Halos and dark matter: A recipe for discovery

About three years ago, Wolfgang “Wolfi” Mittig and Yassid Ayyad went looking for the universe’s missing mass, better known as dark matter, in the heart of an atom.

Their expedition didn’t lead them to dark matter, but they still found something that had never been seen before, something that defied explanation. Well, at least an explanation that everyone could agree on.

Department of Energy Announces $78 Million for Research in High Energy Physics

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $78 million in funding for 58 research projects that will spur new discoveries in high energy physics. The projects—housed at 44 colleges and universities across 22 states—are exploring the fundamental science about the universe that also underlies technological advancements in medicine, computing, energy technologies, manufacturing, national security, and more.


University of Delaware’s Swati Singh is among a small group of researchers across the dark matter community that have begun to wonder if they are looking for the right type of dark matter. Singh, Jack Manley, a UD doctoral student, and collaborators at the University of Arizona and Haverford College, have proposed a new way to look for the particles that might make up dark matter by repurposing existing tabletop sensor technology.

Hunting for Sterile Neutrinos with Quantum Sensors

An international team has performed one of the world’s most sensitive laboratory searches for a hypothetical subatomic particle called the “sterile neutrino.” The novel experiment uses radioactive beryllium-7 atoms created at the TRIUMF facility in Canada. The research team then implants these atoms into sensitive superconductors cooled to near absolute-zero.

SpinQuest: Putting together the proton spin puzzle

SpinQuest is a collaboration of 50 individuals from 13 institutions from around the world. It starts at Fermilab’s Main Injector accelerator, which will fire our familiar protons at a polarized target. A quark from a proton in the proton beam and an antiquark from a proton in the target will interact, eventually producing a pair of oppositely charged muons, heavier cousins of the electron.
SpinQuest is supported by the DOE Office of Science.

Fermilab scientist Juan Estrada wins American Physical Society Instrumentation Award

A physicist making great advances in particle detector technology, Estrada is recognized by the American Physical Society Division of Particles and Fields for his creation and development of novel applications for CCD technology that probe wide-ranging areas of particle physics, including cosmology, dark matter searches, neutrino detection and quantum imaging.

Science Snapshots From Berkeley Lab

These news briefs cover topics including gut microbes, tsetse flies in 3D, an energy use framework for heating and cooling, and new gravitational lensing candidates.

Precision measurements of intracluster light suggest possible link to dark matter

Faint light from rogue stars not bound to galaxies has been something of a mystery to scientists. The dimness of this intracluster light makes it difficult to measure, and no one knows how much there is. Scientists on the Dark Energy Survey, led by Fermilab, have made the most radially extended measurement of this light ever, and they’ve found that its distribution might point to the distribution of dark matter.

VIDEO: Dark Matter Day Q&A with LUX-ZEPLIN Spokesperson Kevin Lesko

Kevin Lesko, a spokesperson for the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) dark matter experiment and senior physicist at Berkeley Lab, shares his insights about the mysteries of dark matter, what we know about it, and what we hope to learn about it from LZ, in this Q&A interview at Sanford Lab.

Hubble Observations Suggest a Missing Ingredient in Dark Matter Theories

Astronomers using Hubble and the VLT have found that something may be missing from the theories of how dark matter behaves. This missing ingredient may explain why they have uncovered an unexpected discrepancy between observations of the dark matter concentrations in a sample of massive galaxy clusters and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed in clusters. The new findings indicate that small-scale concentrations of dark matter produce lensing effects that are 10 times stronger than expected.

Sensors of world’s largest digital camera snap first 3,200-megapixel images at SLAC

Crews at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have taken the first 3,200-megapixel digital photos – the largest ever taken in a single shot – with an extraordinary array of imaging sensors that will become the heart and soul of the future camera of Vera C. Rubin Observatory.

Galaxy Simulations Could Help Reveal Origins of Milky Way

Rutgers astronomers have produced the most advanced galaxy simulations of their kind, which could help reveal the origins of the Milky Way and dozens of small neighboring dwarf galaxies. Their research also could aid the decades-old search for dark matter, which fills an estimated 27 percent of the universe. And the computer simulations of “ultra-faint” dwarf galaxies could help shed light on how the first stars formed in the universe.

New NSF Physics Frontier Center Will Focus on Neutron Star Modeling in ‘Gravitational Wave Era’

A new Physics Frontier Center at UC Berkeley, supported by the National Science Foundation, expands the reach and depth of existing capabilities on campus and at neighboring Berkeley Lab in modeling one of the most violent events in the universe: the merger of neutron stars and its explosive aftermath.

Dark Energy Survey census of the smallest galaxies hones the search for dark matter

Scientists on the Dark Energy Survey have used observations of the smallest known galaxies to better understand dark matter, the mysterious substance that makes up 85% of the matter in the universe. The smallest galaxies can contain hundreds to thousands of times more dark matter than normal visible matter, making them ideal laboratories for studying this mysterious substance. By performing a rigorous census of small galaxies surrounding our Milky Way, scientists on the Dark Energy Survey have been able to constrain the fundamental particle physics that governs dark matter.

Drones Help Calibrate Radio Telescope at Brookhaven Lab

Cosmologists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory are experimenting with a prototype radio telescope, called the Baryon Mapping Experiment (BMX). Built at the Lab in 2017, the prototype serves as a testbed for managing radio interference and developing calibration techniques. Lessons learned from the prototype could pave the way for Brookhaven to develop a much larger radio telescope in collaboration with other national Labs, universities, and international partners.

CUORE Underground Experiment in Italy Carries on Despite Pandemic

As the COVID-19 outbreak took hold in Italy, researchers working on a nuclear physics experiment called CUORE at an underground laboratory in central Italy scrambled to keep the ultrasensitive experiment running and launch new tools and rules for remote operations.

Connecting the dots in the sky could shed new light on dark matter

Astrophysicists have come a step closer to understanding the origin of a faint glow of gamma rays covering the night sky. They found that this light is brighter in regions that contain a lot of matter and dimmer where matter is sparser – a correlation that could help them narrow down the properties of exotic astrophysical objects and invisible dark matter.

How to Build a 3D Map of the Universe – and Why

In the 1980s, Saul Perlmutter at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and his collaborators realized that they could use data about supernovae to research the history of the universe. They expected to see that very distant supernovae appear a bit brighter than they would in an expanding universe that wasn’t slowing in its growth.

The data revealed something else entirely.

Fermilab launches new institute for quantum science

Today the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced the launch of the Fermilab Quantum Institute, which will bring all of the lab’s quantum science projects under one umbrella. This new enterprise signals Fermilab’s commitment to this burgeoning field, working alongside scientific institutions and industry partners from around the world.

Dark Matter Experiment’s Central Component Takes a Deep Dive – Nearly a Mile Underground

Last week, crews at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota strapped the central component of LUX-ZEPLIN – the largest direct-detection dark matter experiment in the U.S. – below an elevator and s-l-o-w-l-y lowered it 4,850 feet down a shaft formerly used in gold-mining operations.

Deep Learning Reveals Mysteries of Deep Space

The Science How do you determine the measurable “things” that describe the nature of our universe? To answer that question, researchers used CosmoFlow, a deep learning technique, running on a National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center supercomputer. They analyzed large,…