University College London
Friday, January 9, 2015 - 13:15
Building 44 (Shackleton) - Lecture Theatre B
The LUX Dark Matter Experiment
A vast number of astronomical observations point towards the existence of an unknown dark component dominating the matter content of our Universe. Amongst the most compelling candidates for this dark matter are the Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMPs), which have great potential to be detected in low background experiments located deep underground, looking for direct interactions of WIMPs with target nuclei. The Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment is operating in the Davis Cavern of the SURF laboratory, USA, since 2013. Results from its first science run (exposure of 85 days) set a world leading limit on the scalar WIMP-nucleon interactions of 7.6x10-46 cm2 at 33 GeV/c2 WIMP mass (90% C.L.) --- three times more sensitive than any competing experiment --- having found no evidence of signal above expected background. This first result also seriously challenged the interpretation of hints of signal detected in other experiments as arising from low-mass WIMPs. Updates on the second science run of the LUX detector and the planned next generation successor experiment, LUX-ZEPLIN, whose sensitivity is matched to explore the bulk of the remaining theoretically favoured electroweak phase space for galactic dark matter, will be presented.