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Fermilab develops deep underground CCDs for dark matter detection


For 50 years Fermilab – Centre for Astrophysics – has conducted experiments that are aimed at developing advances in computing, physics and our understanding of dark matter, through the detection of rare neutrinos and other elusive particles. One such development has been the creation of charge-coupled devices (CCDs) that aim to capture and isolate dark matter.

Fermilab’s experiment DAMIC (Dark Matter in CCDs) used charge-coupled devices (CCDs), which were buried deep underground, shielded by a copper tube and a copper box. Consequently the isolation of the charged couple device meant that any particle that breached its rudimentary security system, would likely be a dark matter particle. The Fermilab website highlights the viewpoint of astrophysicist Craig Hogan who noted the “delicious irony” in searching for dark matter particles deep underground.

Although dark matter is theoretically posited to make up 25% of the universe compared to a mere 5% of visible matter, scientists are still searching for what exactly dark matter consists of. Given that the universe is not expanding faster and it is not contracting, dark energy and dark matter have been used to explain the gravitational balance that we see in the universe.


This is why the search for elusive neutrinos, such as the ‘sterile’ neutrino, that doesn’t fit the standard model, has been cranked up. With the onset of Fermilabs’ and CERNS’ collaboration with the ICARUS/ DUNE detection strategies, could we start to see more exotic particles show face? Moreover, we may see explanations as to why undetectable particles are undetectable and why matter even exists in the first places.