Vahsen Lab

Are we living in a dark matter halo?

Dark matter is exciting because it links cosmology and elementary particle physics – the study of the Universe as a whole and the study of its fundamental building blocks. Dark matter constitutes the majority of mass in the Universe, but we do not yet understand it in a fundamental way. Dark matter may consist of new types of elementary particles, which were mass-produced in the early Universe, and survived until today. Direct detection experiments aim to detect the interaction of galactic dark matter in terrestial detectors.

The Vahsen group is developing high-resolution gas detectors that can be used to verify whether our luminous Galaxy (the Milky Way) resides inside a halo of dark matter particles, and how these dark matter particles are moving. The group has developed a series of novel Time Projection Chambers where ionization is detected with micro-pattern gaseous detectors (MPGDs). These detectors reconstruct the ionization from nuclear recoils in three dimensions, as shown above.

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