• U.S. Department of Energy
  • Fermilab

Why MAX?

The majority of the universe is composed of invisible dark matter or dark energy.

Previous dark matter searches have not yielded a direct observation of dark matter. To take the next step, scientists must use the most promising technology and create much larger detectors.

The MAX collaboration plans to take the unique approach of designing two similar detectors, each filled with a noble liquid, one with argon and the other with xenon. The MAX researchers recognized the significant synergy between argon and xenon detectors in the search for dark matter and the common engineering challenges of building both types of detector at the ton scale and beyond. They decided to share knowledge and expertise by designing both in parallel in a single collaboration. The use of a common engineering team to develop several major subsystems shared by the argon and xenon detectors will realize significant savings in time and cost while allowing researchers to share already-tested technologies. And the simultaneous operation of the two detectors will enable scientists to compare the interaction rate of dark matter particles with a light element argon and with a heavy element xenon. This will allow them to infer properties of dark matter particles, such as mass and cross-section.

The MAX researchers plan to push the experiment to a sensitivity 1000 times that of current measurements. The MAX collaboration will propose the detectors be included in the initial suite of experiments to take place in a proposed Deep Underground Engineering and Science Laboratory.

Last modified: 09/29/2009 |