientists didn’t detect any dark matter, not a single hint of a WIMP. Instead, they discovered something else pretty monumental: a record-setting half-life.

Learn more about the Xenon1T detector, the experiment, and the unexpected result on this episode of Elements.

#DarkMatter #Energy #Experiment #Seeker #Science #Elements

Read More:
Dark matter detector reveals material with longest half-life ever – 18 sextillion years
"According to this study, the half-life of xenon 124 is a barely-comprehensible 18 sextillion years, or an 18 followed by 21 zeroes. For comparison's sake, that's more than a trillion times longer than the age of the universe itself, which is a mere 13.8 billion years young."

Dark Matter
"Dark matter is stuff in space that has gravity, but it is unlike anything scientists have ever seen before. Together, dark matter and dark energy make up 95% of the universe. That only leaves a small 5% for all the matter and energy we know and understand."

Dark Matter Search Results from a One Ton-Year Exposure of XENON1T
"XENON1T utilizes a liquid xenon time projection chamber with a fiducial mass of (1.30±0.01) ton, resulting in a 1.0 ton yr exposure."


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Comments 7

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06.09.2019 14:52

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06.09.2019 16:39

I should learn more about Dark Matter. But discovering a break recording Half-life is a great discovery.

Still waiting for HL3 though.
07.09.2019 08:02

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07.09.2019 14:17

Dr. Klaus Volkamer and Hans Heinrich Landolt (* 5. Dezember 1831 in Zürich; † 15. März 1910 Berlin-Wilmersdorf) have measured mass-increase in adsorption processes and chemical reactions.
In his books Dr.Volkamer describes weighing evacuated, silverlined glasbulbs on a precision-scale for several weeks. the precision of the scale was 1/2 000 000 g the weight-increase was in 10 mg range.
His interpretation: dark matter is collected on the phase boundary between glas and silver, or other types of phase boundaries.

08.09.2019 10:35