September 7, 2011
CRESST Experiment Finds Possible Hints Of Dark Matter
Researchers at the CRESST II experiment in Italy say they may have seen more hints of dark matter.
The team said they have spotted 67 events in their detectors that may be caused by dark matter particles called Wimps.
The CRESST II experiment uses a few dozen supercooled calcium tungstate crystals to help look for dark mater from deep beneath the Gran Sasso mountain in Italy.
When a particle hits one of the crystals, the crystal gives off a pulse of light, and sensitive thermometers gauge the energy of the collision.
The majority of these hits come from particles like cosmic rays which rain down on Earth from space so often that it hits CRESST II at a rate of about one per second.
The researchers say they have detected about 20 collisions between June 2009 and last April that may have not been caused by known particles.
The collisions may have involved dark matter, according to team member Federica Petricca of the Max Planck Institute.
If the collisions involved dark matter, then the energy measurements of the events can be fed into dark-matter models to produce estimates of the particles' mass.
The CRESST II result suggests the particles weigh between 10 and 20 gigaelectronvolts.
"We simply do not know enough yet to say anything conclusive. We need more data," Belli Pierluigi of Italy's National Institute of Nuclear Physics in Rome, who is part of the DAMA group, said in a press release.
The team reported their findings at the Topics in Astroparticle and Underground Physics meeting in Germany on Tuesday. They have also been posted on the physics website Arxiv.
Image Caption: Strong gravitational lensing as observed by the Hubble Space Telescope in Abell 1689 indicates the presence of dark matter–enlarge the image to see the lensing arcs. Credit: NASA, N. Benitez (JHU), T. Broadhurst (Racah Institute of Physics/The Hebrew University), H. Ford (JHU), M. Clampin (STScI),G. Hartig (STScI), G. Illingworth (UCO/Lick Observatory), the ACS Science Team and ESA
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