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Michael Wood, PhD, and his colleagues recently published an article on the performance of their prototype for a Dark Matter detector.  The Beam Dump eXperiment (BDX) is a proposed measurement to search for Dark Matter with the electron beam at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab or JLab).  The JLab electron beam is accelerated to high energies, making it travel close to the speed of light.  When the electrons scatter off of atoms, certain theories predict that Dark Matter particles could be created.

Dark Matter is matter that does not interact with electromagnetic or nuclear forces, so it does not give off light or shine.  It has been detected by astronomers through its gravitational attraction to galaxies.  Dark Matter accounts for about 85 percent of the mass in the universe.  The BDX will test whether Dark Matter can be produced in the lab.

To be sure Dark Matter is produced, a detector needs to be built that is sensitive to Dark Matter and ignores all other types of particles.  The BDX-MINI is a smaller prototype of the future BDX detector.  The article, “The BDX-MINI detector for Light Dark Matter search at JLab” was recently published by Wood and his BDX collaborators.  It describes the successful operation of the prototype and how the results are guiding the design of the future BDX detector.

The article was published in The European Physical Journal C 81, Article number: 164 (2021).  It is open access so it is free to the public and can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

Submitted by: Michael Wood, PhD, chair, Physics Department